Gard warning about fuel contamination for emergency systems

We recently came across an article on Maritime Logistics Professional that echoed the same message IPU’s Fuel Conditioning division have been preaching for years: check your emergency fuel supplies.

The article was originally written by Gard, the Norwegian risk management company. It starts “Imagine the following scenario: It is in the middle of winter in the north Atlantic, freezing cold with rough seas, when an emergency onboard a tanker requires the crew to abandon the ship. A lifeboat with its full complement of persons is just getting away from the emergency scene when the engine suddenly stops working.”

Gard makes many of the points we express every week of the year:

  • Maintenance checks focus on equipment, not the fuel that powers it.
  • This risks the reliability of emergency generators, emergency fire pumps and survival craft.
  • Most emergency fuel that is tested falls well below cleanliness specifications for water and particulates.
  • Additives can have a detrimental effect on both the cold flow properties and the long-term storage of fuels.
  • Fuel for emergency equipment should be sampled and tested both when delivered and at regular intervals thereafter.
  • As most fuel deteriorates over time, operators should have a system in place for managing fuel for emergency equipment.
  • Prolonged test runs under load should be carried out at regular intervals.