Ship’s Captain & Chief Engineer Were Charged $3000 Spot Fine for ECA Fuel Sulphur Violation!



MFAME has been meeting Ship Managers from various companies and we got a great piece of information to share with our readers today.

A ship was transiting through the ECA to unload cargo in a German port.  As the vessel berthed, the inspectors boarded the ship and entered the engine room for inspection.  The inspectors verified the fuel Bunker Delivery Note (BDN) and the fuel quality test certificate, and in this case, both the BDN and the quality test report had sulphur % less than 0.1% m/m – ‘clear & bright’ in appearance.  The inspectors strolled in the engine room and asked the watch keeper to drain some fuel oil/gas oil from the service tank (this fuel was in use for the main and the auxiliary engines and the boiler).  The gas oil which is usually ‘clear & bright’ in appearance, was dark and this triggered the inspector to draw a fuel sample from the main engine inlet and diesel generator inlet.

These samples were analyzed in a shore laboratory for sulphur % and it was found that the sulphur was 0.17% – and thus deemed to be a MARPOL violation.

The inspectors issued a spot fine of US $3000 for the Chief Engineer and US $3000 for the Master – and this was not imposed on the ship manager or the owner.

Surprising! Isn’t it?

Let’s continue to read.

Why did the Inspectors charge ship’s Chief Engineer and the Captain?

  1. The BDN and the shore fuel quality analysis reflected both Sulphur % and the Visual appearance being the same (i.e. Fuel Sulphur % less than 01% and “clear & bright” visual appearance)
  2. The sample from the tank drain and the engine inlet was not ‘clear & bright’.
  3. Upon investigation and based on the ‘Oil movement book’, heavy fuel was transferred from one tank to another after which MGO was transferred in the same pipeline – but with different transfer pumps.
  4. Insufficient flushing of the line was not done which resulted in a pocket of heavy fuel being trapped in the pipeline and it contaminated the MGO.
  5. Thus, the inspectors charged the ship’s staff as this was a pure operational error.

We thank the ship manager who shared the information.

If you have such interesting interesting cases or stories, do send to us – to create awareness amongst the maritime community.

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