Singapore: MFM bunkering systems for distillates take precision to another level
The adoption of mass flowmeter (MFM) bunkering systems for distillate bunker tankers at Singapore has introduced another layer of challenge in meeting requirements for final acceptance tests, says Singapore-based marine fuel measurement engineering solutions company Metcore International.
Under the Technical Reference for Bunker Mass Flow Metering (TR 48:2015), final acceptance tests carried out onboard a bunker tanker require its MFM bunkering system to be within +/-0.5% overall measurement uncertainty.
With distillate bunker tankers, the increased challenges in meeting +/-0.5% overall measurement uncertainty are due to the greatly reduced test parcels sizes and other operational factors encountered during the final acceptance test, says Brian Pranesh, Sales Engineer at Metcore.
“The size of distillate bunker tankers operating in the Singapore market can be as small as 99 dwt while fuel oil delivery vessels operating at the republic can be more than 9,000 dwt in size,” he explains.
“As a result, the test parcels for distillate bunker tankers have greatly shrunk from between 1,500 to 2,000 metric tonnes (mt), typically seen for fuel oil bunker tankers, to figures as low as between 30 to 50 mt for distillate bunker tankers.”
“The room for error now is much more minute than before because of the smaller parcel sizes. We are not only able to handle such a dedicate job, but also ultimately train the crew on how to operate such a system to achieve a high degree of accuracy and consistency.”
The smaller test parcels for distillate bunker tankers results in a shorter time spent performing final acceptance tests; it also means operational factors, such as tank stripping and the closing/opening of valves have to be well coordinated to achieve optimal results during tests.
“In order to meet the +/-0.5% overall measurement uncertainty for the MFM systems onboard bunker tankers it is necessary to ensure perfect coordination with crew to ensure they open and close the right valves in time,” says Pranesh.
“We also found MFM readings from the smaller distillate bunker tankers to be more sensitive to the sea state when compared to larger fuel oil bunkering vessels; it is therefore important to choose a location with minimal maritime traffic when performing final acceptance tests for such vessels.”
Metcore in June completed acceptance tests for the entire bunkering fleet of Singapore-based marine gas oil (MGO) supplier Victory Petroleum Trading Pte Ltd which comprises of vesselsJasmine, Orchid, Mulan, Peony, Clover, and Rose ranging between 99 to 200 dwt in size.
“We serve a wide range of vessels in Singapore, from the smaller launch boats, ferries, yachts, to the bigger tugs, cargo vessels, and more,” commented Maureen Chan of Victory Petroleum.
“The required parcel size ranges from as low as 1 mt to 150 mt. As we own the smallest size tanker in Singapore, we require Metcore’s guidance in integrating, testing and operation of our MFM system on board our tankers.
“The Metcore team has displayed great passion and professionalism towards their work, even when faced with the challenge of the smallest tanker size. It was a very enjoyable and memorable experience for all of us.”
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in late June issued a circular informing the maritime community of the mandatory adoption of MFM for distillates delivery from 1 July, 2019.