Bunker Engine

The Engine Manufacturers' Association publishes important guidance on the new ISO 8217 standard for specifications of marine fuels

Published: 18 June 2024

The CIMAC Fuels Working Group has published frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the new ISO standard on specifications for marine fuels (ISO 8217:2024) and a guideline for shipowners and operators regarding the safe use of biofuels containing Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME), in conjunction with ISO 8217:2024. The previous version from 2017 (ISO 8217:2017) is consequently cancelled and replaced. BIMCO therefore recommends using the new version of ISO 8217 in charter parties and bunker terms. The CIMAC FAQ will provide the reader with the basis and reasoning behind the changes made to the previous edition, ISO 8217:2017. 

The seventh edition of ISO 8217, published in May 2024, introduces significant updates and improvements to the specifications of marine fuels. These updates reflect the latest advancements in fuel formulations, testing methods, and operational experiences, ensuring that the standards remain relevant to current market conditions and technological developments. The updated specifications help ensure that marine fuels meet the necessary quality and performance standards, reducing the risk of operational problems. 

The new standard now permits the use of up to 100% FAME in marine fuels. This change is significant given the growing use of biofuels in the maritime sector. 

The previous versions of the standard had two tables – one for distillate marine fuels and one for residual marine fuels. However, with the 2020 IMO Sulphur Cap and the increased use of biofuels the new ISO 8217:2024 features four tables. These tables provide detailed specifications for different types of marine fuels, including Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (ULSFO), Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) and High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO): 

  • Table 1 – Distillate and bio-distillate marine fuels (ULSFO and distillate fuels containing FAME) 
  • Table 2 – Residual marine fuels with sulphur content below or at 0,50 % by mass (VLSFO) 
  • Table 3 – Bio-residual marine fuels (residual fuels containing FAME) 
  • Table 4 - Residual marine fuels with sulphur content above 0,50 % by mass (HSFO) 

BIMCO recommends implementing the new ISO 8217:2024 standard into charter parties and bunker terms to ensure that all parties align with the latest fuel specification and quality requirements. 

The two documents provided by CIMAC offer detailed insights into the changes and their implications, helping industry stakeholders understand and implement the new standard effectively. See the attached PDF documents for the CIMAC guidelines. 

Download RELATED Documents

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    CIMAC Guideline for Shipowners and Operators on Marine Fuels Containing FAME.pdf 0.9 MB

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    CIMAC ISO 8217:2024 FAQ.pdf 0.5 MB

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Christian Baekmark Schiolborg


Christian Baekmark Schiolborg

Manager, Marine Environment

Copenhagen, Denmark