Operational Feedback and Problems Reported After Use of VLSFO


After the latest technical update on VLSFO HSFO price differential, Viswa Lab has been in the fore front of handling VLSFO fuel quality and its related problems.

Reports on VLSFO usage

We want to bring to your attention some of the problem cases that have been reported after VLSFO usage.

  • We have seen an increased number of VLSFO usage since October 2019 indicating that the Maritime industry has already accepted the challenge and is taking the responsibility of IMO 2020 regulations head on.
  • As of December 2019, majority of the samples we tested are of VLSFOs and MGOs. 

Operational Problems Reported to Viswa Lab

As the uptake of VLSFOs continues, we are seeing an increase in fuel related problems. The below table shows the list of issues reported to us in December. 

Case Supply
Prob reported
Port Problems Experienced Root Cause
1 6‐Dec‐19 27‐Dec‐19 Antwerp Vessel has reported trouble of Purifier with heavy sludge formation inside purifiers only High sedimen
2 7‐Oct‐19 17‐Dec‐19 Gibraltar Fuel frozen in the tank High pour point
3 5‐Nov‐19 10‐Dec‐19 Everingen‐
Heavy sludge accumulation one of the purifier shut down on heavy vibrations. Due to this, internal parts of the purifier damaged In progress
4 14‐Nov‐19 9‐Dec‐19 Ghent‐
8 hrs of purifying of new VLSFO 0.5% found excessive quantity of paraffin Unstable fuel
5 30‐Oct‐19 12‐Dec‐19 Galveston‐TX Sludge at the purifier In progress
6 2‐Dec‐19 14‐Dec‐19 Rio De Janeiro‐Brazil Excessive liner wear in all units In progress
7 17‐Dec‐19 20‐Dec‐19 Balboa –
No.3 HFO Purifier got problem with sludge accumulated inside, was not de‐sludging. Possible
8 14‐Nov‐19 9‐Dec‐19 Long Beach Discharge port for No.1 VLSFO purifier blocked by oil sludge Possible stability
9 NA NA NA Premature liner wear‐ every three months In progress
10 6‐Dec‐19 19‐Dec‐19 Long Beach Fuel frozen in the tank Wax deposition
11 15‐Nov‐19 27‐Dec‐19 Antwerp FO purifier getting choked frequently. slowly turning in to hard asphalt In progress
12 2‐Dec‐19 24‐Dec‐19 Istanbul Vessel found higher sludge formation High sediment
13 5‐Nov‐19 24‐Dec‐19 Rotterdam Sludge is like bitumen clogged drain pipe and space around bowl body In progress
14 3‐Nov‐19 22‐Dec‐19 Yeosu‐Korea Excess sludge generation in purifier and Piston ring breakage in ME In progress


These 14 issues have been reported in month of December alone (the month is not over yet) and the majority of these have purifier choking issues. We have highlighted in red the crucial and serious cases being investigated. These vessels are experiencing premature liner wear after VLSFO usage.

Please see below some pictures shared by Ship crew.

To assist with questions and issues related to 2020 fuels Viswa has started and in‐house ‘Working Group’. You can reach us at wgfuels2020@theviswagroup.com

Please do not hesitate to contact if you would like our assistance.

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Source: Viswa Group


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