EMMF: Fuel Sulphur Cap Alternatives Must be Developed

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
ExxonMobil Marine Fuels (EMMF), a world leading supplier of marine fuels, has warned that alternatives to a pure sulphur cap on fuels need to be investigated, made workable and used, if serious pitfalls are to be avoided. Steve Walker, Global Technical Manager of EMMF, told the recent International Bunker Conference in Rotterdam that, while any move to ensure cleaner air should be welcomed, the current EC proposal for amendment of the Sulphur in Liquid Fuels Directive has yet to look in depth at the real effect it will have on the end-user. Walker explained that, for internationally trading vessels, the current proposal would involve having three grades of fuel – 4.5 per cent sulphur bunker fuel, 1.5 per cent sulphur bunker fuel, and 0.2 per cent sulphur gas oil - in terminals and on board ships. While acknowledging that changing from high-sulphur to low-sulphur fuel oil of the same viscosity was not a problem, he warned that changing from fuel oil to gas oil raised a number of potential difficulties, including thermal shock of fuel system components, and a loss of power and manoeuvrability as a result of the system gassing-up. “How long will it be after implementation of the legislation,” he asked, “before the root cause of a casualty is noted as loss of main engine power caused by gassing-up of the vessel’s fuel oil system?” Walker added, “Of more concern is the potential safety issue of changing over boiler plant from fuel oil to gas oil firing. Many tankers have boilers to drive their cargo plant, and many LNG carriers use boilers to drive steam turbine propulsion systems. Under the proposed legislation, these vessels would have to fire their boilers on 0.2 per cent sulphur fuel whilst alongside in Europe. “Introducing diesel into a hot furnace could be dangerous if extreme care is not taken to ensure that the boiler furnace is correctly purged of all gases. Even then, if the fuel does not light off immediately, it will vaporise and could result in a furnace explosion and catastrophic failure of the boiler itself.” Noting also that the question of segregating and carrying three grades of fuels raised serious difficulties for shipowners, Walker concluded that alternatives to a pure sulphur cap needed to be explored. He noted that initial findings suggested that new-generation exhaust gas scrubbers, although significant in terms of capital outlay, could achieve major reductions in emissions levels while also addressing NOx emissions, provided it is demonstrated that sea water scrubbing is acceptable with respect to sea water pollution. And he said, “It is not all doom and gloom. Engines using low-sulphur fuel on a permanent basis will be able to use lube oils with a lower TBN additive package and, as a result, may be less expensive. Engine components should last longer, and fuel-testing agencies are likely to benefit from a boom in work. And, above all, if the legislation works, we will all have cleaner air to breathe.”
Maritime Reporter September 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Fuels & Lubes

Saudi Shipping Firm Bahri Posts Big Jump in Q3 Profit

National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri), the exclusive oil-shipper for Saudi Aramco, reported a significant hike in third-quarter net profit on Thursday.

Boskalis’ Fleet May Switch to Marine Biofuels

Boskalis today announced their collaboration with GoodFuels and Wärtsilä in a two-year pilot program to accelerate the development of truly sustainable, scalable and affordable marine bio-fuels.

India Extends Tax Benefits on Bunker Fuel

India has extended the benefit of nil custom and production tax on bunker fuels to domestic coastal movement of containers, in a move to decongest its roads and reduce carbon emissions,


Yacht Adrift in the North Sea

A yacht has gone adrift in the North Sea after losing steering in difficult weather conditions, reports the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).   One man

LNG Tanker Smash Sinks Cargo Ship

The 2002-built, 8,850-dwt freighter Flinterstar is owned by Dutch shipping firm Flinter has sank after colliding nearly head on with the Marshall Islands-flagged

Search for Ship Lost in Hurricane a Big Challenge

Deep seas may complicate efforts to find the sunken U.S. cargo ship lost off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin, a federal safety investigator said, as a search

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2200 sec (5 req/sec)