IBIA has finalised a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to help bunker surveyors identify their responsibilities when overseeing bunker deliveries involving Mass Flow Meters (MFMs) in Singapore.
The SOP has been developed to address industry concerns and benefit all parties in the bunkering supply chain, and build trust in this new operating paradigm as Singapore moves toward the mandatory use of MFMs for supply of marine fuel oil (MFO).
The SOP project was initiated by Capt Rahul Choudhuri of VPS when he took over as Chairman of the Executive Committee for IBIA in Asia in February this year. He saw a need for a harmonised approach for bunker surveyor practices when dealing with MFM bunker deliveries.
Capt Rahul, together with IBIA (Asia) Regional Manager Simon Neo, Douglas Raitt of Lloyd’s Register FOBAS, Darajit Daud of SGS and Michael Green of Intertek ShipCare produced a first draft which was presented to the industry in April. Following wider industry consultation on subsequent drafts, a Bunker Surveyor Sub-Committee established in July, chaired by Raitt, has now completed the SOP which all the surveying companies in Singapore will be invited to adopt.
The SOP has been designed to work within Singapore’s TR 48 technical standard for MFMs, which became mandatory for deliveries involving MFMs on 1 June, 2016, ahead of the mandated use of MFMs for all MFO deliveries on 1 January, 2017. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has been consulted and kept informed throughout the process.
Capt Rahul says: “We took up a big challenge in trying to develop this SOP, which would benefit the industry, from scratch. Getting competitors to work together to develop this SOP shows the true value of an independent association like IBIA. Having MPA and SPRING Singapore acknowledge this work shows the respect for our expertise.”
MFMs are not “plug & play” devices, there are complexities that need to be recognised and this SOP addresses that, Capt Rahul notes.
“Surveyors have been apprehensive about the introduction of MFM systems as it has cast doubt on their role in monitoring bunker deliveries, in particular because checking and verifying delivered quantity is typically such an important part of their job. But even with certified MFMs used during bunker deliveries, there is a comprehensive list of checks required where surveyors will be able to offer valuable support to the ship’s chief engineer,” Douglas Raitt explains.
Raitt adds: “We believe the SOP demonstrates the continued relevance of surveyors who will be specifically trained and qualified to perform all the relevant checks. If, for example, a seal is broken, compromising the integrity of the MFM system, the presence of a surveyor can help document this and assist the owner in the event of any disputes.”
With the SOP finalised, the Singapore-based Bunker Surveyor Sub-Committee set up in July is already looking into other aspects of training and product enhancement for bunker surveyors to help them increase their knowledge and standards.
Regional manager Simon Neo emphasises IBIA’s very good relationships with MPA, SPRING Singapore and local industry organisations and the fact that IBIA is a leading provider of bunker-related training, including MPA-endorsed MFM training courses.
“IBIA’s Singapore office, which was set up in 2005, has established itself as the voice for the bunker industry here in Singapore,” says Neo. Its membership encompasses all parties involved in the bunkering industry, including ship owners, charterers, bunker suppliers, traders, barge operators, surveyors and marine lawyers.
“Besides engaging the industry, and providing training for the industry to improve its standards, we also provide yearly bursaries to enable students from less privileged backgrounds attend Nanyang Technological University in Singapore,” Neo adds
As an international organisation, with representation at the International Maritime Organization, IBIA works to improve industry standards both globally and locally. Although the SOP for bunker surveyors in relation to MFM bunker deliveries has been developed for Singapore, it is hoped that it will provide a building block for SOPs in other bunkering ports as MFM technology becomes more widely adopted.
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