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Integr8 Fuels warns on bunker quality

Photo: Marcus Hand Vessel bunkering in Singapore port
Singapore-based marine fuel supply firm, Integr8 Fuels, has warned ship operators of potential bunker quality issues.

In its second Bunker Quality Trends report, the firm has assessed data relating to the supply of 60m tonnes of bunker fuel over six months.

Integr8’s most important finding is that ships refuelling in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp port range are no less than 14 times more likely to receive very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) consignments with sulphur levels exceeding the mandated 0.5% maximum than ships bunkering in Singapore.

The findings come at a key moment. They follow a series of high-profile incidents in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, in which around 200 ships were affected by bad bunkers in the early months of 2022. Problems included clogged pipes, blocked fuel filters, and obstructed centrifuges.   

They also precede the 2025 introduction of the next Emission Control Area (ECA) in the strategically important Mediterranean Sea, affecting many thousands of vessels. From the beginning of May 2025, ships operating across the entire ECA will have to burn fuel with a sulphur content of no more than 0.1%.  

The Integr8 report provides owners with an update on fuel quality across a range of bunkering ports. In a statement, the company said it has addressed questions such as how likely an owner may be to face off-spec bunker situations; what parameters are the most problematic; and which ports pose the greatest risks.

The company’s Bunker Quality and Claims Manager, Chris Turner, commented: “Whilst fuel quality remains good overall, pockets of problems remain, and data-driven buying remains the first line of defence to proactively protect buyers against most of the issues we see in the industry. We hope this report will provide ship operators and bunker buyers with the information and tools they need to mitigate risk and make smart buying decisions.”

The increasingly complex marketplace has prompted Integr8 to provide more data for clients. A new website will provide users with data sets that should give a basis for bunkering decisions such as when, where, costs, and avoiding possible delays.

Pablo Di Nieri, CCO, said: “With so many different sources of data, and, in the case of pricing, a lack of official benchmarking system, it can be difficult to determine the right buying strategy or confidently assess performance. That’s why we have teams of research analysts and technical experts monitoring the market and producing valuable resources which users can access via our new website, along with regularly updated bunker pricing and quality information.”