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Maritec offers enhanced bunker testing as Phenol content on the rise

Maritec, the maritime industry’s leading independent testing facility, has introduced a suite of new bunker testing and analysis services aimed at mitigating the risk of bunkering off-spec fuel.

The Maritec Enhanced Analysis Package (MEAP) is an upgraded testing programme developed to complement the existing ISO8217 fuel testing standard.

Willy Ng, Global Business Development Manager, Maritec, said: “With the implementation of the IMO 2020 sulphur regulation, global fuel quality varies significantly and sourcing the right fuel is a challenge.

“Off specification or contaminated fuel can adversely affect engine performance and cause serious damage, resulting in significant repair costs and potentially impacting the safety of ship and crew.  We have introduced the Maritec Enhanced Analysis Package to provide a more comprehensive fuel testing regime to prevent common engine problems cause by inferior fuel.”

As part of the overall MEAP, three additional testing services are available depending on the level of detailed analysis required. Testing services include the analysis of fuel for deleterious materials, chemical contamination by GCMS – Screening, Stability by P-values sediment, and asphaltenes.

John Rendi, VP Business Development of Maritec, said: “No fuel supplier can guarantee compatibility between different fuels. But the risk of bunkering new fuels that are incompatible with ROBs [remanent onboard fuel] has to be properly managed. MEAP can help mitigate against these risks.”

As an option, MEAP includes a Compatibility Package allowing ship operators to determine the compatibility of ROB and new bunker of three blending ratios (10:90, 50:50, 90:10). The analysis is based on a Total Sediment Potential (TSP) test as recommended by the International Council on Combustion Engines (CIMAC).

Engine problems relating to fuel stability can also be prevented with a MEAP Stability Package. Fuel with low stability exhibits a higher potential for asphaltenes, resulting in higher volumes of sludge causing various engine operational problems.

The Stability Package analyses the fuel for Total Sediment Accelerate (TSA), Total Sediment Existent (TSE) and Total Sediment Potential (TSP), with further tests carried out to assess P-value and asphaltene content.

“Where ISO8217 testing shows the fuel meets the requisite specification but machinery damage continues to be experienced, extensive investigation needs to be undertaken to determine the exact cause.  This can be a time-consuming and costly process due to the extensive work scopes involved,” said Rendi.

“Our Comprehensive Bunker Forensic Analysis Package is a very cost-effective service covering the complete range of advanced analytical techniques, instrumentation and methodologies to identify the root cause of a marine engine’s fuel-related problems,” he said.

In January and February this year, Maritec tested several VLSFO samples from a Singapore supplier where high concentrations of Phenol were recorded. In one case 385ppm was detected, while another showed 111ppm.

“At these high concentrations there is an increased risk of the fuel losing stability and breaking down, leading to deposits in the fuel system, filters and purifiers,” said Rendi.

If Phenol is detected in bunker fuel, Maritec advises to carefully observe the fuel system and conduct further Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) testing to detect other higher boiling point phenolic compounds and Estonian shale oil (alkyl 1,3-benzenediol derivatives).

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