Safety Alert – Bad Bunker Fuel Causing Problems for Vessels on U.S. Gulf Coast

0 comments

Safety Alert – Bad Bunker Fuel Causing Problems for Vessels on U.S. Gulf Coast

Houston Skyline At Sunrise
File Photo: Nektofadeev / Shutterstock

Note: Below is a Safety Alert distributed at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Investigations and Analysis following a series of fuel system issues impacting several of vessels which had bunkered in Houston, Texas.

One fuel analysis company has even called the problem one of the most widespread fuel quality issues in recent years after it identified at least 30 vessels suffering some sort of fuel burn issue, such as sticking fuel plungers, fuel-pump seizures, and other failures, after burning what has been identified as contaminated bunker fuel not connected to any one supplier or barge.

Safet Alert – U.S. Gulf Coast Bunker Contamination

We’ve all experienced bad gas, but how about IFO 380?

(USCG Office of Investigations and Analysis) This safety alert raises awareness of a significant emerging problem in the U.S. Gulf Coast region regarding contaminated vessel fuel oil bunkers. This involves blended fuels oil such as Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO 380) and has caused fouled fuel pump plungers, fuel pump seizures and other fuel system related failures. Furthermore, the fuel may increase sediment levels at separators and fuel filters and, in some cases, may completely clog filters. The standard fuel oil test methods found in the ISO 8217 specification will not detect these underlying problems.

One fuel testing organization that performed marine fuel analysis on affected vessels that experienced fuel oil system problem found that phenolic compounds and long chain fatty acids were present in the fuel. Another fuel testing organization identified similar contaminants in fuels they sampled. The contaminant was identified as phenolic compound 4-Cumyl-Phenol (CAS No. 599-64-4) and all fuel oil samples were found to be in the concentration range of 300ppm to 1,000ppm. This 4-Cumyl-Phenol has many industrial applications due to its adhesive qualities including the manufacture of epoxy resins as well as is used as an emulsifier in pesticides. Sampling and analysis has determined this contamination is not limited to one fuel supplier but exists across many. No definitive source has been identified but it’s presumed to be associated with the use of fuel oil cutter stocks. Cutter stocks are generally lighter petroleum products that are added to heavy fuel to reduce its viscosity.

This fuel oil contamination could lead to engine failures and associated losses of propulsion potentially having catastrophic and wide-ranging consequences. The presence of these substances within the fuel is in violation of MARPOL Annex VI regulation 18.3 and Clause 5 of ISO 8217 which indicates the fuel shall not include any added substance or chemical waste which jeopardizes the safety or adversely affects the performance of the machinery; or is harmful to personnel; or contributes overall to additional air pollution.

One fuel testing organization makes the following recommendations to vessel owners and operators:
* Pay attention to the terms of the bunker requisition.
* Specify that the fuel must be absent of abnormal components.
* Determine the acid number of the fuel.
* Carefully pay attention to the fuel supply and fuel injection equipment onboard the vessel.

The Coast Guard recommends that vessel owners and managers ensure vessel operators are made aware of this potentially hazardous condition, closely monitor fuel oil system components and consult their bunker suppliers and other technical service providers regarding this issue.

Leave a Reply

SSCP   CAS-002   9L0-066   350-050   642-999   220-801   74-678   642-732   400-051   ICGB   c2010-652   70-413   101-400   220-902   350-080   210-260   70-246   1Z0-144   3002   AWS-SYSOPS   70-347   PEGACPBA71V1   220-901   70-534   LX0-104   070-461   HP0-S42   1Z0-061   000-105   70-486   70-177   N10-006   500-260   640-692   70-980   CISM   VCP550   70-532   200-101   000-080   PR000041   2V0-621   70-411   352-001   70-480   70-461   ICBB   000-089   70-410   350-029   1Z0-060   2V0-620   210-065   70-463   70-483   CRISC   MB6-703   1z0-808   220-802   ITILFND   1Z0-804   LX0-103   MB2-704   210-060   101   200-310   640-911   200-120   EX300   300-209   1Z0-803   350-001   400-201   9L0-012   70-488   JN0-102   640-916   70-270   100-101   MB5-705   JK0-022   350-060   300-320   1z0-434   350-018   400-101   350-030   000-106   ADM-201   300-135   300-208   EX200   PMP   NSE4   1Z0-051   c2010-657   C_TFIN52_66   300-115   70-417   9A0-385   70-243   300-075   70-487   NS0-157   MB2-707   70-533   CAP   OG0-093   M70-101   300-070   102-400   JN0-360   SY0-401   000-017   300-206   CCA-500   70-412   2V0-621D   70-178   810-403   70-462   OG0-091   1V0-601   200-355   000-104   700-501   70-346   CISSP   300-101   1Y0-201   200-125  , 200-125  , 100-105  , 100-105  , CISM   NS0-157   350-018  , NS0-157   ICBB  , N10-006 test  , 350-050   70-534   70-178   220-802   102-400   000-106   70-411  , 400-101   100-101  , NS0-157   1Z0-803   200-125  , 210-060   400-201   350-050   C_TFIN52_66  , JN0-102  , 200-355   JN0-360   70-411   350-018  , 70-412   350-030   640-916   000-105   100-105  , 70-270  , 70-462   300-070  , 300-070   642-999   101-400   PR000041   200-101  , 350-030   300-070  , 70-270  , 400-051   200-120   70-178   9L0-012   70-487   LX0-103   100-105  ,