Will contaminated fuel incident lead to tighter controls?

Singapore has announced plans to apply stricter control measures to the marine fuels sector.

Singapore was the first port to mandate the use of mass flow meters (MFMs) in 2017 for bunker fuel sales from barges to the end-user vessels. The latest proposed measures from July 1st 2019 would extend the use of MFMs to fuel transfers from oil terminals to the bunker barges.

The Technical Committee for Bunkering has submitted a proposal to the national standards body, Enterprise Singapore, for a new standard on quantity, measurement and sampling requirements for transfer of bunker fuel from oil terminals to bunker tankers using Mass Flow Metering, said Enterprise Singapore last week, adding that “this proposed standard complements existing standards to ensure transparent and fair trade in the bunkering ecosystem”.

The measures aim to bringing more transparency to the sector, and would hope to eliminate the recent contaminated fuel crisis, which has clogged and damaged engines on hundreds of oil tankers and container vessels, with no one yet held accountable and no certainty as to whether it was caused by a single case of contaminated fuel or by more than one.

Shippers as a result have been demanding stricter controls around the world. Mass flow meters at oil terminals would ensure the right quantities of fuels are transferred between buyers and sellers. Taking oil samples at terminals could help prevent the spreading of contaminated fuels once they were detected.

The proposal will undergo a one-month public notification to seek views of stakeholders on the scope of the standard at the end of this year.