Bunker fuel safety risks to be further discussed at IMO

Bunker fuel safety risks to be further discussed at IMO

The recent chloride contamination cases in Singapore were raised during discussions at the 105th session of Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 105), which met from met from 20 to 29 April.

It came up at the working group dealing with “Development of Further Measures to Enhance the Safety of Ships Relating to the Use of Fuel Oil” established at MSC 105. The working group was tasked with developing SOLAS amendments in relation to flashpoint, and to “further consider” other fuel oil parameters that impact the safety of ships.

Neither the chloride contamination in Singapore, nor the fuel-related problems arising for a large number of ships that took bunkers in Houston in 2018, were discovered during routine testing for parameters specified in ISO 8217. Calls are therefore growing for enhanced testing of bunker fuel prior to delivery to ship, and for suppliers to face more liability.

The working group at MSC 105 also heard that it is important to establish at which level organic chlorides and other components are harmful, and to develop harmonised test methods. At present, testing agencies use in-house GC-MS methods which are difficult to compare.

The working group at MSC 105 noted “overwhelming support” for the IMO to make efforts to prevent the bunkering of oil fuel that may jeopardize the safety of ships.

The Correspondence Group on Oil Fuel Safety has been re-established, and been instructed to collect information and consider how to move forward.

IBIA took part in MSC 105 and the working group on oil fuel safety, and stressed the importance of inviting relevant experts to participate in the correspondence group.

IBIA takes part in the Correspondence Group on Oil Fuel Safety with input from a strong suite of experts via the IBIA Technical Working Group.

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