Tue 6 Feb 2018 09:34

VPS flags up Singapore delivery shortages and failure to comply with MFM standard

'There are still individuals who are prepared to risk unauthorised practices,' says VPS director Steve Bee.

By Steve Bee - Group Commercial & Business Development Director

Towards the end of 2016, in anticipation of the mandatory use of mass flow meter (MFM) technology for the delivery of marine fuels in the port of Singapore, CMA CGM and Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) combined their mutual experience and expertise in bunker delivery, to investigate ways of effectively monitoring fuel deliveries via this newly introduced technology.

As a result of this collaboration, and with valuable direction and input from CMA CGM, VPS employed a MFM Technologist and introduced two new services to the industry. The first of these services is an MFM Quick-Screen, which provides a field assessment of the MFM profile. This service sees the surveyor collect and check MFM field documents, including pictures of the meter profile. The MFM Technologist, then reviews each case for 23 parameters, highlighting which, if any, could potentially be in breach TR48 and gives a 'Pass' or 'Fail' rating relative to TR48 requirements.

Across 2017, the VPS MFM Quick-Screen data has shown 28 percent of fuel deliveries have failed to comply with TR48 due to parameters such as tank stripping, line clearing, low cut-off values (LFC), the minimum measured quantity (MMQ), minimum mass flow rate (Qmin), zero verification, damping, aeration and meter totalizer log.

Following a MFM Quick-Screen 'Fail', VPS can provide a more detailed MFM investigation to comprehensively prove the initial findings, including analysis of the MFM Profile ASCII file Raw Data and Transmitter Configuration Report. The average discrepancy discovered following the investigation service is currently a shortage of 67 metric tonnes per investigation.

Christophe Lesnard, Head of Bunker Control & Claims of Energy Dept, and Cristian Popescu Bunker Owner Representative of Energy Dept of CMA CGM stated: "The partnership between CMA CGM and VPS in the development of these MFM monitoring services has assisted in providing real benefits and a higher level of transparency with respect to fuel delivery via MFM. MFM is not a plug & play system. All parties involved in a MFM bunkering operation need to learn on a daily basis to decode the generated data and identify potential weaknesses."

CMA CGM and VPS actively sought to create and enhance dedicated tools, which led VPS to being currently at the forefront of MFM supplies monitoring services, with the Quick Screening of MFM profile. This general overview for each delivery with highly specialized flow of analysis provide an efficient support for the ship owner in identifying and settling any potential disputes."

Over the course of 2017, the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) have taken strong action against certain fuel suppliers, by revoking their licences, following checks and investigations which uncovered a number of unscrupulous fuel delivery-related operations. Such actions prove there are still individuals who are prepared to risk unauthorised practices in relation to fuel delivery. This is despite the commendable efforts of the MPA to introduce a technology which aims to assist in placing Singapore at the forefront as a transparent, efficient and ethical port in which to deliver and receive bunker fuel.

As the first year of mandatory MFM fuel delivery in Singapore has concluded, it has shown the whole fuel delivery system, including MFM technology, requires expert performance monitoring and assessment, along with the detailed checking of the relevant documentation. As such, guided by the MPA and TR48 requirements, VPS MFM-Screening and Investigation Services, plus experienced BQS surveyors, can provide the expertise to assist in ensuring receipt of compliant and transparent fuel deliveries.

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Article by Steve Bee, VPS Group Commercial Director; Dr Malcolm Cooper, VPS CEO; and Stanley George, VPS Group Science & Technical Manager.

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