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CTI-Maritec Insights & Recommendations on SINGAPORE MPA’s Enhanced Testing Parameters For Marine Fuel Batches

Issued on 01 April 2024

Table of Contents
  • 1. INTRODUCTION     
  • 2.1       Effects of COCs in Marine Fuels & Regulatory Requirements     
  • 2.2       CTI-Maritec Insights & Recommendations on Testing Approach  
  • 2.3       CTI-Maritec Case Study A: COCs Contamination           
  • 3. STRONG ACIDS      
  • 3.1       Effects of Strong Acids in Marine Fuels & Regulatory Requirements       
  • 3.2       CTI-Maritec Insights & Recommendations on Testing Approach  
  • 3.3       CTI-Maritec Case Study B: TAN Levels 
  • 4. POLYMERS 
  • 4.1       Effects of Polymers in Marine Fuels & Regulatory Requirements
  • 4.2       CTI-Maritec Insights & Recommendations on Testing Approach (recommended in cases of reported problems)  
  • 4.3       CTI-Maritec Case Histories A – D of identifying Polymers using In-house FT-IR Spectroscopy Method           
  • 6. CONCLUSION         

In the year 2022, in what can be described as one of the most significant fuel supply scandals in recent history, approximately 200 vessels were supplied with contaminated bunker fuel in the Port of Singapore. Arising from this bunker contamination incident in Singapore, an Industry Expert Group (IEG) co-chaired by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) conducted thorough investigations, which revealed that the affected fuel was a blended product of High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO) that contained high concentration levels of Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC), mainly constituting 1,2-Dichloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene and other chlorinated organic compounds.

Ships that received this HSFO reported various ruinous damage, such as failure of main engines, auxiliary engines, fuel pumps, plunger barrel and injection equipment.

To help mitigate future incidents, on 8 February 2024 the MPA issued a Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024 regarding the implementation of enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel batches intended to be delivered as bunkers in the Port of Singapore in addition to the existing quality assurance measures.

In accordance with the MPA’s Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024, from 1 June 2024, bunker suppliers in the Port of Singapore must ensure that:

  • Residual & bio-residual bunker fuel do not contain Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) above 50mg/kg and are free from inorganic acids.
  • COC must be tested using the EN 14077 accredited test method and shall be reported in the “Certificate of Quality” (COQ) provided to receiving vessels.
  • Inorganic acids must use the ASTM D664 accredited test method as prescribed in ISO 8217 and the Strong Acid Number (SAN) (in addition to the Total Acid Number (TAN) shall be reported in the COQ (i.e. SAN = 0) provided to receiving vessels. For distillate / bio-distillate bunker marine fuel batches, SAN must be tested as per ASTM D664 test method and reported in the COQ.
  • Residual marine fuels are free from polystyrene, polypropylene & polymethacrylate. These can be tested by filtration, microscopic examination, & Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis.

In view of the above, CTI-Maritec shares the following insights and recommendations related to the testing of COCs, TAN and SAN for all bunker supply in Singapore, and our recommendations for testing Polymers for reported problem cases.

Download the full Whitepaper here

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