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IBIA finalises SOP for surveyors in Singapore to harmonise approach to MFMs

Move comes ahead of the mandated use of MFMs for all Singapore MFO deliveries in January 2017.

Updated on 07 Sep 2016 10:02 GMT

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has finalised a standard operating procedure (SOP) to help bunker surveyors identify their responsibilities when overseeing bunker deliveries involving mass flow meters (MFMs) in Singapore.

The SOP has been developed to address industry concerns and benefit all parties in the bunkering supply chain, and build trust in this new operating paradigm as Singapore moves toward the mandatory use of MFMs for supply of marine fuel oil (MFO).

The SOP project was initiated by Captain Rahul Choudhuri of VPS when he took over as Chairman of the Executive Committee for IBIA in Asia in February this year. He saw a need for a harmonised approach for bunker surveyor practices when dealing with MFM bunker deliveries.

Captain Rahul, together with IBIA (Asia) Regional Manager Simon Neo, Douglas Raitt of Lloyd's Register FOBAS, Darajit Daud of SGS and Michael Green of Intertek ShipCare produced a first draft which was presented to the industry in April. Following wider industry consultation on subsequent drafts, a Bunker Surveyor Sub-Committee - established in July and chaired by Raitt - has now completed the SOP which all the surveying companies in Singapore will be invited to adopt.

The SOP has been designed to work within Singapore's TR 48 technical standard for MFMs, which became mandatory for deliveries involving MFMs on 1st June, 2016, ahead of the mandated use of MFMs for all MFO deliveries on 1st January, 2017. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is said to have been consulted and kept informed throughout the process.

Captain Rahul remarked: "We took up a big challenge in trying to develop this SOP, which would benefit the industry, from scratch. Getting competitors to work together to develop this SOP shows the true value of an independent association like IBIA. Having MPA and SPRING Singapore acknowledge this work shows the respect for our expertise."

Douglas Raitt explained: "Surveyors have been apprehensive about the introduction of MFM systems as it has cast doubt on their role in monitoring bunker deliveries, in particular because checking and verifying delivered quantity is typically such an important part of their job. But even with certified MFMs used during bunker deliveries, there is a comprehensive list of checks required where surveyors will be able to offer valuable support to the ship's chief engineer."

Raitt added: "We believe the SOP demonstrates the continued relevance of surveyors who will be specifically trained and qualified to perform all the relevant checks. If, for example, a seal is broken, compromising the integrity of the MFM system, the presence of a surveyor can help document this and assist the owner in the event of any disputes."

With the SOP finalised, the Singapore-based Bunker Surveyor Sub-Committee set up in July is now looking into other aspects of training and product enhancement for bunker surveyors to help them increase their knowledge and standards.

Although the SOP for bunker surveyors in relation to MFM bunker deliveries has been developed for Singapore, IBIA hopes that it will provide a building block for SOPs in other bunkering ports as MFM technology becomes more widely adopted.

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