Various reports have revealed that main engines may not attain the expected speed when using ultra low sulphur (ULS) fuel oil.
A list of recommendations to vessel owners and operators about the importance of establishing effective fuel oil changeover procedures contains, among others, the following points:
- Ensure fuel oil switching is accomplished outside of busy traffic lanes and the Emissions Control Area (ECA);
- Consult with engine and boiler manufacturers for fuel oil changeover guidance and to determine if system modifications or additional safeguards are necessary;
- Consult fuel suppliers for proper fuel selection;
- *The energy content of a given volume of ULS fuel oil may differ from residual fuel, therefore established throttle settings may not give the desired shaft RPM or generator loads; performance and speed trials on ULS fuel oil may need to be conducted;
- *As part of the Master/Pilot information exchange, discuss the vessel’s manoeuvring characteristics, including any change in RPM associated with ULS fuel oil;
- *Determine if using ULS fuel requires amendments to the pilot card;
- Provide initial and periodic crew training for accomplishing safe, effective and leak-free fuel switching;
- Anticipate that there may be many technical challenges for operators when beginning to use ULS fuel oil. These range from excessive leakages of fuel system components, increased wear and tear on these components, lack of lubricity of the fuels, and the need for possible changes in maintenance schedules, operational methods, etc.