The danger of hydrogen sulphide in ships' bunkers

Since the publication of the revised ISO 8217 bunker standard last year, there has been much debate concerning the specification limits in the standard, not least those relating to hydrogen sulphide (H2S).


The ISO specification sets a limit of 2 mg/kg (2 ppm approximately) but this is to determine the liquid concentration rather than the more usual and useful vapour or gas concentration. The potential equivalent gas concentration for a bunker fuel containing this limit value will be approximately 200 ppm and therefore a long way over the safe working concentration of 5 ppm, as advised in ISGOTT.


In this regard three documents addressing and discussing this subject are brought to Members' attention:


1)     A Loss Prevention Bulletin issued by the West of England P & I Association entitled "The Dangers of Hydrogen Sulphide in Marine Fuels (to view click here)

2)     An article entitled "Hydrogen Sulphide in Ships' Bunkers" (to view click here);

3)     A previous article from the Weekly NEWS entitled "Hydrogen Sulphide in bunkers and crude oil" dated June 2002 (to view click here).


Contact: Timothy Gunner and Dragos Rauta