Alert! Fuel System Related Failures Due to Contaminated Bunker


What happened?

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has recently published a Safety Alert relating to unplanned releases of different and unrelated gases:

  • 10/#18 entitled We’ve all experienced bad gas, but how about IFO 380? S. Gulf Coast Bunker Contamination.

USCG Safety Alert 10/18

The USCG writes: this safety alert raises awareness of a significant emerging problem in the U.S. Gulf Coast region regarding contaminated vessel fuel oil bunkers. This involves blended fuel oil such as Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO 380) has caused fouled fuel pump plungers, fuel pump seizures and other fuel system related failures. Furthermore, the fuel may increase sediment levels at separators and fuel filters and, in some cases, may completely clog filters. The standard fuel oil test methods found in the ISO 8217 specification will not detect these underlying problems.”

Fuel oil contamination could lead to engine failures and associated losses of propulsion potentially having catastrophic and wide-ranging consequences.

The Coast Guard “recommends that vessel owners and managers ensure vessel operators are made aware of this potential hazardous condition, closely monitor fuel oil system components and consult their bunker suppliers and other technical service providers regarding this issue.”

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Source: IMCA


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