Bunker contamination in U.S. Gulf leads to 11 vessels losing maneuverability

Chamber of Shipping > Blog > News > US > Bunker contamination in U.S. Gulf leads to 11 vessels losing maneuverability

Leading fuel testing services provider VPS has identified a new marine fuel contamination issue in Houston, reminiscent of incidents in 2018. VPS found high levels of Dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) and associated isomers in Very low Sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) bunker fuel deliveries in Houston. Eleven vessels using this fuel have reported a loss of power and propulsion at sea. The contamination was traced back to a single supplier’s deliveries made between March and May 2023. The issue arose after the fuel was combusted weeks after bunkering, resulting in fuel leakage in the injection control unit and fuel pump failures. Auxiliary engines were also affected. The contaminated fuel caused problems with fuel pumps, injectors, and purification systems. The vessels experienced restricted manoeuvrability and had to switch to low-sulfur marine gas oil for safe arrival at port. The DCPD compounds detected ranged from 3,000 to 7,000 ppm. VPS had previously warned some vessels of potential DCPD contamination through its Chemical Screening service.

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