Problems with Bunkers Oil

Excessive levels of certain substances including water, catalytic residues, vanadium, asphaltenes, and deteriorating qualities such as the ability to mix and stability flashpoint, will always cause problems for the vessel’s engine. In addition, marine fuels contain increasing amounts of contaminants from industrial waste, which also cause problems. We therefore recommend the use of bunker analysis programs such as Det Norske Veritas ”Fuel Quality Testing Programme”, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping ”Fuel Oil Bunker Analysis and Advisory Service” (F.O.B.A.S.), and the American bureau of Shipping ”ABS Fuel Testing Services”, to name a few.


Recommended Procedures for Bunker Sampling & Analysis

Regardless of whether the vessel has problems with bunkers oil or not, we have the following recommendations for maintaining a continuous record of the condition of the bunkers oil (if sampling for any of the testing programs noted above, follow instructions provided):

  • Maintain a single official sampling point onboard at the point of custody transfer, which is the point where the bunker changes hands from deliverer to receiver. This is the interface between the bunker hose flange and the ship’s bunker manifold flange.
  • Take continuous-drip samples during the entire bunkering process.
  • Seal and label all samples, and have all parties present sign the labels.
  • Never accept or sign the samples before bunkering.
  • If the samples offered by the supplier are not taken at the point of custody transfer, sign them “for receipt only, source unknown”.
  • Specify the bunkering order, using the ISO or BSI standard.
  • Take three bottles of drip samples during the bunkering process. Keep one sample onboard, give one to the bunker supplier, and send one for analysis (if applicable according to the above recommendations).
  • Seal and sign the samples in front of a witness.
  • Segregate the new bunker supply, and do not mix different bunker batches.
  • Use the previous bunker supply until a positive result of the tests has been received.
  • If defective fuel must be used, notify the owners, the hull and machinery underwriters, and the supplier immediately.
  • If problems arise, secure evidence by taking samples as close to the engine as possible. Take samples from the day tank and the bunker tank/ tanks before the bunkered quantity is pumped ashore. If in port, call an independent surveyor for a joint survey to be held at the sampling. Make sure that a detailed report is drawn up. Save replaced engine parts, fuel injection valves, pump elements, etc. Store them without cleaning if possible.