Problem Bunkers Supplied in Panama


Technical Update 2018/6/25

Viswa Lab has received six cases of machinery problems with heavy fuel bunkered in Panama ports of Balboa, Manzanillo and Cristobal. Four of the bunkers were in late May 2018 and two are from June 2018. 4 suppliers supplied bunkers to these 6 ships.

The vessels experienced problems with the main engine fuel system with sticking of fuel pumps and ICU leakages.

In depth analysis of the fuels is currently in progress and we note that the Total Acid Number (TAN) is greater than 0.50 mg KOH/g except for 2 cases. Three of these fuels also had poor Reserve Stability Number (RSN) values of over 9.4. This could indicate that these problem fuels are part of the batch that caused major problems with over 150 ships in the Houston area over March/April/May 2018. We had noted in our Technical Update 2018/5/16 that the contaminated bunkers were showing up in other areas such as the Netherlands Antilles and Panama.

Please be aware of this and take due precautions. We recommend that the TAN and RSN values should be checked at a minimum on fuels from Panama before use. 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.

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  1. What kind of bunker fuel is most likely to be contaminated? I.F.O 380 is the kind of fuel I’m looking into right now.


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