Bunkers are showing an improvement in quality thanks in part to a concerted campaign by the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) to get players from across the marine fuels supply chain to raise their game.
Addressing an audience of over 1,000 marine fuel buyers, suppliers and traders at the association’s annual dinner in London last night (Monday), IBIA Chairman Jens Maul Jorgensen said that the early results for 2015 show there has been a marked improvement in bunker fuel quality with 8% of samples found to be off-spec compared with 10% in 2014. These results are based on samples taken by testing company Intertek ShipCare.
“Test figures for standard submitted samples during 2014 show around 10% of all samples were deemed to be off specification based on a single test result with respect to the fuel grade purchased.”
He added: “Test figures for 2014 also showed a significant change in purchasing patterns of the types of products, with a steady increase in the number of distillate fuels being tested. The number of distillate samples being submitted for testing rose by 15% in 2014 compared to the figures for 2013.”
The IBIA Chairman noted that the drop in oil price has meant that there is now less incentive for refiners to blend down their products and that there has been an increase in suppliers using the ISO2010 & 2012 specs.
Improving fuel quality has been an important issue for IBIA as the quality of bunkers delivered to ships is under increasing scrutiny. In October the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) MEPC 67 agreed to establish a correspondence group to develop draft guidance for assuring the quality of fuel oil delivered for use onboard ships, and to consider the adequacy of the current legal framework in MARPOL Annex VI for assuring the quality of bunkers. Tested samples which were found to be off-spec reached an all-time high in 2013 with one quarter not reaching the required standards.
Mr Jorgensen also congratulated the marine industry’s response to the collapse of OW Bunker in October enabling many of the company’s former employees to quickly find new positions.
“IBIA went out a few days after with free membership to the unemployed OWB employees; IBIA ASIA arranged information meetings and thanks to the industry support the majority of OWB staff found new employment: it shows that we are one big family.”
Held during IP Week, the IBIA dinner 2015 was a sell-out, attracting 1,069 participants. The event also saw the awarding of Honorary Membership to one of IBIA’s founding members and the association’s first chairman, Doug Barrow.
Earlier in the day, IBIA held its Annual General Meeting at which the elections of Patrick Holloway (Weber Wentzel), Nigel Draffin (LQM) and John Sterling (World Fuel Services) to the association’s board were announced. They replace Simon Neo, Ciric Cheung and Trevor Harrison.