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Singapore launches Technical Reference standard for bunker mass flow meter

Singapore launches Technical Reference standard for bunker mass flow meter
Singapore has launched the technical reference standard for bunker mass flow metering on Tuesday, about 11 months ahead of the mandatory use of the fuel measuring device for bunkering operations in Singapore port from 1 January 2017.

The technical reference, referred to as TR48:2015, covers a set of core requirements for metering system qualification, installation, testing procedures and documentation for bunker custody transfer using the Coriolis mass flow meter (MFM).

“The new standard, TR48, on mass flow metering for bunkering will strengthen the trust and raise efficiency in our bunkering industry through enhancing bunker measurement accuracy and transparency to a new level and will significantly improve efficiency by shortening each bunker delivery of about 12 hours by as much as three hours,” said M Segar, assistant chief executive of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

“The TR will also help facilitate the detection of any anomaly during the bunker fuel transfer through real-time and remote digital readings,” he added.

Even before the mandatory use of MFM next year, more than 500,000 metric tonnes of bunker fuel deliveries every month in Singapore are conducted via bunker tankers equipped with a MPA-approved MFM.

Segar said Singapore is “well on track to meet the 1 January 2017” implementation date. As of today, 64 Singapore-registered bunker tankers are equipped with the government-approved MFM, out of approximately 229 bunker tankers.

And starting from 1 June 2016, TR48:2015 will be used by MPA to support the initiative for all bunker tankers to be fitted with an approved MFM.

TR48 has been developed under the auspices of the Technical Committee (TC) for Bunkering of the Chemical Standards Committee (CSC). Back in March 2009, the TC for Bunkering agreed to undertake the MFM project and to form a Working Group to develop the standard.

The Working Group comprises of SPRING Singapore, MPA, A*STAR and various stakeholders from the marine, shipping and oil and gas industry. The trials used MFMs that were verified and sealed by SPRING and the trials data were analysed by A*STAR’s National Metrology Centre to determine the performance of the MFM system.

Some key references from the TR48 include the MFM sytem being able to operate within 0.5% overall measurement uncertainty, and to meet criterias such as system integrity, acceptance test requirements and delivery procedures.

Singapore-based shipowner Pacific International Lines (PIL) shared that between July to December 2015, the company made 444 bunker liftings in Singapore via MFM-equipped bunker tankers, and the fuel quantity variance was 0.28% on average. Homegrown physical supplier Sentek Marine & Trading also shared that in January this year, its 6,000-dwt series bunker tankers made 13 deliveries and the fuel quantity variance was 0.13% on average.

Seah Khen Hee, chairman of the TC for Bunkering, told Seatrade Maritime News that the TR48 would allow bunker buyers and suppliers in Singapore to virtually eliminate all disputes, while at the same time build up a higher level of trust and maintain Singapore’s position as the world’s largest bunkering port.

Bunker suppliers, while agreeing that MFM will no doubt deliver an accurate fuel quantity, remain concerned over disagreements raised by owners especially those that have vessels installed with their own MFMs or a difference in fuel quantity after manual measurement was made.

“The final fuel quantity will be based on the bunker barge figures, and ships that bunker in Singapore will have to observe the local regulations,” an industry source told Seatrade Maritime News.