Fuel Contamination Issue – a VPS Update on Challenges & Solutions

Within solely six months from the primary reported instances of contaminated HSFO gasoline being delivered to vessels bunkering in Singapore, the MPA have concluded a thorough investigation and brought the agency motion of suspending the bunkering licence of supplier, Glencore.

This contaminated gasoline, delivered between February-March 2022 to over 200 vessels, negatively affecting the operation of over 80 vessels, was first detected and reported by VPS.

Using proprietary Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) methodologies and a few years of forensic gasoline expertise and experience, VPS recognized the contaminants as 4 particular chlorinated hydrocarbons:

  • 1,2-dichloroethane (107-06-2)
  • 1,1,2-trichloroethane (79-00-5)
  • Tetrachloroethylene (127-8-4)
  • Chlorobenzene (108-90-7)

These compounds will not be a part of the refining technique of crude oil and as such, shouldn’t be current inside marine fuels, as said underneath Section 5 of the worldwide marine gasoline customary, ISO 8217.

As a results of these preliminary findings, the MPA invited VPS to help of their investigation. VPS have been capable of present additional proof of the presence of the contaminants, their supply, behaviour, plus how and why such chemical substances trigger the damages witnessed by the vessels, which suffered when utilizing the gasoline.

Vessels suffered harm as indicated within the footage under. This influence of this harm ranged from full engine blackout affecting foremost engines and auxiliary engines, to gasoline pump corrosion, plungers sticking within the barrel, foremost gasoline engine plunger harm, gasoline sludging, filter blockages and elevated exhaust temperatures.

The damages arose because of the excessive stress and temperatures inside gasoline supply system, plus the quick motion of pumps, inflicting the chlorinated hydrocarbons to kind hydrochloric acid (HCl), which rapidly corroded the metallic surfaces.

It is value noting the gasoline samples didn’t exhibit excessive TAN, however the above circumstances precipitated the acidic response to happen throughout the gasoline pumps.

VPS recognized eight provide barges throughout the port that have been contaminated with these chlorinated hydrocarbons. Correlation of VPS outcomes confirmed that when the focus of whole chlorinated hydrocarbons was lower than 100ppm, then no harm was precipitated to the vessels gasoline supply system or engines.

Following the submission of those findings to the MPA, in early June 2022 noticed the MPA and an investigative journalist from The Straits Times go to the VPS Laboratory in Singapore, to witness simply how VPS have been capable of detect the contaminants current in marine gasoline. In a function article by Straits Times on seventh June 2022, the VPS work was reported as a CSI-type forensic investigation because of the superior detection nature of the work.

Since the Singapore incident, a additional main gasoline contamination case occurred in ARA throughout May 2022. This time the contaminants have been a vary of unstable natural chemical substances, phenols, styrenes, alcohols and ketonic compounds, ranging as much as 40,000ppm (4%). Whilst these chemical substances have been totally different to these present in Singapore, they precipitated related varieties of harm to vessels.

The MPA takes compliance with its bunkering licensing very severely and has reminded all licensed bunker suppliers to stick strictly to the phrases and circumstances of their licences. Highlighting, they won’t hesitate to droop or cancel licences the place obligatory.

GCMS chemical evaluation isn’t half of the present ISO 8217 customary, but again and again, chemically contaminated fuels trigger pointless harm to vessels. This has heightened in latest instances because of the introduction of world crises and wars attributable to events chopping corners through the use of cheaper mixing elements. Therefore, VPS would advise each gasoline suppliers and vessel operators to utilise the expertise and experience VPS has in offering chemical contamination detection companies, in an effort to defend their enterprise, property and fame.

For additional info on how VPS can advise and assist you in defending your vessels, crew and the setting please contact: [email protected].


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