Fuel – the lifeblood of any yacht - can be of variable quality, despite what is indicated on the bunker delivery note. The only way to verify that quality is to sample and test it.
The consequences of off-spec fuel can be significant and not only in engine performance but downstream too, with microbial contamination and, of equal seriousness, the environmental and legal implications of a high sulphur content. Six figure fines and vessel arrest have occurred.
Since IMO 2020 there is a huge stress on the supply chain for distillate fuel and this has caused off-spec fuel to circulate with anomalies such as Flash Point, Sulphur level, as well as excess Water and FAME content, which are the unwelcome precursors to microbial contamination.
In May 2021 Spectro | Jet-Care launched its Fuel Verification Kit designed to provide verification of the quality and specification of the fuel taken onboard during bunkering.
The kit comprises three 500 ml sample bottles with tamper proof unique numbered tags. Samples are taken and tagged during delivery (photographing this action and sharing with the supplier at the time of delivery is recommended).
One bottle is sent to the Laboratory for analysis (pre-paid as part of the cost of the kit) and the other two bottles kept on board for verification by either the fuel supplier, a third-party laboratory or supplied to a Port State Inspector/ Coastguard for verification as a ‘true’ sample. Photography of the samples being taken and the security tags being applied can also be a deterrent to any suspect fuel supplier. Equally should there be any denial of an anomaly this can be countered with one of the spare tagged bottles.
On receipt of the sample at the Laboratory, analysis is undertaken using the following test suite; Water, Microbiological, FAME, Sulphur and Flash Point.
The results are sent to the recipient in the usual manner, via email as a PDF or they can be viewed via webECHO™, the Spectro | Jet-Care online resource available 24/7/365 to manage equipment and data, as well as access the latest trends and reports.