BW takes bunker supplier to court in case concerning contaminated fuel

Gas shipping company BW LPG says that bunker company World Fuel Services supplied low-quality bunker to two ships in Texas in April. Both ships encountered fuel pump problems.

BW hævder, at det fik dårlig bunker ombord på skibene BW Leo (billedet) og BW Kyoto. | Photo: BW LPG

BW LPG has taken a well-known bunker company to court after the shipping company allegedly tanked contaminated bunker aboard two of its gas tanker ships.

The dispute is described in court documents submitted to a US court and is the latest in a long line of cases in which shipping companies are fighting to settle the bills for issues related to contaminated bunker.

The problems began in Texas early this year and have since then spread to key ports in Singapore and Panama, where hundreds of ships have been affected. The contaminated bunker typically results in clogged systems, while there are also examples of de facto engine failure.

(...) because the fuel failed to meet specifications, it damaged the ship's fuel pump system"

BW in its claim filed against World Fuel Services

In this specific case, shipping company BW LPG purchased bunker oil for two VLGC vessels in the Nederland port in Texas. The seller was World Fuel Services, while the fuel was delivered by a local supplier in late April.

When the two ships, BW Kyoto and BW Leo, began to burn the fuel, their fuel pumps clogged up. This resulted in extra costs for the shipping company, which is low looking to cover its losses at a court in Florida.

"(...) because the fuel failed to meet specifications, it damaged the ship's fuel pump system, necessitating maintenance and cleaning of the fuel pump system, the ship was delayed, and the fuel had to be removed from the ship's fuel tanks in order to avoid damage to the ship's engine," reads the BW filing.

Compensation claim

The BW shipping company wants a total of USD 700,000 in compensation from World Fuel Services.

This marks the second time that World Fuel Services gets tangled up in the comprehensive issues related to contaminated bunker fuel oil.

In another case, a subsidiary of World Fuel Services, Trans-Tec, has filed a claim against German supplier Bomin for having supplied contaminated fuel to ship Thorco Lineage. The ship ran aground in June after an engine failure, and contaminated bunker is in play as one of the explanations for the accident.

It remains unknown who introduced the large quantities of contaminated bunker oil in the market, but it is clear that the issue has led to a series of compensation claims which shipping companies are currently working to resolve. This is taking place mostly behind closed doors, though a handful of cases have reached the courts.

As previously reported by ShippingWatch, these problems have strained the already fraught relationship between shipowners and the bunker companies at an unfortunate time when the industry is in the process of adapting to the upcoming sulfur regulations.

English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch

Frustrations about bad bunker remain intact 

Bomin denies responsibility for Thorco accident 

Bad bunker may accelerate changes in bunker industry 

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