Off Spec Fuels Can Cost Ship Operators As Much As $50,000 Per Incident

New report highlights that operators require reliable support in bunkering disputes and points to the need for independent testing and verification.

Lloyd’s Register (LR), in collaboration with marine innovation consultancy Thetius, has published a new report into the market, technology, and regulatory trends of fuel oil bunkering as the industry navigates its way through the decarbonisation and digitalisation challenges of the 21st century.

The report, titled ‘Testing Times – The vital role of ship fuel oil testing and quantity verification in an uncertain era’ estimates that in excess of one million metric tons of off-specification or non-compliant fuels are detected each year, costing ship operators between $27,000-$50,000 per incident.

Off Spec Fuels Can Cost Ship Operators As Much As $50,000 Per Incident
Credits: Lloyd’s Register

Outlining why ship operators need dependable support in bunkering disputes along with independent testing and verification, the report highlights why the introduction of biofuel oils, growing prevalence of bunker licensing schemes along with upcoming changes to ISO standards for marine grade fuels make it more vital than ever that ship operators receive the correct advice and oversight on bunker procurement and refuelling operations.

The report also emphasises the number of contributing factors that have made the market prone to serious issues including the Russia/Ukraine crisis, fraud and corruption, lack of supply chain transparency and climate change.

Matthew Kenney, Director of Research and Consulting at Thetius said:

“The evidence gathered in this report paints a worrying picture for ship operators who are facing increasing cost and risk from contaminated fuels while tackling a myriad of other challenges. Significant gaps remain where opportunities for poor quality and off-quantity bunker deliveries can gain and maintain a foothold.”

Andrew Shaw, Managing Director of LR’s Fuel Oil Bunker Advisory Service (FOBAS) said:

“This new research conducted by Thetius highlights the issues surrounding fuel quality and the importance of testing in an era of contamination and new blended products that put at risk the safety of crew, the environment and the protection of the vessel as an asset. Due to changing regulations, technologies, and market movements caused by geopolitical events, there has never been a more important time for operators to ensure they are receiving trusted advice and oversight on bunker procurement and bunkering operations.”

Reference: Lloyd’s Register

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