INTERTANKO Bunker Sub-Committee #11 Meeting

The INTERTANKO Bunker Sub-Committee held its eleventh meeting in London on 4 February 2003 under the chairmanship of Mr. Hamish Cubitt. Protection of bunker tanks, amendments to EU Directive 1999/32, and homogenising technology for the reduction of oil sludge formation were among the items discussed.

The INTERTANKO Bunker Sub-Committee held its 11th meeting in London on 4 February 2003 under the chairmanship of Mr. Hamish Cubitt, Anglo-Eastern Ship Management (UK) Ltd.  A brief report follows on the Sub-Committee agenda and agreements reached:

Protection of Bunker Tanks – INTERTANKO will continue to work closely with the Society of Naval Architects and Naval Engineers (SNAME) to develop a methodology for assessing bunker outflow in case of an accident. Such methodology could be proposed as an alternative to the current discussions in IMO on a strict double-hulled protection of bunker tanks. The methodology promoted by INTERTANKO might solve the practical problems for all ship types that could be imposed by a double hull requirement. In addition, INTERTANKO will solicit members’ assistance to study the new bunker tank protective lay-outs that are currently being used for newbuildings and the additional cost incurred.

Amendments to EU Directive 1999/32 – The Bunker Sub-Committee (also attended by non-member experts in bunker and marine engine related problems) was very critical of the EU proposed regulations requiring ships to use bunkers with a sulphur content of 0.2% while at berth. It was considered that:

- Europe is not yet prepared for it (supply and distribution).
- The logistics will be difficult (ships coming from outside EU will not have 0.2% fuel supply until calling at an EU port).
- The port areas will become congested (lining up for bunkering 0.2%) unless the ships are hooked up to a terminal tank for shore supply of 0.2%.
- The time at the terminal might increase by several hours (ships need time to prepare the machinery for use of very low sulphur fuel; there is also a definitive need to cool the engine when switching from HFO to 0.2%).
- Due to security measures, most terminals will not allow tankers to take bunkers from barges while at berth. Assuming a tanker arrives from outside EU and needs the 0.2% supply, they can only have the supply before going to berth. This is contrary to the security concept because the ship is going to be exposed, there would be a congestion of ships at anchor with barges going back and forth to supply bunkers. In general, tankers very seldom receive bunkers direct from shore through a pipeline.
- Some oil majors, such as ExxonMobil and Chevron, do not allow tankers to take bunkers when the cargo is onboard. Thus the tanker will have a problem in ensuring it has  0.2% fuel onboard if it has not already taken it onboard at the previous port, prior to loading. The solution would be an increase in the number of bunker tanks and a significant change to the entire bunker tank lay-out including associated pipes and equipment.
- There would be an increased risk of explosions occurring on ships at berth. There is a risk that the alternative use of HFO and 0.2% fuels would generate sludge formation and there is a risk of incompatibility of the mixture. Experts do not exclude a relatively high risk of an engine black out at any point in time.
- The SOx emissions produced by boilers when HFO is used are not significant compared with other sources in the surrounding environment in which the tanker loads or discharges. Part of the boiler emissions would be used for the generation of inert gas and thus only part of the boiler-made SOx would go into the atmosphere. Tanker berths are far away from populated areas and thus, at least existing tankers should not be subject to the 0.2% requirement.

It is recommended that INTERTANKO maintain a sustained campaign to educate politicians and encourage them to either address all these aspects through additional regulations or modify their current proposals.

Homogenising technology for the reduction of oil sludge formation – The Bunker Sub-Committee was very critical of the campaign by manufacturers to promote the use of fuel homogenisers. Recent onboard testing, in which INTERTANKO registered tankers participated, concluded there is no benefit in using a homogeniser taking into account its cost and maintenance burden. There was noted a slight reduction of NOx emissions (1% per each % of water used) but, at the same time, most operators stated that the homogenisers were not sufficiently reliable. Some of the conclusions could be summed up as follows:

**Emulsions or homogenisation had no impact on combustion with regard to fuel consumption or cleanliness of combustion chamber or exhaust system.
**Homogenised fuel did not reduce wear over a 6-month period.
**Homogeniser’s effect on sludge formation could not be studied due to unsuited fuel quality (clean). It is important to note that homogenisers would be efficient installed upstream separators only if the fuels contain asphaltine sludge and crush it. In general, fuels delivered to ships are clean enough.
**Emulsified fuel was suspected to cause dark staining of injectors needled
**Centrifuge efficiency is reduced by use of homogenisator with increasing water contents.
**There was no conclusion regarding efficiency for eliminating solid matter.

The conclusion was to make INTERTANKO members aware of these aspects. In addition, there are reports that the new type of sludge separators can reduce sludge content down to 2 ppm. This was reported on sludge separators being onboard and tested for 6 to 8 months.

Singapore Quality Management for Bunker Supply Chain – The Sub-Committee appreciated the Singapore Port Authority initiative to develop a Quality Management Bunker Supply Chain. The Sub-Committee is directly involved in this development and provided a number of suggestions for the scheme. Note should be taken that members reported less problems with off spec bunkers in Singapore. Even if there are off spec deliveries, the use of CP 60 had simplified and speeded up the claims procedure. One INTERTANKO member had a positive response to a claim after just one week. This is a record and demonstrates that the IMO Guidelines (very much promoted by INTERTANKO and adopted by Singapore as CP 60) do work. The Sub-Committee requested INTERTANKO to suggest to the Singapore Maritime Port Authority that they submit an information paper to IMO presenting CP 60 as a model for other Administrations on how to comply with the forthcoming implementation of MARPOL Annex VI and its associated Guidelines.

Other issues discussed by the Bunker Sub-committee were: the Marine Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), INTERTANKO Guidelines for Good Bunkering Practice (or for Annex VI) and inconsistencies in the ISO standards and their application for the determination of bunkers’ flash point temperature.

Contact: Dragos Rauta