• 2020 January 23 10:25

    IBIA: IMO 2020 preparations pay off

    IBIA says it met with several large globally operating shipping and bunkering companies during a visit to Copenhagen in mid-January, who were all reporting a surprisingly smooth transition to the 0.50% sulphur limit for marine fuels which came into force on 1 January, 2020. They had another element in common: they all started their planning and preparations to be “IMO 2020 ready” at least two years ago and have been pro-active in securing their sources to be able to offer and buy compliant fuels. One of the owners we spoke to had installed scrubbers on a portion of its fleet, for others this was not the right option due to the nature and operational pattern of their fleet.

    In general, the ship owners and operators as well as bunker providers IBIA met in Copenhagen had not experienced major issues with the availability of compliant fuel, although shortages have been evident in some regions. They did note that the year started off with a sharp rise in premiums for very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) compared to high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO). The price of VLSFO has increased to be on a par with and even above marine gas oil (MGO) in key ports like Singapore during January, but such market distortions are expected to be short-lived. This price volatility and high prices can be painful, but it has also been to the benefit for some who secured supply contracts during 2019 when prices were not expected to be that high. On the negative side, one bunker buyer told IBIA he had observed an increase in short-deliveries, typically 4-6 tonnes, in the past few weeks in several major bunkering areas across the world.

    Regarding quality, IBIA was happy to hear that the companies we spoke with have not had the operational nightmare that have been predicted due to fuels with serious stability issues or due to mixing incompatible fuels onboard the ship. VLSFO testing off-spec for sediment, an indicator of poor fuel stability, has been reported in some ports during December and January, but the Denmark-based owners and operators IBIA met had either not lifted them, or had only limited exposure to such off-spec fuels. In fact, one of them suggested the number of VLSFOs deliveries testing off-spec for quality has so far been lower compared to the HSFO the company used to buy, and that VLSFO had better quality overall.

    One company described how they had avoided problems due to a very diligent purchasing strategy, obtaining as much information about fuels in advance as possible, including pre-testing. They have observed large differences in the quality of VLSFOs, depending on the nature of the blends. For example, they had seen a split between VLSFOs with regards to cat fines, with either very or high very low levels. Energy content in VLSFOs, meanwhile, is typically better than in HSFO but also variable depending chiefly on the fuel’s density. The relationship between density and viscosity, meanwhile, can be an indicator of the fuel’s ignition and combustion properties.

    One concern that kept cropping up in our conversations with both buyers and suppliers during our visit to Copenhagen, however, was how to deal with sulphur test results marginally above the 0.50% limit. The problem lies in the difference between commercial contract interpretation around test precision principles and the MARPOL Annex VI sulphur verification procedures approved by the IMO for authorities to use when obtaining samples from ships to check for compliance. IBIA has issued advise to its members on the subject. 

    One reason for fuel as supplied to be slightly above the 0.50% sulphur limit could be that shore storage tanks or bunker barges have not been adequately cleaned when the usage has been switched from HSFO to VLSFO. Likewise, if an authority takes an in-use sample from a ship and it is found to be above the limit (note: up to 0.53% is acceptable for in-use samples), this could be due to inadequate cleaning of HSFO residues from the ship’s fuel tanks. Sulphur limit exceedances caused by inadequate tank cleaning should disappear over time as tanks previously used for HSFO are eventually thoroughly flushed through.

    IBIA would like to remind the supply side that in order to be 95% certain that they will never exceed the sulphur limit, they need to use the limit -0.59R as the blend target. This principle is part of IBIA’s best practice guidance for bunker suppliers, as well as subsequent best practice guidance issued by the IMO.




2020 April 5

17:08 USCG oversees disembarkation of 250,000 from cruise ships
16:23 PGS announces capacity adjustments, to lay-up its 3D vessels as a response measure to COVID-19
15:14 Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton offloads more than 20,000 pounds of illegal drugs
14:33 Huntington Ingalls Industries awarded $1.50 billion contract for the construction of LPD 31
13:27 PGS completes acquisition on Kwanza Shelf and releases fast-track data
12:13 Viking launches new channel VIKING TV with daily cultural content
11:29 Crowley tugs work together to load LP Odyssey launch platform for offshore ship transfer
11:06 APL announces arrangement for cargo bound for Chittagong
10:14 U.S. Navy selects HII to provide logistics support for surface ships and submarines

2020 April 4

16:41 Bollinger delivers the 38th FRC Harold Miller to the USCG
15:21 APL announces new LSS as from May for Trans-Pacific eastbound market
14:47 Viking announces Mississippi River cruises
13:34 Iridium partner Globalsat equips Argentine Navy’s Fortuna III yacht with Iridium Certus® Service
12:23 BlueWater Reporting posts report on COVID-19’s impact on China’s box volumes, economy
11:08 Torqeedo's milestone 100,000th electric drive goes to Spirit Yachts

2020 April 3

18:42 Concordia Damen nominated to build new, sustainable training vessel for STC Group
18:27 Diana Shipping announces time charter contract for m/v Alcmene with Cargill
18:07 Breakbulk Europe to take place from 29 September to 1 October 2020
17:51 Northern Sea Route cargo traffic in 3M’2020 totaled 7.83 million tonnes, up 7.7% YoY
17:28 ECSA Board: Shipping industry keeps Europe running but will need more EU support to recover
17:14 Tallink continues transporting passengers on Tallinn-Helsinki route
16:50 GT Morstoy completed slope protection under LUGAPORT project
16:25 World Maritime University stays connected in uncertain times
15:46 FESCO provided agent services for vessel delivering platform of Sea Launch spaceport to Primorye Territory
15:22 Rosmorport's Azov Basin Branch carries out measures to prevent COVID-19 spread
14:57 New bunker alert service available for BIMCO members
14:33 NUTEP recognized as best in Basic business activities nomination of Best Stevedore contest
13:49 DeloPorts continues to operate despite quarantine and days off in Russia
13:24 AS Tallink Grupp published its statistics for March and first quarter of 2020
13:01 Zeebrugge Port Authority facilitates extra ground for port users in need due to corona crisis
12:40 Crisis caused by Covid-19 brought changes and highlighted new opportunities for port of Riga
12:18 Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg JSC arranged testing of its employees to detect coronavirus
12:15 Ocean Yield ASA announces delivery of modern dry bulk vessel with long-term charter
11:52 Vladimir Solodov appointed as Acting Governor of the Kamchatka Territory
11:00 Samherji Holding granted an exemption from mandatory bid obligation in Eimskip
10:49 Сorvettes of RF Navy's Baltic Fleet completed training anti-submarine missions at sea
10:21 Brent Crude futures price is down 4.51% to $28.69, Light Sweet Crude – down 5.73% to $23.87
10:00 Bunker prices continue falling at the port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia
09:42 Viking Line continues service in the Baltic Sea
09:36 Yury Bezdudny appointed Acting Governor of Nenets Autonomous Area
09:18 Baltic Dry Index is flat at 624 points
09:09 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Apr 03
08:33 Ocean Network Express issues its first electronic Bill of Lading

2020 April 2

18:27 FSL Trust completes disposal of crude oil tanker
18:07 CMA CGM announces that this Low Sulphur Surcharge is not applicable
17:54 Aleksandr Tsybulsky appointed as Acting Governor of Arkhangelsk Region
17:31 MAN Energy Solutions's low-speed, dual-fuel engines pass 1,000,000 operating hours
17:16 VARD secures contract for one stern trawler for Framherji
16:59 DHT Holdings announces time charters for six of its VLCCs
16:30 Navigation season opens on the Lower Volga
15:48 PGNiG commences operations at Klaipėda LNG Reloading Station
15:15 World’s largest and most efficient krill trawler to be designed by Wärtsilä
15:13 SMM: Shipping industry steers towards digitalisation
14:49 Bunker prices show no considerable changes at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
14:26 Vitol Group establishes foothold in Singapore bunker operations
14:02 A.P. Moller - Maersk completes acquisition of Performance Team
13:37 Law ranking heavy fuel oil as medium distillate comes into effect
13:14 Hapag-Lloyd announces GRI from East Asia to East Coast and West Coast of South America, Mexico, Caribbean and Panama
12:52 Covid-19: Passenger transportation by seaborne transport and traffic of small-size ships banned in Crimea
12:25 ABP update: port operations remain open for business