Will Things Change After the Houston Bunker Fuel Fiasco?


Dr-R.-Vis-CEO-of-Viswa-Lab1.jpgA few weeks back I had written about wildebeest in the Serengeti park and how this scenario was akin to all the ship operators waiting and watching and not knowing what to do with regard to scrubbers.

I have one more analogy for you. We have seen in the US that a school shooting takes place. Multiple children die. There is a huge furor. Everyone issues statements. The President makes a visit. Everyone talks about gun control and restraining the power of the NRA.

Nothing happens. The public suffers from amnesia.

And, another shooting takes place and the chain of incidents and pious statements follow.

Nothing happens.

Does this not sound familiar? Huge damages follow the use of adulterated bunker fuels and multiple ships suffer serious damage. Ships drift. Ships have to be towed back. 100’s of thousands of dollars of damage, lost operation days etc. Statements from everyone filling up the marine media commenting on the disgusting bunker fuel adulteration that has taken place.

No action. Nothing happens.

It happened in 2002. It happened in 2007. It happened in 2011. It happened in 2013. It happened in 2017.

Life goes on.

Aren’t you experiencing a feeling of disgust and frustration? How is this going to be handled?

Who is taking charge of this to fix things? It is not CIMAC which is a technical body with business interests. It is not ISO which is a consensus body to promote global trade. Is it IMO which is responsible for the safety of ships and lives of the crew? They rely on ISO for technical knowledge and ISO relies on CIMAC and it is all ultimately serves vested interests.

Where is the corrective action? Where is the deterrent punishment? When and how will this ever stop?

Think about the fate of the seafarers whose ships drift, who can get into serious collision accidents, they have to fix it (they cannot make a call and ask for a maintenance engineer) and so much of lost time and so much of risk.

All because of the greed of a few people.

One could say in Churchillian terms – Never have so many suffered so much due to the greed of so few.

Is this a hopeless situation? We don’t think so. The port of Rotterdam police department has declared that adulteration of bunker fuel is a criminal act. They have followed it up by chasing the guilty and bringing them to book. They have collected huge fines.

Has it had an effect? Based on our analysis results we would cautiously agree that the number of contamination cases in Rotterdam have come down.

This gives us a clue on how this problem can be tackled.

Is anybody listening?

Dr. Vis
Viswa Lab

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