847 - 10/12 - Sulphur Limit Bunker Dispute - Rotterdam

The Club has been made aware of a case concerning an entered vessel which was detained for breaching the North Sea SECA regulations despite receiving bunkers which appeared, according to the bunker delivery note, of being within the required limits.

An entered vessel was detained recently in the port of Rotterdam for burning fuel in the North Sea SECA which had a higher than regulated amount of Sulphur.  The bunker fuel in question was supplied to the vessel by a bunker supplier in a North African port prior to arrival in Rotterdam. 

The Dutch authorities carried out a port state inspection of the vessel, including an analysis of the bunker fuel on board.  The results of the fuel analysis found levels of sulphur in the bunker fuel to exceed those permitted under the North Sea SECA regulations.  The vessel was subsequently detained. 

The vessel’s owner protested the detention on the grounds that the vessel had been sold the bunker fuel under false documentation and sought to expunge the detention from the vessel’s record.  The Dutch authorities refused to acknowledge the role of the bunker supplier and rejected the members appeal.

Bunker delivery notes are received in good faith and taken at face value however, in this particular case this has proven to be detrimental to the vessel.

The Club would stress the importance of collecting and maintaining meticulous records of all bunker fuel received.  Recording and logging all bunker delivery notes for use in defending any future claims.  Additionally the proper and concise upkeep and maintenance of the Oil Record Book (ORB) is imperative.

Further, more detailed guidance can be found in the following Publications;



Technical Bulletin 35: Oil Record Book Entries

And from the UK Club’s sister Club, the Defence Club;
Bunkers: a guide to quality and quantity claims





Source of Information
Loss Prevention dept.
UK P&I Club,

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