Maritec Pte Ltd has tested several samples representing VLSFO deliveries in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates with Pour Point higher than 30°C for the period of 22nd March to 22nd April 2021. The VLSFO bunkers was delivered by the multiple suppliers and barges.
A high pour point fuel can result in an increased demand on the heating requirements for the fuel in the storage tanks. Moreover, even though ISO8217 limits the cold flow properties of a fuel through setting a limit on the pour point, wax crystals in VLSFOs can form at a higher temperature than the pour point known as the Wax Appearance Temperature (or WAT). This can be challenging to vessel operations in colder operating regions, as the wax particles can rapidly block filters, potentially plugging them completely. Removal of these formed wax crystals require the fuel to be heated and maintained at temperatures above the WAT also known as Wax Disappearance Temperature (or WDT).
Recently Maritec encountered a vessel that had bunkered VLSFO at a high pour point of 30°C and the WAT and WDT analysis was not done. Subsequently when the vessel started to face issues with fuel transfer Maritec conducted the test which resulted in a tested WAT of 50°C and WDT of 71°C. The vessel was unable to achieve the temperatures due to constraints in the design of the tank heating arrangement and the ambient temperature in the area of operation as the oil had already solidified in parts of the tank preventing effective heat transfer in the fuel. Transfer of fuel from storage tanks to settling tanks became operationally challenging to sustain the daily consumption of the vessel.
Maritec recommends testing the WAT and WDT of a fuel once the tested pour point exceeds 21°C. Once the minimum temperature to which a fuel must be heated to melt the wax is readily known, the vessel can know and avoid operational issues well in advance.
This flash however does not reflect on the overall quality of fuel being supplied in United Arab Emirates, if you intend to bunker at this region, please request for a Certificate of Quality stating the pour point prior to loading.
Maritec Pte Ltd can assist you in with further information on quality of bunkers tested in different regions. If you require any other information or assistance do not hesitate to contact us.