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Asia Pacific: MPA: Contaminated HSFO Loaded At Port Of Khor Fakkan

Image Credits: Bunkerspot

Repost: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has informed Bunkerspot that the high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) that contained high concentration levels of Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) was loaded at the Port of Khor Fakkan, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In a statement sent to Bunkerspot today (6 May), the port authority said the fuel was loaded onto a tanker at the Middle Eastern port and then shipped to floating storage facilities in Tanjong Pelepas, Malaysia to be further blended.

As previously reported, the MPA named Glencore Singapore as the supplier of the contaminated HSFO to vessels at the global bunker hub, and this fuel was also subsequently sold on to Petrochina.

In mid-April the MPA estimated that Glencore and PetroChina had supplied the affected fuel to about 200 ships in Singapore. Of these, about 80 vessels reported various issues with their fuel pumps and engines.

In the statement sent to Bunkerspot, the MPA said that in order to ascertain the source of contamination, the port authority tested fuel samples taken from various sources, including the tanker which delivered the HSFO from the Port of Khor Fakkan, fuel blending facilities, and storage facilities of Glencore and PetroChina.

‘Fuel onboard the tanker was found to contain high concentrations of COC, of up to 21,000 ppm [parts per million],’ the MPA said. ‘Forensic fingerprinting analysis of the fuel samples taken from the tanker showed a match with the samples taken from several affected ships that had taken HSFO from Glencore and PetroChina. The forensic fingerprinting analysis established with reasonable certainty that contaminated fuel onboard affected ships had likely come from the same source of fuel onboard the tanker that was loaded at Port of Khor Fakkan, UAE.’

The MPA said it had established that both Glencore and PetroChina, as MPA-licensed bunker suppliers, had carried out the required tests on the fuel supplied based on the international standards of petroleum products of fuel – International Organization for Standardization 8217 (ISO 8217). However, as the current international standards do not require tests for COC, the contamination was not promptly detected.

‘PetroChina and Glencore have since promptly taken the necessary steps to stop supplying the affected fuel,’ the MPA said. ‘MPA has not received any report of fuel containing high COC supplied by the two suppliers since 31 March 2022.’

Accordingly, the MPA is encouraging bunker buyers to request enhanced fuel testing for COC from their bunker suppliers. It is also conducting further testing of both Glencore and PetroChina’s fuel samples.

Following the incident, the MPA said it, along with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), was in discussions with the industry on measures to strengthen the quality assurance of bunkers supplied in Singapore.

‘MPA and SSA will co-chair an industry expert group, which will include relevant professional bodies, to establish a list of chemicals to be tested and their corresponding concentration limits,’ the MPA said. ‘The expert group is expected to make its recommendations on additional measures to strengthen bunker quality assurance of bunkers delivered in Singapore, on an urgent basis.’

The MPA said it had also raised the issue at the recent International Maritime Organization Maritime Safety Committee (MSC105) working group meeting on ‘Measures to enhance safety of ships related to use of fuel oil’ held between 20 and 29 April 2022. The MPA informed the meeting that a paper on the recent contamination case will be submitted in due course for Member States’ awareness.


Marine Online Media Team
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