Contaminated Fuel from Balboa, Panama


Viswa Lab has received five samples of contaminated heavy fuel from Balboa, Panama over the last few weeks. One of the vessels has already experienced machinery problems with choking and piston ring breakage.

GCMS analysis on these samples indicated serious contamination from phenols at upto 900 ppm and Styrene, Indene and DCPD each over 100 ppm. 4 of the samples also had FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) content over 1,000 ppm.

The source of Phenols could be from the use of Shale Oil as cutter stock. Styrene, Indene and DCPD are refinery waste products which should not be present in the bunker fuel at these high levels. We have reported in the past that at these elevated levels, this combination of contaminants has high potential to cause problems experienced by the vessels. Please refer to several earlier technical updates for problems likely to be caused by these contaminants.

Please be aware of this and take due precautions. Please let the supplier know that you are aware of these problems when you bunker in Panama.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Best regards,

Dr. Vis

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