Use of mass flow metering (MFM) systems for all marine fuel oil deliveries will be mandatory in Singapore port from 1 January 2017.
11 September 2014 / Web only
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is introducing requirements for direct measurement of the mass of oil delivered during bunkering operations. This is understood to be the first such mandatory measure in any port worldwide. In their Port Marine Circular No.08-14, MPA announced that the “Singapore Standard Code of Practice for Bunkering” (SS 600) is in the process of being revised and that all bunker tankers operating in the port will be required to install an MPA approved mass flow metering (MFM) system. Enforcement dates for the new system to be fitted are as follows:
According to the MPA, the updated version of SS 600 will be launched at the 2014 Singapore International Bunkering Conference (SIBCON) in mid-October.
One of the problems in terms of trading marine fuel oil is that manual dipping and tank soundings onboard the ship are volumetric measurements while invoicing is based on the mass transferred. Manual measurements are time consuming and also not transparent for the counterparty. As the accuracy of traditional volumetric measurements is highly dependent upon the weather, sea and ship conditions, the trim of the bunker tank, fuel temperature and also relies on manual translation of volume measurements into mass, human errors are likely to occur followed by quantity disputes. Another difficulty reported in the Singapore region is “cappuccino bunkers” - a well known phenomenon whereby the bunker supply barge pumps air into bunkers so that a higher quantity of bunkers can be measured onboard the ship than actually supplied.
With a bunker sales volume of 42.7m metric tonnes in 2013, Singapore is the world’s leading bunkering port (source: “MPA Annual Report 2013”) and it is therefore very important to the MPA to ensure that quality bunker services are provided. The introduction of mandatory use of MFM systems is expected to enhance transparency in the bunkering process, improve operational efficiency, increase the productivity of the entire industry, and last but not least, reduce illegal bunkering activities.
Impact on ships’ onboard bunkering procedures
To assist the industry with the implementation of the new requirements, the MPA has issued the documents: “Frequently Asked Questions on Mass Flow Metering (MFM) for Bunkering” and “Generic MFM Procedure”. And although responsibility to install approved MFM systems lies with the bunker barge owners, it will also be important for crews on ships undertaking bunkering in Singapore port to familiarise themselves with the new system requirements.
Members and clients are therefore recommended to carefully review the MPA’s “Generic MFM Procedure” and to ensure that their onboard bunkering procedures are adjusted as necessary. It is important to note in relation to use of the new MFM system that:
Available downloads from MPA
Singapore Standard Code of Practice for Bunkering – SS 600: available to purchase