Singapore extends MFM use to distillates bunker fuel from 2019

Singapore is extending the use of mass flow meters to distillates bunker fuel. Credit: Malte Schwarz
Singapore is extending the use of mass flow meters to distillates bunker fuel. Credit: Malte Schwarz

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has extended the mandatory use of mass flow meters (MFMs) to the delivery of marine gas oil in Singapore waters, starting next year.

With effect from 1 July 2019, all existing distillates bunker tankers supplying to ocean-going ships in the Port of Singapore must be fitted with the MPA-approved MFM system.

This refers to fuel with a viscosity range of 1–120 cSt at 40°C, and encompasses marine gas oil, marine diesel oil, low-sulphur marine gas oil (0.1% sulphur content), and ultra-low sulphur oil that meets the 0.5% sulphur requirements.

All new bunker tankers applying for the Harbour Craft (Bunker Tanker) licence will be required to be fitted with the MPA-approved MFM system.

“The use of the MFM system will enhance transparency in the bunkering process, improve operational efficiency, and increase the productivity of the bunkering industry,” the MPA said in a statement.

To help with the implementation of a suitable MFM system, the MPA and Enterprise Singapore have jointly established the MFM Working Group, which tested the system on five bunker tankers.

The tankers are Marine Pamela, Ocean Pioneer, Patimah, Sentek 25, and Wisdom. According to data from IHS Markit’s Maritime Portal, they are between 500 and 3,000 gt and were built between 2011 and 2017.

Members of the MFM Working Group include the Weights and Measure Office of Enterprise Singapore, A*Star’s National Metrology Centre, and various stakeholders in the bunkering system.

To defray part of the cost of installing the MFM system, companies may apply for co-funding of up to SGD60,000 (USD452,000) from the MPA for each existing bunker tanker delivering distillates within Singapore waters. The MPA has set aside SGD9 million to co-fund this initiative.

“The industry has given positive feedback on the mandatory use of MFM for marine fuel oil. As the world’s top bunkering port, it is important that we continue to set the highest bunkering standards to ensure fuel quality and reliability and this can be achieved through the use of MFM,” said Captain M Segar, the MPA’s assistant chief executive (operations).

Since 2014, the MPA has invested close to SGD17 million to help the industry adopt the use of MFM systems for bunker delivery in the Port of Singapore. The same year, it announced that it would enforce the use of an MFM system for marine fuel oil bunkering in Singapore, starting 1 January 2017.

Likewise, the latest move will provide better assurance to bunker buyers and suppliers of the quantity of bunker delivered and safeguard Singapore’s reputation as the world’s top bunkering port. The initiative is supported by the Singapore Shipping Association and International Bunker Industry Association.

“This will also prepare the industry for an expected increase in the delivery of distillates with the introduction of a 0.5% global sulphur cap from 1 January 2020 by the International Maritime Organization. We will continue to work closely with all our stakeholders to prepare the bunkering industry for the future,” Segar said.