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July 16, 2009

IBIA stresses need for accurate fuel sulfur content results

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has warned its members of the dangers arising from the failure by some suppliers to put authentic sulfur content results on Bunker Delivery Receipts (BDR). It says it is essential to ensure that the actual sulfur content be reported on the BDR.

IBIA chief executive Ian Adams says, "Clearly this is not in compliance with MARPOL requirements and may create a problem for shipowners in terms of the selection of correct feed rates and Total Base Numbers (TBN) of cylinder oil.

"Knowing the sulfur content of the fuel to be used is essential to engine efficiency and overall safety, and furthermore necessary to remain within the specific requirements applicable in Emissions Control Areas (ECAs)." he says. "The sulfur content of the fuel should always be clearly stated on the BDR."

IBIA emphasizes that the ship's chief engineer should be vigilant in studying the BDR sulfur result and then using the appropriate cylinder oil feed rate and TBN oil.

"Engine manufacturer information should be obtained on this, and followed carefully to avoid engine problems when using low-sulfur fuel," says Adams.

"In some ports," says Adams, "low-sulfur fuel is delivered even when it has not been specifically requested, because low-sulfur is the only type of fuel available in those places."

This can happen almost anywhere. For example, some ports in South America, West Africa and, in some instances, Canada, only have residual fuels with sulfur content of less than 1.0% m/m readily available.

"It is worth noting," says Adams, "that if a BDR has the sulfur reported as less than 4.5%m/m and yet the sulfur content is known to be less than 1.5%m/m, some administrations may still not consider this fuel compliant for ECA operations, so it is essential for ships to ensure that the actual sulfur content is reported on the BDR."

Founded in 1993, IBIA is the trade association of the global bunker industry. Its membership is drawn from bunker buyers, traders, brokers, suppliers and service companies worldwide. IBIA is engaged in a series of long-term initiatives designed to raise standards in the industry.


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