COMMENTS ON BUNKER ALERT DNV PETROLEUM SERVICES NO. 3/2002

DNV Petroleum Services provides INTERTANKO with Bunker Alerts for circulation to our members through the Weekly News. The purpose is to point out, as a preventative measure, possible risks associated with bunkers delivered at different ports.

The DNV Petroleum Services Bunker Alert No. 3/2002 (Weekly News No. 9 of 2 March) announced that between the beginning of February and 25 March, 5 fuel samples were received from bunkering in Montevideo with a Flash Point below the minimum ISO 8217:1996 value of 60 degrees Celsius. The off-spec fuels ranged in flash point values from 52-59 degrees Celsius. Vessels receiving such fuels are in violation of SOLAS 1974 Amendment 1, Chapter II-2, Reg.15 Safety Standard. DNV Petroleum Services invited ship operators to check the fuel quality if their vessel had recently bunkered fuel in Montevideo.

ANCAP, who we understand are the fuel supplier in Montevideo, has asked INTERTANKO to include comments in its Weekly NEWS in which they challenge the information and test results from the DNV Petroleum Services. In summary, ANCAP informs that the flash point measurements performed at ANCAP La Teja Refinery Laboratory ranged from 61 to 68 degrees Celsius, that is, exceeding the minimum ISO 8217:1996 value of 60 degrees Celsius. ANCAP explains that the difference between their and DNV's test results could be attributed to the use of two different analytical methodologies for assessing the flash point.

To address the issue, INTERTANKO took external expert advice and it appears that the problem stems from the confusion created by the co-existence of multiple measurements standards. The ISO 8217:1996 specifies only one flash point test method, namely ISO 2719, with the current valid version being 1988. This version recognises only one methodology for assessing flash point whereas other alternative standards (ASTM & IP) provide two differing procedures but these are not specified within the ISO 8217 standard. This being so, only the ‘A’ procedure may officially be used when testing strictly to the ISO 8217:1996 standard.

Whilst we are not in a position to assess the results, members should be aware of the issue in order to ensure compliance with the regulations. The occurrence reported is not an atypical one and it is understood that many ships have had similar experiences around the world. The ship is at fault if the result of one of the methods gives a value below the allowable limit. It appears that the root of the problem is not the methodologies (they can never be perfect) but the SOLAS regulations that assign responsibility for the quality and properties of a product to the customer. INTERTANKO considers that this issue may benefit from an IMO discussion.

A copy of the communication received from ANCAP can be viewed on INTERTANKO’s web site at: Click here for more informationContact: Dragos Rauta e-mail: dragos.rauta@intertanko.com