The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore has long tried to stop vessels from bunkering OPL in so-called grey areas in terms of jurisdiction that exist around the Singapore and Malacca Straits and the city state’s regulations do not apply.
“If the member has the choice, they are better off taking bunkers inside port limits to protect their interests,” said Tim Wilkins, regional manager Asia Pacific for Intertanko.
By taking bunkers OPL shipowners are able to get lower prices but expose themselves to a number of risks.
Intertanko highlighted the dangers to navigation caused by anchoring off the traffic separation scheme and the precautionary areas in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
In addition, by taking bunkers in Singapore port waters the owner is covered by Singapore’s bunkering standards codes CP60 and CP77, which are designed to both minimize bad quality bunkers and provide a channel of recourse for the owner should there be a problem.
It is understood though, in some cases, the owner’s hands are tied on the decision to bunker OPL as this is a decision made by the charterer.
DNV Petroleum Services fuel quality data shows that OPL bunkers have a higher quality risk than those taken inside port waters.
Singapore is the world’s largest bunkering port and over 14m tonnes of fuel were sold in its waters in the first half of 2008.