Bunker fuel quantity disputes in Singapore now limited to small amounts


The mandatory use of mass flow meters for bunker fuel deliveries in Singapore since January 1 has generally gone smoothly, although there have been a few cases of discrepancies between the amount of fuel delivered and the quantity stated in the delivery note, port sources said.

But while in the past such disputes tended to be over substantial differences, nowadays the amounts tend to be far smaller, trade sources said Thursday at the Platts Inaugural Bunkering & Storage Asia Conference.

“Mass flow meters will not eradicate disputes. That is a fact,” Elfian Harun, assistant director of bunker services for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, told the conference.

“However, the kind of disputes lodged are over a couple of tons, and that’s usually to do with errors in the receiving vessel’s tank calibration tables,” he said, without giving details of the number of such disputes.

Trade sources said the shortage in bunkers delivered ranged from 1 mt to under 10 mt.

“In the past, if there was a shortage, both parties could settle it between themselves, but now even if the amount is small, you have to go with the meter printout, but you also have to account for the Remain On Board,” said Metcore International’s managing director Darrick Pang.

“It’s probably why you see such disputes, though I wonder how many of these lodged [with the MPA] are followed up by claims,” he mused.

Other reasons for discrepancies in delivered volumes tend to be due to non-adherence to Singapore’s bunker mass flow metering technical standard, the TR48:2015, said Harun.

These range from piping irregularities or tampering with seals and flanges, to the operating flowrate for the transfer of bunkers being less than the Qmin, among others.

The Qmin is the lowest flow rate at which the meter is qualified to operate within a permitted error range of 0.5%.

Harun added that the MPA was test-bedding mass flow meters on seven bunker tanks for marine gasoil and ultra low sulfur fuel oil deliveries, and that these tests are expected to be completed by September, with metered deliveries for MGO and ULSFO to start possibly next year.

Meanwhile, work on an electronic bunker delivery note is in progress. The marine authority is testing transmission of data from the MFM system on board the bunker tanker to MPA’s server.

“We’re developing an app, and eventually this will be compulsory for all bunker deliveries, but we have to resolve all security issues, as you know some companies have been hit by a [recent] cyber attack,” said Harun.

Test-bedding of the electronic BDN is targeted for early 2018 and eventual roll-out sometime in 2019.

Source: Platts 

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