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What is low sulphur fuel oil ? How to changeover fuel oil prior entering SECA ?

Fuel oil is defined as follows according to the content rate of Sulphur :

Standard fuel oil - Sulphur content rate should not exceed 3.5%

Low Sulphur fuel oil - Sulphur content rate should not exceed 1.0%. Low Sulphur fuel oil shall be used in SOx Emission Control Area (SECA ). The amendments, adopted through the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), stipulate that the sulphur content of any fuel used in the Baltic and North Sea Emission Control Areas (ECA’s) shall not exceed 1.00%.

These amendments are the latest in a line of reductions with the next reduction to 0.1% set for 2015. Vessels should make themselves aware of the requirements of these amendments and ensure that they have sufficient fuel available if they are planning to trade in these areas. Ships crew should be fully trained and familiar with all relevant change-over procedures.

The Master shall have final responsibility for prevention of pollution resulting from discharge or disposal of any oil, oily mixtures, emission gases and etc. from the vessel into the sea.



The Chief Engineer shall have the direct responsibility to supervise the handling, replenishing and transfer operation of FO and LO and changing over the fuel oil and also control of emission gases.

While the vessel is chartered out, Fuel oil shall be well managed by the vessel since FO is charterers property.

And the vessel shall, on behalf of Owners, prevent troubles caused by quality of FO and shall take necessary measures when a trouble occurs.

The fuel oil which Sulphur content exceeds 3.5% is strictly prohibited.

Note : The Sulphur content means the value described on Bunker Delivery Note. The Bunker Delivery Note, which is prepared by Bunker Supplier (or the captain of the barge or the representative),


Carrying low sulpher fuel oil

Low Sulphur fuel oil shall be used in SECA only

This item has been come into force since May 19th 2006 for Baltic Sea area and since November 22nd 2007 for North Sea area.

When changing over to a low sulphur fuel oil from the fuel oil normally used (sulphur content not to exceed 3.5%m/m), it is required that sufficient time be allowed for the fuel oil changeover before entering the SECA, so that the sulphur content of the fuel oil used in the SECA does not exceed 1.0% m/m by mixing of fuel oils. In addition, the volume of low sulphur fuel oils in each tank as well as the date, time, and position of the ship when any fuel oil changeover is started and completed, are to be recorded in the Log-Book and Oil Record Book.

It is required that documentation showing the fuel oil changeover procedure shall be retained onboard ship.

Note: SECA means Baltic Sea area, North Sea area in MARPOL ANNEX-I, Regulation 10 (1).



Procedure of operation and record of fuel oil change over when entering SECA

(1) Before entering SECA

(a) In case of the vessel using the standard fuel oils, standard fuel oils shall be well flushed and replaced to Low Sulphur fuel oils in advance.

(b) The volume of Low Sulphur fuel oils in each tank as well as the date, time, and position of the ship when any fuel changeover operation is commenced and completed, shall be recorded in Log Book.

(2) After leaving SECA

Low Sulphur fuel oils may be replaced to standard fuel oils after cleared out SECA. Note: Above requirements took into effect on 1st Jan 2012.





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