The International Bunker Industry Association has recently announced their intentions to tackle the issue of off-spec bunkers through collaboration with owners, operators and suppliers.

Whilst the figures appear to be improving, as 8% of bunkers tested in Q1 2015 have been found to be off-spec, down from 10% in the same period 2014, those figures remain high and cause substantial issues for operators and charterers when there is precious little room for unanticipated costs.  The results of loading off-spec (or correctly ‘out of specification’) bunkers can be substantial, with owners requiring expert advice, re-blending, purchase of replacement bunkers, storage and salvage sale issues as well as tank cleaning in some cases.  All these expenses are incurred as well as the loss of hire  while the pumping out and replacement bunkers are loaded, not taking in to account the possible deviation that may be needed.

The P&I Clubs publish extensive material on how to avoid off-spec bunkers and/or manage the risk, as well as the inevitable claim against the suppliers by either charterers or owners. But the problem persists and, with almost 1 in 10 bunker samples found to be off-spec this year, an answer needs to be found to support owners and reduce their losses.

For further information on the advice provided by the P&I industry, the bunker fuel industry or access to consultants to provide specific advice, please contact us on [email protected]