IBIA finalises SOP for bunker surveyors in Singapore on MFM bunkering

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) announced on Wednesday the finalisation of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to help bunker surveyors identify their responsibilities when overseeing bunker deliveries using the mass flow meters (MFMs) in Singapore.

The SOP has been designed to work within Singapore’s TR48 technical standard for MFMs, for which the use of this technology which will become mandatory for all bunker deliveries within Singapore port from 1 January 2017, enforced by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

Rahul Chouduri of fuel testing firm VPS initiated the SOP project when he took over as chairman of the executive committee for IBIA in Asia in February this year. The initiation arose from seeing a need to harmonised approach for bunker surveyor practices when dealing with MFM bunker deliveries.

Rahul also engaged help from IBIA (Asia) regional manager Simon Neo, Douglas Raitt of Lloyd’s Register FOBAS, Darajit Daud of SGS and Michael Green of Intertek ShipCare.

“We took up a big challenge in trying to develop this SOP, which would benefit the industry, from scratch. Getting competitors to work together to develop this SOP shows the true value of an independent association like IBIA. Having MPA and SPRING Singapore acknowledge this work shows the respect for our expertise,” Rahul commented.

Rahul reiterated that MFMs are not “plug and play” devices, as he had pointed out earlier in his previous comments on the technology, as there are complexities that need to be recognised and the SOP addresses that.

Raitt said: “Surveyors have been apprehensive about the introduction of MFM systems as it has cast doubt on their role in monitoring bunker deliveries, in particular because checking and verifying delivered quantity is typically such an important part of their job. But even with certified MFMs used during bunker deliveries, there is a comprehensive list of checks required where surveyors will be able to offer valuable support to the ship’s chief engineer.”

IBIA said its Singapore-based Bunker Surveyor Sub-Committee set up in July is already looking into other aspects of training and product enhancement for bunker surveyors to help them increase their knowledge and standards.

“IBIA’s Singapore office, which was set up in 2005, has established itself as the voice for the bunker industry here in Singapore,” said Neo. Its membership encompasses all parties involved in the bunkering industry, including ship owners, charterers, bunker suppliers, traders, barge operators, surveyors and marine lawyers.

“Besides engaging the industry, and providing training for the industry to improve its standards, we also provide yearly bursaries to enable students from less privileged backgrounds attend Nanyang Technological University in Singapore,” Neo added.

Although the SOP for bunker surveyors in relation to MFM bunker deliveries has been developed for Singapore, IBIA hoped that it will provide a building block for SOPs in other bunkering ports as MFM technology becomes more widely adopted.

Posted 07 September 2016

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Lee Hong Liang

Asia Correspondent

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