The Decade of Accountability
But what happens when a shipowner, in good faith, takes on bunker fuel that purports to be within a specification, contains no impurities, and is not a risk to engine and ship safety? Who is held accountable then?
The recent BIMCO, ICS, INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO study of their members revealed the experiences their members have encountered with the IMO’s new .5% sulphur fuel limit since its implementation on January 1, 2020:
- Fully 86 percent reported some amount of experience with off-spec or poorly performing fuel
- Nearly two-thirds reported experience with sludge formation, a challenging problem that can clog fuel lines and filters
- One-third reported problems with wax formation
- 20 percent reported that they had encountered fuel so problematic that it had to be de-bunkered
Yes, shipowners need to invest in quality fuel—but where are the guarantees they are getting what they paid for? What happens if they are found to be out of compliance with IMO2020—despite having Bunker Delivery Notes indicating they paid for compliant fuel? Who is going to compensate them for delays caused by mechanical failures?
The bunkering industry needs to do more to improve its products and ensure quality. There needs to be an accountability that discourages the perpetuation of substandard fuel, jeopardizing not just the shipowner, but the entire maritime industry.
Carleen Lyden Walker
Chief Evolution Officer