IBIA presents best practice guidance for suppliers

New guidance is designed to help assure the quality of bunkers delivered to ships.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin receives fuel from the tanker Bergen Tank in Bergen, Norway, during a scheduled port visit on August 28, 2017. Image credit: Commander, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet Flickr Public Domain Mark 1.0

Updated on 05 Apr 2018 10:07 GMT

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has launched the first edition of its 'Best practice guidance for suppliers for assuring the quality of bunkers delivered to ships', which addresses procedures to safeguard and maintain bunker fuel quality control throughout the entire supply chain - from the production of bunkers all the way through to the delivery to ships.

Next week, the 72nd session of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) is due to consider the draft best practice guidance for fuel oil purchasers/users, and for fuel oil providers.

The best practice documents are designed to help assure the quality of fuel oil delivered to, and used aboard ships, with respect to both compliance with the MARPOL requirements and the safe and efficient operation of ships.

IBIA contributed to the draft best practice for fuel oil purchasers/users submitted to MEPC 72, and believes its best practice guidance for suppliers will complement it.

The association's best practice guidance for suppliers has drawn on work from a range of experts and international and local standards covering marine fuel oil quality, procedures to maintain quality control in the supply chain, and procedures for delivery to ships and associated sampling and documentation.

IBIA says it has also taken into account commercial realities and the fact that local standards and regulations vary, recognising that the best practice will also be subject to variations.

And whilst IBIA concedes that the guidance is "ambitious" and that "many bunker suppliers would struggle to adhere to various aspects of these best practices", the association stresses that it could help to improve standards and lower the risk of fuel delivered not meeting the buyer's quality specifications.

Call for implementation and feedback

IBIA is now calling on its members to implement the best practices and provide feedback.

"We want to know if the guidance is workable, and what can be improved," IBIA's Unni Einemo explained, adding: "We are open to revising the document in due course in response to constructive feedback and evolving needs."

Issues covered

Elements covered in IBIA's Best practice guidance for suppliers:

- Quality control during production of bunkers
- Quality control in the supply chain
- Cargo transport, storage and transfer
- Delivery to ship (bunkering operations)
- Representative Sampling in the supply chain and during delivery
- Documentation
- Contracting
- Dispute resolution