Fuel contamination – a get me home solution?

Bunkering, Corruption, Environment, Technical, Technology — By on August 2, 2018 at 7:58 PM

An example of a damaged plunger

Contaminated fuel now also found in the world’s largest ship refuelling hub, Singapore, in addition to the Americas, has resulted in engine failures and mechanical damage according to a recent report from a Singapore-based marine fuel surveyor. Given certain parameters, the fear of being stranded at sea and unable to limp back to port can be fixed with one of the simplest solutions in the maritime world.

The use of fuel treatment in maritime shipping is suddenly becoming increasingly important with its ability to help a ship suffering from fuel contamination get back to safe harbour. Olivier d’Olne, Group Technical Director of Aderco, believes the emergency solution offered by fuel treatment is the most effective short-term solution to the increasingly reported current contamination issues.

“Whilst not a magic wand, we offer a practical solution that can help ships affected by contaminated fuel reach port safely. Contaminated fuel is a real threat to marine engines and our fuel treatment Aderco 2055G can mitigate problems that can have serious mechanical and financial implications. Ships affected by contaminants can limp back to port but often the strain on the crew and the mechanical systems can be disastrous. Among the problems can be plungers sticking, injection valves damaged and needing to be replaced, broken rings, cracked pistons and even connecting rods bent.”

Concerns over Estonian type oil shale and US type fracked shale oil were cited by the testing company as it was being sold into Singapore. Although it has been reported that some Singapore-based traders of marine fuel, or bunker fuel, say the contaminated fuels are hard to detect as they pass industry standards and contain compounds not usually tested for, Olivier D’Olne believes pre-emptive action can certainly lessen the damage.

“Aderco fuel treatments have strong detergency properties and this leaves a coating around the aromatics (heavy hydrocarbons) and reduces the polymerisation that is destructive to the engine. We understand that we are currently the only company offering a product strong enough to control these aromatics. Aderco is constantly in discussion with companies looking for advice and help with fuel issues. In the run-up to the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) global sulphur cap starting 2020, there will be serious issues experienced by different blended fuels and we are telling our clients that by using fuel treatment they can remove the fears over new compliant fuels.”

In the run-up to the start of 2020 and the global sulphur cap the need to clean fuel tanks will be of paramount importance. Olivier d’Olne sees this as a great opportunity to use Aderco 2055G fuel treatment to reduce drastically the deleterious impact of chemicals without having to dry dock.

“Fuel treatments can be used while the ship is at sea and has no effect on operating schedules. Installing scrubbers means dry-docking and off-hire but Aderco fuel treatment is the only “portable” solution to support compliance with the IMO directive. Our discussions with shipping companies, owners, operators and fuel suppliers demonstrate we have the knowledge and the technology to assist them in keeping marine engines in working order.”

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