Bunker Alerts are questioned Valid technical tools or simply junk mail?

01 Dec 2003

The effectiveness and frequency of automatically-generated bunker alert messages has been brought into question by the UK-based fuel testing agency, Lintec Testing Services, who have likened the growth in the service to junk mail.

Lintec believe that the increasing number and proliferation of bunker alerts has turned them from a valid technical tool into a quasi-promotional exercise designed to market fuel testing services by needlessly playing on ship owners? concerns.

"Owners should be cautious with respect to automatically generated bunker alerts," says John Dixon, managing director of Lintec Testing Services. " In the event of a bunker alert, shipowners and operators should not panic. The problem originates from new software that allows bunker alerts to be generated automatically and then distributed to large numbers of recipients."

Dixon believes that the alerts may deny shipowners from the opportunity to buy competitively priced fuel from perfectly good suppliers, simply because entire geographical areas are tainted by isolated instances of poor quality supply.

However, the criticism has not been unanimously welcomed, with Det Norske Veritas Petroleum Services (DNVPS) claiming that its automatic bunker alerts have helped many vessels avoid serious fuel-related problems.

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