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Contaminated ship fuel in Singapore may be just the tip of the iceberg

News of contaminated ship fuel findings in Singapore is one the one hand trivial, because it is hardly the first time such has occurred in the shipping industry. On the other hand, it could be an indication of something much bigger, sources say.

Photo: PR-foto/DFDS Seaways

News of contaminated ship fuel, 'bad bunker' in maritime industry vernacular, in a port is not necessarily something which will halt operations in carriers' offices nor on ships' bridges, for that matter. In part, because it happens with relative frequency, and in part because damages are usually limited to few clients or contained to limit the extent of damages.

However, it is now beginning to look like something of a pattern, as instances in Houston from earlier in 2018 apparently could not be contained to the Texan port on the Gulf of Mexico. Now, traces of dirty bunker have spread to Singapore. Here, six bunker spot checks have indicated that contaminated marine fuel has "resulted in severe sludging at centrifuges, clogged pipelines, overwhelmed fuel filters," writes marine survey and consultancy firm Maritec this week to its clients, according to Reuters.

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