Owners Warned: Pay Heed to Turkish SOX Regs

Monday, December 19, 2011
OW Bunker highlighted the potential safety issues that ship owners and operators will face in Turkish waters when new local sulfur legislation comes into force from January 1, 2012.  The ruling, delivered by the Turkish Chamber of  Shipping and the Turkish General Directorate of Marine Transport states that: 
‘…marine fuels whose sulfur content exceeds 0.1% by mass cannot be used as of 01.01.2012 in the inland vessels and in the vessels on the quay.’[1]
“This is a significant move by the Turkish authorities and is much more restrictive than current sulfur regulations,” says Steffen Kortegaard, Technical Director, OW Bunker. The new Turkish regulations mean that 0.1% sulfur content gas oil must be used by vessels calling at Turkish ports between the end of the sea passage and the commencement of the sea passage including in port anchorage areas.  The  regulation will not be applicable for vessels transiting through the Turkish Straits, such as the Bosporus or Dardanelles, even if they drop anchor providing the vessel maintains transit status.  Passenger vessels with domestic liner permit, such as ferries, RoRo and sea buses must consume 1.5% sulphur content IFO from 1st Jan.2012.  This regulation will not be applicable for cruise vessels/lines.
“As we have seen in California, vessels that are used to burning heavy fuel oil face significant technical and safety challenges when switching to low sulfur products in order to allow them to maneuver,” said Kortegaard. “Unless the correct procedure is followed and there is a deep knowledge of the technical process, ship owners and operators could face real issues including a loss of power and potentially engine damage which could have a significant impact on downtime and associated maintenance costs.”
OW Bunker advises ship owners and operators to work closely with their fuel suppliers to fully understand the technical issues whe switching to low sulfur products.  This includes identifying appropriate flash points and safety margins for storing and handling fuels, testing lubricity prior to distillate utilization; ensuring the quality of fuel pumps and appropriately cooling the gas oil; implementing the right training procedures for crews; ensuring that there is a good length of time in changing between fuel oil and gas oil and analyzing the filter pressure; using only duplex filters and making sure that there is compatibility with the blended fuels; fitting a cooler with sufficient capacity in the low viscosity line and frequently testing pumps for leakages, as well as understanding unusual noises that might mean that there is a problem.
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