IMO issues fuel oil safety recommendations ahead of 2020


The 101st session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 101) has held initial discussions in London on how to address the safety of ships when using fuel oil.

The session – in which the Maritime Technology & Regulation and Security departments represented BIMCO – were held at the IMO Headquarter in London on 5 – 14 June 2019.

The MSC discussed how to address the safety of ships in connection with the use of fuel oil, such as fuels oils with a flash point below the limit of SOLAS (currently 60°C).

The group developed an MSC resolution containing interim recommendations on measures to enhance the safety of ships and the resolution is a policy statement from IMO to SOLAS Contracting Governments, more than a tool for the Industry. It recognises the overall objectives of enhancing the safety of ships relating to use of fuel and ensuring that only safe and compliant oil fuel is delivered to ships.

The interim resolution also contains four recommendations to flag states:

  • Inform IMO of all confirmed cases where oil fuel suppliers delivered fuel failing to meet the requirements specified in SOLAS regulation II-2/4.2.1 (arrangements for oil fuel, lubrication oil and other flammable oils and its limitations in the use of oils as fuel).
  • Take action as appropriate against oil fuel suppliers in confirmed cases of deliveries of oil fuel that does not comply with the requirements specified in SOLAS regulation II-2/4.2.1.
  • Encourage the widest possible application of the latest edition of relevant industry standards and guidance to enhance the safety of ships related to supply and use of oil fuel.
  • Inform IMO of confirmed cases where oil fuel suppliers had delivered fuel that jeopardized the safety of ships or personnel; or adversely affected the performance of the machinery.

The MSC will during the next three sessions continue the work on measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of oil fuel. This will include both consideration of possible mandatory obligations for member states to keep oversight with oil fuel suppliers, but also further technical consideration of statutory safety requirements regarding stability issues with blended fuels, compatibility of fuel, cold flow properties, acid number, amounts of cat fines, low viscosity and the presence of unusual components.

Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl
in Copenhagen, DK


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VPS Bunker Alerts

Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.

The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

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