200 ships bunkered with contaminated fuel in the Port of Singapore

About 200 vessels have been supplied with contaminated bunker fuel in the latest environmental misconduct in the Port of Singapore.

contaminated
Illustration. Courtesy of DNV

Of these, about 80 ships have reported various issues with their fuel pumps and engines, according to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

As informed, the MPA was notified on 14 March 2022 that a number of ships had been supplied with high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) containing high concentration levels of chlorinated organic compounds (COC) in the Port of Singapore.

MPA immediately contacted the relevant bunker suppliers to take necessary steps to stop supplying the affected fuel and to also inform all the ships that were supplied with the fuel to exercise caution when using it. 

Preliminary investigations conducted by MPA revealed that the affected fuel – a blended product, was supplied by Glencore Singapore.

Glencore informed MPA that on receiving reports of its fuel being contaminated, Glencore proceeded to test the fuels supplied by its sources used in its blended product, and discovered that one of them that was sourced from overseas had contained about 15,000 ppm of COC. By the time of testing, Glencore had already sold part of the affected fuel to PetroChina International (Singapore)(PetroChina), which in turn, had supplied to ships in the Port of Singapore.

MPA has conducted fuel sample tests for some of the affected ships and found elevated levels of COC in their fuel samples. This is the first case of fuel contamination due to high concentration levels of COC reported in Singapore in the past two decades, according to MPA.

However, several other cases of bunker fuel contamination occurred in the past years.

Related Article

As explained, bunker fuel supplied in the Port of Singapore must meet the international standards of petroleum products of fuel – International Organization for Standardization 8217. The contaminated fuel purchased by Glencore was in compliance with ISO 8217. Glencore had also performed additional testing of the fuel based on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D7845. Both ISO 8217 and ASTM D7845 do not test for COC.

MPA said it is currently in discussions with the industry on implementing additional fuel quality checks that would screen for unacceptable chemicals. MPA also intends to submit a paper on the fuel contamination with COC to the International Maritime Organization for the members’ awareness.

“As a major bunkering hub, MPA takes bunker quality assurance seriously and will not hesitate to take necessary actions against relevant parties if they have failed to comply with MPA’s bunker licence conditions or other applicable regulations,” MPA said.

Follow Offshore Energy’s Green Marine on social media: