IMO 2020 situation
The callenge of the 0.5 % sulphur cap
If after refueling twice you don’t know how the different types of oil combine, or oil sludge forms, or problems with cylinder lubrication occur, then it’s worth taking a look at our additive.
Issues surrounding fuel stability and compatibility have never been more relevant, especially in light of the new 0.50 per cent sulphur cap for fuels used in Emission Control Areas (ECAs), which has triggered the development of a range of ECA-compliant products of differing formulations.
Two basic types of marine fuels: distillate and residual.
Distillate fuel, also known as Marine Gas Oil (MGO), is composed of petroleum fractions that are separated from crude oil in a refinery with a «distillation» process. Residual fuel, or Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), is comprised of process residues – the fractions that did not boil – and has an asphaltene content of between 3 and 10 percent.
The need to switch to and from one of these fuel variants when entering or leaving an ECA poses a range of issues for vessel operators – many of which are still not fully understood or easily overseen and can easily lead to disaster.
In order to best deal with these difficulties it is essential that vessel operators recognise the characteristics of the various ECA-category fuel grades and how to manage the fuel switch-over. Importantly, when a ship switches fuel it needs to be done safely and effectively so as to avoid any technical issues and to also ensure that the emission limits are not breached. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) requires vessels using separate fuel oils to develop and utilize written procedures showing how the fuel oil change-over is to be carried out, allowing sufficient time for the fuel oil service system to be fully flushed of all fuel oils exceeding the applicable sulphur content prior to entry into an ECA.