Wilhelmsen insights

Challenges when using compliant fuel

Failing to plan is planning to fail - Developing a holistic risk assessment

Wilhelmsen insights |
Rajiv Nigam, GM - Technical Services Group

With the deadline of IMO Sulphur Cap 2020 drawing closer, we understand the owner's concern to remain operational while complying with this environmental regulation. Having a good implementation / fuel oil changeover plan is just the beginning of the transition phase. A very important aspect of the plan is to address the potential risks that may arise. 


WSM recommends the development of a holistic risk assessment that addresses all aspects of vessel operations, fuel compatibility and safety when operating with compliant fuel. A potential challenge that may develop when using compliant fuel is engine malfunction. WSM suggests the following risk assessment and mitigation be added to your hazard watch:



Engine malfunction due to continuous usage of low Sulphur fuel

  • Establish efficient procedures that ensure immediate assistance from makers in the event of engine / equipment malfunction due to continuous use of low Sulphur fuel  
  • Get engine performance reports vetted by makers regularly to ensure optimum performance

Crew unaware of the consequences of using compliant fuel continuously

  • Conduct comprehensive training for crew to ensure they understand the significance and effects of using low Sulphur fuel 
  • Simulate scenarios for crew on possible damages to engine components due use of compliant fuel so they are better prepared for early detection and corrective action

Fuel stability and compatibility issues

  • Adequate testing procedure must be adopted through fuel test laboratory. Even stable fuels may not be compatible when blended to create compliant fuel
  • Storage tanks, service tanks and fuel oil transfer piping are potential sources for contamination when switching bunkers especially when trading in ECA zone. Always ensure enough ultra-low Sulfur fuel goes through the return flow piping
  • Compatible filters with low micron size (e.g. 10 micron) can be installed in fuel inlet to engine as a proactive measure to prevent damages due high catalytic fines in compliant fuel
  • Relevant fuel test equipment is kept onboard to verify that compliant fuel is in use in case of any PSC scrutiny and to check for catalytic fines

WSM is determined to keep our managed vessels in line with new international environmental requirements while maintaining safe operations. 

Contact us to understand the options for sailing in compliance.

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Disclaimer : While care has been taken to ensure the information in this publication is accurate, this is a general guide and not intended to be relied on for any specific purpose. Wilhelmsen Ship Management Holding Limited and its subsidiaries cannot be held responsible for any errors or consequences arising therefrom. If you would like to reproduce any part of this publication, please seek our prior approval.