October, 2020 - Alert: Jet fuel used in blending marine fuels
- Date: 09/10/2020
Due to the reduced demand during the Covid-19 pandemic for both road transportation and aviation fuels, it appears that these fuels are being used as blending agents in marine fuels.
Both road and aviation fuels tend to be lighter fuels, with lower flash points than marine fuels. To date, VPS have issued 17 alerts for Flash Point concerns in relation to VLSFO, HFO and MGO, which suggests the presence of more volatile material, such as jet fuel. These irregularities have been noted mainly in Singapore and the Middle East. A general reduction in viscosity and density are also key indicators.
Flash-point is the lowest temperature at which fuel gives off enough vapour to form an ignitable mixture in air, near the surface of the liquid. The lower the flash point, the easier it is to ignite the fuel. Where the Flash Point is less than 60°C, prescribed by SOLAS, fuel is deemed unsafe and use of such fuel will result in a breach of SOLAS. In such cases, further testing should be carried out promptly in accordance with best industry practice and any contractual provisions.
The fuel should not be burned until the quality of such fuel has been verified. In some cases, fuel found with a low flash point may improve with time or as a result of blending, but expert advice should be sought given the serious safety implications of low flash point fuel. In other cases, de-bunkering may be necessary.