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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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FOBAS issues off-spec cat fine alert in Fujairah

Cat fine levels of up to 139 mg/kg measured in Fujairah samples.

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Updated on 10 Aug 2017 11:58 GMT

Lloyds Register's Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) reports that in the last week a number of fuel samples for deliveries in Fujairah have tested aluminium and silicon (Al+Si), also known as catalytic (cat) fines, at levels above the 95 percent confidence limit of the ISO 8217:2017 RME/RMG and RMK grades.

According to FOBAS, results have ranged from marginally above 75 mg/kg up to nearly double, at 139 mg/kg.

Commenting on the potential repercussions, FOBAS warns: "Al+Si at 75mg/kg can be difficult to reduce but may be manageable; however Al+Si at levels up to 139mg/kg would prove extremely difficult to bring down to acceptable levels for engine entry (<15mg/kg). Carry over of abrasive Al+Si material at high levels may lead to damage to fuel pumps/injectors and cylinder components."

FOBAS advises that, in order to maximize the Al+Si reduction, fuel should remain in settling tanks for the maximum possible time, with elevated heating as appropriate, to facilitate gravitational separation of Al+Si through settling. Both settling and service tanks should also be drained off at regular intervals, FOBAS recommends.

Additionally, FOBAS says fuel separators should be operated using optimum arrangement and settings, ensuring optimal fuel flow rate and a steady state fuel throughput temperature of 98 Deg C to enhance separator efficiency. The de-sludge cycle frequency may be increased to optimize bowl cleanliness and separation efficiency in removing Al+Si from the fuel oil.

FOBAS adds that, during the use of any fuel with high Al+Si, attention should be given to any increase in fuel rack position needed to maintain set engine revolutions/load, which may indicate increased wear rates of the fuel pump or injectors.

Also, FOBAS says spot checks on ring packs and liners should be carried out at the earliest opportunity for signs of Al+Si abrasive wear.

FOBAS adds: "In case that a vessel bunkers a fuel with a tested Al+Si off-spec as above, the first action we would recommend is that further samples are taken from upper, middle, lower and bottom of the respective bunker tanks to confirm the original result and to establish the distribution of the cat fines in the tank(s). Additionally the suppliers should be contacted and requested to comment on the results.

"As good general practice we would recommend regular checks of purifier performance by having samples taken from inlet and outlet of all purifiers analyzed for at least water, ash and element concentration, including Al+Si, to be confident of purifier performance at all times.

"As ever it is extremely important to take representative bunker drip samples during bunkering process so that quality of the bunkered fuel can be ascertained."

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