• 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 February 27

16:04 NYK Cruises to cancel cruises due to coronavirus
15:30 Average physical depreciation of Rosmorport’s berthing facilities is 24%
15:07 National Association of Shipping Agencies addresses FAS over plans on multiple increase of port dues in Russia
14:56 Arbitration award related to purchase options for four VLCCs on charter to Okeanis ECO Tankers
14:43 ASCO strengthened preventive measures against coronavirus
14:19 ASCO takes necessary precautionary measures to prevent environmental damage
13:55 Rotterdam to host ACI’s 24th Ballast Water Management Conference on 7-8 April 2020
13:53 Ørsted signs 20-year lease with Port of Taichung for Greater Changhua offshore wind farms
13:34 Vysotsk VTS obtains Certificate of Conformity
13:12 Xeneta container rates alert: long-term contracted rates hold despite Coronavirus chaos
12:56 Certificate of Conformity obtained for Ust-Luga VTS
12:33 Finnlines published its 2019 Financial Statements and Financial Review
12:10 A.P. Moller - Maersk links new $5.0bn revolving credit facility to its CO2 performance
11:52 Port of Gdynia seeks opportunities for further development
11:28 Rosmorport’s Murmansk Branch performed pilotage of Capesize vessel
11:04 Rosmorport to complete dredging under NOVATEK’s project in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by April 2021
10:41 3rd Technical Conference "Modern Solutions for Hydraulic Engineering" kicks off in Moscow
10:35 Ships of RF Navy’s Baltic Fleet continue performing planned training as part of its long-distance campaign
10:16 Port of Oakland debt ratings affirmed by Fitch
10:13 Brent Crude futures price is down 1.52% to $51.99, Light Sweet Crude – fell to 1.54% to $47.98
09:56 Hydrographic Department to dredge about 20 million cbm of material on Sabetta’s seaway canal in 2020
09:34 Marine Recruiting Agency LLC trained 1,957 specialists in 2019, up 2.6% YoY
09:32 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Feb 27
09:15 Baltic Dry Index is up to 517 points

2020 February 26

18:37 Royal IHC to supply integrated power cablelay spread
18:01 Chartwell Marine announces sponsorship agreement with Alan Roberts Racing in the lead up to the 2020 racing season
17:29 Keppel delivers world’s fastest brownfield FPSO modification project
17:26 Busan Port Authority and Samsung SDS signed a contract to operate a logistics center in Rotterdam, Netherlands
17:00 Smart Maritime Council announces support for shipboard machinery data standard
16:23 Damen DOP ensures new approach to dredging – expert opinion
16:00 FSUE Rosmorport to dredge 18.4 million cbm of material in 2020
15:36 Yamal LNG reaches thirty million tons milestone
15:12 MHI-MME receives retractable fin stabilizer orders for two luxury expedition vessels being built by Helsinki Shipyard
14:55 Contract signed for extension of Świnoujście LNG Terminal
14:34 Rosmorrechflot to have 20 dredgers built at Lotos shipyard by 2030
14:12 Kongsberg Maritime wins 300 MNOK contract to equip four new cruise vessels
13:55 EU NAVFOR Somalia supports Djiboutian Coast Guard
13:33 Belarusian-Latvian cooperation in multimodal cargo transportation via Latvian ports discussed in Riga
13:10 Global Offshore announces new addition to its cable installation fleet
12:51 Rosmorport announces tender for dredging on access canal of Temryuk port
12:28 PortNews Media Group and Shipbuilding Cluster of Arkhangelsk Region sign agreement on cooperation
12:10 Contship Italia confirms operational continuity at Group's maritime and intermodal terminals amidst SARS-CoV-2 outbreak
12:07 Milaha reports a 6% increase in net profit for full year 2019
11:29 BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO launch survey to identify fuel oil issues
11:01 Seaspan agrees to purchase a fleet of four containerships
10:48 Viesturs Zeps elected Chairman of Freeport of Riga Board, Pavels Rebenoks elected Deputy Chairman
10:21 3rd Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging Congress kicks off in Moscow
10:17 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Feb 26
10:06 GTT receives an order from Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. for the tank design of two new LNG Carriers
09:59 First dredger with ultra-low emissions has arrived in Belgium
09:54 Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port to invest RUB 108.4 billion in development till 2029
09:35 Brent Crude futures price is up 0.65% to $54.61, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.8% to $50.3
09:17 Baltic Dry Index is up to 508 points

2020 February 25

18:06 Maritime world players gather in Antwerp for World Ports Conference 2020
17:51 Four new IBIA board members announced at AGM
17:30 ClassNK develops its Digital Grand Design 2030
17:18 Piraeus Bank enters into a strategic collaboration with ORIX Corporation to provide financing solutions to the Greek maritime sector
17:02 DNV GL awards MSC new container ship fire safety notation
16:36 Foreship scrubber enquiries surge as owners clear the air
15:59 Trust Management sells crude oil tanker FSL Shanghai