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How to deal with tendency to low quality Fuel Oil and engine operation

When a ship is chartered out, the charter party requires Fuel oil(FO) in compliance with the ISO standard only. However, an increased possibility of low loading quality FO can be anticipated. Onboard Chief Engineer should try to grasp the qualities of the loaded FO as early as possible. If any abnormality is discovered, the actual conditions should be reported to the management company immediately.

Low-quality fuel oil causes or contributes to many serious insurance claims related to the operation of ships machinery, for examples, damaged cylinder liners as a result of high catalytic fines present in the fuel oil. Claims rising from low-quality fuel oil or poorly purified fuel oil damage to the main engine and also result in P&I claims, relating to grounding, collision, pollution, and wreck removal.

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Oil Tanker Safety Guide
Tendency to low quality Fuel Oil and engine operation

The Chief Engineer needs to grasp the tendency in qualities of the loaded FO as early as possible by the following methods:
  1. When an analysis by the third party is carried out, the results.
  2. CCAI values by an easy test kit possessed by the vessel, observation under a microscope, and observation of filter paper.
  3. Results of burning trial.
  4. Quantity and natures of drain and sludge from the purifier and settling tank, and clogging state of the filter.
  5. Change in number of times of backwash of the FO backwash filter.
Measures against low quality fuel oil
  1. Size of Gravity disk, inlet temperature, and blow intervals for FO Purifier shall be selected strictly.
  2. The spare purifier shall be used in parallel to reduce oil flow rate for purifying effect.
  3. High-density oil (0.991 or higher) shall be treated by serial operation of a purifier and a clarifier.
  4. Bottom blow to the settling tanks and service tanks shall be carried out.
  5. Use of an emulsion breaker and a FO additive shall be considered to FO with excessive water and sludge, and low ignition qualities.
  6. A third filter (5 micron type) shall be used for FCC catalysis FO.
  7. For low ignition qualities FO (High-CCAI value), the VIT or FQSL shall be adjusted to proceed injection timing so that the prescribed maximum pressure may be obtained.
  8. For low ignition qualities FO (High-CCAI value), an overload, torque-rich operation or excessively low-speed operation for an extended period shall be avoided as far as possible.
  9. For low-speed operation, cooling water temperature and scavenging air temperature shall be kept high within the allowable range to improve combustion.
  10. The engine exhaust system, such as air cooler, supercharger, exhaust gas economizer, and FO system, such as the FO purifiers, FO pumps, injection valves, should be kept in right conditions all the time.
  11. Great care should be paid to the factors that are affected directly by FO, such as RPM of the supercharger, scavenging pressure, exhaust gas temperature, the color of exhaust gas, etc.
  12. During an engine stop, an internal inspection of piston rings and liners shall be carried out periodically through scavenging ports and the like, which frequency shall be increased as far as possible after the use of a low-quality FO.
  13. Torque rich operation for a long period shall be avoided, and the use of low-quality FO and torque-rich operation increases the thermal load to cause troubles related to the combustion chamber. During use of low-quality FO, in particular, the excessive torque-rich operation shall be avoided.

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