Source: Ship & Bunker
March 5th 2015
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Tuesday issued a safety alert on fuel switchover procedures, citing a number of incidents involving machine space oil leakages.
“Recently, there have been several reported incidents involving substantial machinery space fuel leakages while vessels were switching fuel oil to ensure compliance,” said USCG.”
“Although such leakages were contained, fuel releases of any kind may result in pollution, injury or death of personnel and shipboard engine room fires.
“Moreover, many losses of propulsion have occurred in different ports and have been associated with changeover processes and procedures.”
MARPOL Annex VI regulations were tightened as of January 1, 2015, and now make it mandatory for ships within Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) to burn fuel with a sulfur content no higher than 0.10 percent by weight, or use alternative methods of reducing SOx emissions, such as scrubbers.
Many international shippers are reportedly choosing to comply by burning traditional fuel oil in the open ocean and switching to lower sulfur distillate fuels while inside ECAs.
“This safety alert is a reminder to vessel owners and operators about the importance of establishing effective fuel oil changeover procedures to comply with MARPOL Annex VI emission regulations.”
USCG said fuel tank modifications, proper management of fuel mixing and temperatures, and ensuring sufficient supplies of ECA compliant fuel may all form part of adequate switchover procedures.
Furthermore it pointed shippers to take heed of important technical issues that have been highlighted by classification societies and manufacturers, among others.
In November, Skuld issued guidelines on switching between heavy fuel oil (HFO) and marine gasoil (MGO).