WSS fuel testing

Ship operators should make on board fuel testing an operational necessity according to Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS).

It urged that there are a host of issues which can arise with both traditional heavy fuels and modern low sulphur distillates. If left unchecked these can cause significant problems in the engine room.

Water content is a common problem for both fuels, but specific issues associated with the two distinct fuel types.

Jonas Östlund, product marketing manager of oil at WSS, explained: “Heavy fuels are prone to problems with stability and the ominous catalytic fines that wear down engines, even in cases where they are within recommended levels. Whereas distillate fuels see an increased risk of microbial contamination and biofouling, along with storage stability and lubricity issues.”

Based on the limited take up in bunker testing and the processing time for any tests performed, Mr Östlund believes on board fuel testing is the ‘quickest, easiest and most cost-effective solution currently available’. 

It enables crews to perform tests themselves and get immediate results, allowing them to intervene and take preventative measures before any issues with fuel become critical. WSS supplies a range of different Unitor branded test kits.

Though acknowledging that owners and operators are loathed to take on any additional costs in the current climate, therefore WSS has urged that on-board testing is essential.

Mr Östlund concluded: “Many of these inherent issues with fuel do go unnoticed and unattended, as they are not covered by standard fuel specifications.

For example, DNV’s 2015 report showed that the presence of the biofuel component, which increases the risk of bacterial contamination in fuels, was increasing year-on-year and is now present in over 11% of all on-spec fuel.”

Ask the Expert – Why Is Fuel Testing Important? from Wilhelmsen Ships Service on Vimeo.

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