Friday, November 11, 2005

GLOBAL: ISO 8217 Third Edition publication imminent

The third edition of ISO 8217, International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) specification for marine fuels, is slated for publication before the end of November.

Wanda Fabriek, Convenor of the TC 28/SC4/Working Group (W6) Committee, has told Bunkerspot that the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) ballot on ISO 8217 terminated on 26 September with no negative votes submitted.

The rules on ISO Directives state that publication should occur within two months of the document’s approval at FDIS level - which means that ISO 8217 should be published around 26 November.

Some of the key changes to the standard include:

· The number of residual fuel oil grades has been reduced from 15 to 10, and some grades have been renamed.

· The reference temperature for the viscosity classification of residual fuels has been changed from 100C to 50C. According to Fabriek: ‘This change reflects the commercial market reality of purchasing bunkers on the basis of kinematic viscosity measured and expressed at 50C and not at 100C.’

· Sulphur limits will be aligned to those ratified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), through MARPOL Annex VI.

· The maximum ash content for the current RMH 35, RMK 35, RMH 55 and RMK 55 grades will be lowered from 0.20% m/m to 0.15% m/m. ‘This is a very significant change,’ noted Fabriek, ‘which further limits those extraneous elements results from the crude and refinery processing that contribute to engine wear and to fouling and corrosion in the engine and exhaust systems.’

· the sediment test by ISO 3735 will be replaced by the Total Sediment Existent by ISO 10307 Part 1, with the maximum limit of 0.10% (m/m).

· The maximum water content limit of residual fuels will be lowered from 0.8% for the current RMD 15 grade and from 1.0% to 0.5 % for all other RM grades.

· There will be specific limits on the permissible levels of zinc, phosphorous and calcium in all the residual fuel categories and in the DMC grade. ‘The aim of this limit,’ explained Fabriek, ‘is to ensure that the fuel shall be free from used lube oils (ULO)’.

The inclusion of the ULO controls in ISO 8217 has been the subject of heated debate in the bunker industry for many years.

Fabriek noted that the working group ‘debated this issue for a long time, seeking to provide the technical evidence for a variety of arguments raised against and for the inclusion of the limits on ULO into the specification.’

The working group also had to consider how to prepare an ‘accurate and precise test methodology for the determination of the selected ULO fingerprinting elements’.

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