Microbiological contamination identified by Intertek ShipCare

A small, gas oil burning, vessel bunkered 30 tonnes of gas oil at a North Sea port. The company’s policy was not to test gas oil before use. After 10 hours burning the new fuel the in-line fuel pressure dropped from a usual 2.2 barg to 1.5 Bar(g). On instruction from the Chief Engineer the engine was stopped, and the pre-filter examined. This was found to be coated in a jelly-like material. The Chief Engineer reported that filter cleaning needed to be carried out every 3 hours after the initial incident. The vessel was on a coastal trade and on berthing, the main engine was
shut down. On restarting all 8 fuel pumps were found to be seized and the injectors were not atomising properly.

A Intertek ShipCare surveyor attended the vessel and took samples, witnessed by the supplier’s representative, from the bunker and day tanks. Visual examination showed a pale brown fuel with a moderate amount of suspended, soft brown material.

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