Intertanko issues critical review on contaminated fuels

The following is text of a news release from Intertanko:

(LONDON) — This is a message to our members containing a critical review by Intertanko of the challenging experiences that a large number of ships, including many tankers, have encountered over some five months.

From the outset, the critical review questions whether authorities are concerned that ships have been exposed to serious safety risks and, as such, what shipping should expect from authorities if new blends released on the market prior to and after Jan. 1, 2020 might be incompatible with the systems on board a ship.

Instead of considering the gravity and risk associated with these events, some authorities are questioning in the media whether the events are being used by shipping as an attempt to delay the enforcement of the 2020 sulfur regulations. Intertanko believes that this may well be a deliberate diversion to keep any guilty party out of the spotlight. It is not the deadline of January 2020 which is the issue, but the lack of interest and action by relevant authorities to stop contaminated fuels being sold and exported from ports under their jurisdiction. What is required is firm and quick action, not a discussion of important but unrelated subjects.

Even as we were going to press today (Aug. 10), we were informed of a fresh case where fuel oils bunkered in Hong Kong were found to contain components not normally found in marine fuels.

Members have challenged us to go public and expose the facts as they stand. We have accepted this challenge but we also need factual evidence. We have received a great number of complaints but very few actual reports and facts. We have therefore decided to:

• Distribute the critical review to all members (click here to download the document). 
• Release the critical review together with a press release.
• In order to successfully follow up and continue a public debate on this matter, which may also include information provided to International Maritime Organization (IMO, we strongly ask members to report to us their experiences, at least on the following:

This is the minimum information Intertanko requires in order to contemplate action that might have a chance of attracting sufficient attention and oblige governments to take notice. If we receive further details regarding the events and pictures to illustrate and build a case, it might be possible to consider drafting a good submission to IMO/Maritime Safety Committee, possibly together with roundtable and other shipowners associations.

We are currently revising the Intertanko Confidential Bunkering Report and this will be made available to members in due course.

Members are advised that all reporting forms submitted to Intertanko will be treated in the strictest confidence.

It is important to note that any document we may issue and any follow-up actions we may take can only be based on members' contributions, including verification of the data provided. In any case, permission to publish the final product, be it a press release or a document, will always be sought from the individual Member who reported to us before it is released publicly.

Finally, and in order to encourage members to report, please note that, based on a few reports already received, we have engaged in initial discussions with the U.S. Coast Guard and more recently with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, checking the status of their standing on contaminated fuels delivered to ships in their country, and, whether they are contemplating any action to investigate such deliveries.

Please send your reports to Gil-Yong Han ( and Dragos Rauta (

By Professional Mariner Staff