Based on a request from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), BIMCO is doing a so-called “Bad Bunker Survey”. We ask members for their experiences and data with bad bunkers in order to collect data for EPA to potentially be used as evidence in cases against bad bunker suppliers.
During the first half of 2018, BIMCO, and the rest of the industry, received reports that more than 100 ships were supplied with fuel that was contaminated. In these cases, the samples could pass the standard analysis when compared against the ISO standard 8217. But the fuels were contaminated with products which normally should not be in the fuel supply chain, namely:
- phenolic compounds
- long chain fatty acids.
The two compounds can be discovered by additional tests but at an increased cost: USD 2.000 versus USD 300 for a standard test.
Furthermore, the testing industry does not have the capacity to undertake the scale of testing currently required.
These cases worries us at BIMCO, and BIMCO has therefore contacted authorities in the US, Panama and Singapore asking for evidence that the bunker states are exercising their obligations stipulated in MARPOL Annex VI, Regulation 18.9, to take appropriate actions when fuel oil suppliers supply fuel oil where the BDN does not reflect the requirements of Regulation 18.3 (i.e. in this case no added substances jeopardising the safety of the ship). The EPA replied to BIMCO and asked for assistance in their investigation of the case arising from Houston or other US ports.
Please note, the information given can’t be confidential as it may have to be used as evidence by the EPA.
If you are in a technical department of a shipowner, and you would like to help, please follow the instructions in the document linked to in the article.