Bunkering is a system used to supply fuel to ships, which can even be carried out on the open sea. Although, until now, most ships around the world operate with diesel engines and, therefore, with diesel fuel, the use of liquefied natural gas or LNG is now being encouraged. It is a greener, more economical and efficient alternative, promoted by institutions.
What is IMO 2020 and how does it affect shipping?
In January 2020, there were major changes in terms of ship fuel. The international maritime organization made it mandatory, as of that date, to operate with fuel that did not contain more than 0.5% sulfur. This was the first step towards the decarbonization of the shipping industry, set for 2050.
In order to comply with this standard, shipping lines have chosen one of three possible routes, depending on their circumstances and those of the vessel:
- Switching to sulfur-free diesel. This route involves opting for ultra-low-sulfur fuel oil, which barely reaches 0.1%, or for a blend of several types of diesel fuels that offer the best value for money for ships.
- Install scrubbers on ships. These are tanks that neutralize the most polluting gases. This allows ships with scrubbers to use high-sulfur fuel oils without any problems.
- Use alternative fuel for ships. These are alternatives that do not have any sulfur content. One of the most viable alternatives at the moment is liquefied natural gas. In addition to being sulfur-free, it reduces nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90 %. Biofuels and electricity are also being investigated, although, for the moment, these are less cost-effective options.
At Suisca Group, we adapt to all our customers’ circumstances and facilitate the complete fuel supply they need. We have a 24-hour professional service. Thus, we make sure that you can enjoy your journeys thanks to quality supplies, with the utmost confidence.
Types of bunkering or fuel supply systems
There are three types of bunkering:
- Pipe-to-ship or PTS: It is when fuel is supplied through a terminal installed on a dock. This terminal consists of a tank that stores the bunker fuel, a specialized loading dock and a pipeline that connects the dock and the ship’s tanks.
- Ship-to-ship or STS: Through this system, fuel is transferred from one specialized ship to another. Currently, there are two types of supply vessels available on the market. The multi-fuel barge that we use for fuel oils and the vessels specially built to supply LNG.
- Truck-to-ship or TTS: Tanker trucks that are located at the dock and are prepared to load the ships’ tanks are used.
LNG, the maritime fuel of the immediate future
There are many advantages to this fuel. To begin with, since it is liquefied at a temperature of -160 ºC, its volume is reduced by 600 times compared to its gaseous state. This means that the tanks do not need to be extraordinarily large.
On the other hand, this product has important environmental advantages, to the point of being the Government’s bet for the immediate future if we pay attention to its Royal Decree 335/2018, of May 25. With this regulation, the intention is to boost LNG bunkering at Spanish ports and the availability to use existing gas infrastructures.
There are two types of engines that allow the use of LNG. We have the dual engines, which have the particularity of operating with diesel, fuel oil or LNG without damaging them. And on the other hand, we have the gas-only engines. In fact, currently, this fuel can be supplied from any Spanish port.
ISO 20519:2021 Standard for LNG bunkering of vessels
This standard sets out the applicable regulations for bunkering. Its purpose is to ensure that this type of bunkering is carried out with complete safety and without causing any environmental damage. The document specifies the requirements for LNG bunkering equipment and bunkering transfer systems, which are not covered by the IGC code. It applies to all classes of vessels of all sizes and to both domestic and international services.
It focuses particularly on five elements:
- Appropriate hardware to control liquid transfer systems and vapor generation.
- Establishing all operating procedures.
- The LNG supplier must provide a fuel delivery note.
- Training and qualification of personnel involved in fuel control.
- Accounting for the requirements that LNG facilities must meet, regarding the applicable ISO standards and state regulations.
In Suisca Group, we only work with fuel suppliers that have the seals that guarantee the compliance with the applicable ISO standards.
Suisca Group provides all types of fuels
At Suisca Group, we have agreements with different suppliers that allow us to offer all types of fuels adapted to the regulations. Our aim is to speed up and facilitate the transit so that each trip has all the guarantees. For this reason, we not only provide bunkering services for ships, but we also procure any type of product and service for the ship’s quartermaster.
For that, we care for our customers 24 hours a day and we are committed to a direct and personalized treatment with them. We also have a wide network of suppliers at the main ports of the world and, thanks to that, we can provide you with all the services you need.
Suisca Group, the partner you need
At Suisca Group, we have more than 40 years of experience providing all kinds of services to any vessel in transit or in port. We offer a wide range of services to all our clients in order to facilitate a fruitful and profitable voyage. Our professionals provide personalized attention for the supply of fuel or any other product. At Suisca Group, we focus on solving your problem, contact us!