Almost entire Singapore fuel oil barge fleet approved for MFM bunker deliveries ahead of January 1, 2017

Almost entire Singapore fuel oil barge fleet approved for MFM bunker deliveries ahead of January 1, 2017

Singapore is well prepared for mandated use of mass flow metering (MFM) systems during delivery of marine fuel oil (MFO) from the start of 2017 as almost all the fuel oil barges licenced to operate in the port now have approved systems. 

To help the industry adapt to this new requirement, IBIA has published a standard operating procedure (SOP) for use by Singapore-based bunker quantity surveyors employed to oversee bunkering operations involving MFM systems.

The Singapore regulation means only barges with a MFM system approved by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will be allowed to supply MFO to ships taking bunkers in the port.

Md Elfian Harun, Assistant Director (Bunker Services) at MPA told IBIA’s Annual Convention in November this year that 117, or 88% of fuel oil barges in Singapore had approved MFM systems as of early November. “We are expecting around 130 MPA-approved MFM bunker tankers to serve the port from 1 January 2017 onwards,” he informed IBIA’s Annual Convention.

IBIA has learnt that the number of barges with MPA-approved MFM systems had reached 128 as of 13 December, 2016. Two barges are currently being assessed while another four barges scheduled for the MFM test by the end of the year.

This means about 98 % of fuel oil barges registered in Singapore are expected to be ready to comply.

Singapore began work to introduce MFMs in 2009. It has been a long process, Harun said, with the first MFM approved by MPA in 2012. The next steps will be to introduce MFMs for distillate deliveries and real time electronic bunker delivery notes. 

Prior to the mandatory use of MFMs for MFO deliveries, Singapore’s national standards and accreditation body, SPRING Singapore, launched the Singapore Technical Reference for Mass Flow Metering, or TR 48:2015, in February 2016. MPA subsequently mandated TR 48 for bunker suppliers, barge operators and bunker surveyors from June 16, 2016. It covers the set of core requirements for metering system qualification, installation, testing, procedures and documentation for MFO deliveries via the MFM system in the Port of Singapore. IBIA was involved in developing the TR 48 standard.

The new requirement means the MFM volume reading becomes binding when bunkering fuel oil in Singapore. It is expected to reduce scope for quantity disputes because the MPA approved systems have been rigorously tested and should be tamper proof.

Using the MFM technology rather than manual methods for measuring delivered quantity is expected to enhance efficiency by saving time during bunkering operations.

Bunker surveyors still have a role to play, as they can help operators ensure they have completed the appropriate and relevant checks as required under TR 48 when receiving bunkers via MFM approved barges.

IBIA’s Singapore branch offers comprehensive MFM training courses. To enquire about MFM training courses, please contact our Regional Manager in Asia, Simon Neo:

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