Recently reported quality concerns of unacceptable levels of aluminium and
silicon found in bunkers supplied to vessels in Singapore has led to
divergent statements by various concerned parties and has created much
negative interest and uncertainty in the market.
There has been a confusing picture of allegations of tampered samples, and
contradictory clarifications. IBIA believes that this has perhaps been due
to a polarity of opinion on responsibilities and how the industry should
react to such incidents. Therefore IBIA supports the Port of Singapore's
initiative to set up a Bunker Quality Advisory Panel to help clarify these
Don Gregory, chairman of IBIA, says the Singapore port authorities take a
very pro-active approach to bunkering issues with pace-setting bunker
industry initiatives to promote business, operating efficiency and
effectiveness. "They have taken a rule-based approach to ensure market
transparency and integrity," says Gregory.
Examples include the Singapore Standard Code of Practice for Bunkering (SS
CP60:2004), and various other schemes. These standards are the result of
extensive consultation and agreements and have contributed positively
towards continuous improvement and help to ensure a level playing field for
all in the bunker supply chain.
But it seems that there is more that is required and there are other
considerations beyond rules and regulations. IBIA considers that human
factors and technology have a role to play. Gregory believes that the
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) invitation to representatives
of the industry to form the Singapore Bunker Quality Advisory Panel (BQAP)
is exactly the right next step in the drive to raise industry standards and
the image of the bunker industry. "I see Singapore as a leading light and I
hope an example which we can take to other major ports in the world," says
The BQAP will consult representatives from a variety of sectors involved in
the bunker supply chain in Singapore. Parties involved in the BQAP headed by
the MPA are IBIA, Intertanko, shipowners, local Singapore bunker fuel
suppliers and major fuel testing companies.
In the event that the BQAP has confirmed an off-quality product, the
framework should include a timely communication process which could be
activated to assure the market that corrective measures have and would be
taken to segregate and remove non-conforming product from the supply chain.
IBIA highlighted earlier in the year that most bunker transactions and
physical supply processes pass without incident and only a minority of
incidents cause problems. IBIA will work hard to develop solutions to these
issues with the intention of raising bunker industry standards and
eliminating unacceptable practices.
In this regard IBIA fully supports MPA's on-going drive to continually
upgrade best practices and strengthen the existing transparent and
pro-industry environment for all stakeholders in the Singapore bunker
industry and will proactively contribute towards the development of the
IBIA strongly believes that the BQAP deserves the cooperation of all its
panel members and support from the bunker industry globally to accomplish
its given task which could further strengthen the bunker quality value
chain. This MPA-industry collaborative initiative should demonstrate to the
global ship owning communities the bunker industry's commitment to on-going
and continuous improvements to serve them better.