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World Bunkering Autumn 2010 55 Douglas Raitt says his company has become even busier over the past year. He also says that, as far as Singapore is concerned, this is partly due to the continuing increase in bunker sales. Globally, however, owners are paying more attention to bunker issues as prices have risen. High bunker prices tend to encourage disputes, Raitt says, as own-ers have become more sensitive to minor quality issues that they may not have been too concerned about a few years ago. In any event, there has been increased demand for testing services and FOBAS is increasing its staff this year. Compliance issues So far it seems the implementation of the Northern European emission control areas ( ECAs) appears to have had little impact in Singapore. Capt Choudhuri says: " There will be less demand for low- sulphur fuel oil in the Asia Pacific region, at least for the time being as the regulations are now more Eurocentric. However, we do see an increase in distillate fuel testing in our Singapore lab. This is a good development as marine distillates are not without quality issues even though they are cleaner and more environmentally- friendly than heavy residual fuels. On the adoption of ISO8217: 2010 in Singapore, Capt Choudhuri says that there is likely to be a transitional period as industry players take time to adjust to the changes. Mr Raitt says there has been some increase in demand for low-sulphur fuel ( 1%) in Singapore with the introduction of the lower cap in the European ECAs to facilitate liner trade between Asia and EU ports of destination. He believes ensuring sufficient availability of low- sulphur fuel is something Singapore will keep pace with. Is there a future for surveyors? Mr Noirdent Shankar is confident of the future for bunker surveyors. He says: " Bunker surveying has always been part of the bunker supply chain and with MPA implementation of its Accreditation for Bunker Surveying firms, we note that there are 55 companies accredited or in the process of obtaining accreditation." Universal Marine Surveying & Consultancy itself achieved accred-itation in July 2009, way ahead of the Jan 2010 dateline. Mr Shankar says: " The volume of bunker surveys in our company has increased but competition still remains high. To remain in the competition we are always on our toes to ensure smooth deliveries and reporting irregular practices of bunkering procedures to our principals. We then leave the decision to the principal to report malpractice to the authorities concerned." He adds: " Bunker surveying in Singapore will stay for a long time, even if flow meter devices become standard, contrary perhaps to the logical view that physical measurements may not be necessary. This is because bunker surveying has many components and is not only a question of the measurements issue or determination of quantity alone. There are other issues, such as making sure proper sampling procedures are adhered to and reporting requirements of any impediments to the SS600 standards. The attending surveyor can also play a role in training the less experienced ship staff during bunkering operations and familiarising the staff with the bunkering requirements and, most importantly, the understanding of bunker sampling procedure." Dispute handling " Another area of concern in the bunker surveying industry is the handling of disputes. As there is no standard requirement stating that flow meters are better than traditional conventional measurements disputes will still needed to be sorted out," Mr Shankar explains. While disputes do occur, he says his company has so far not carried out any de- bunkering surveys in Singapore Port. He explains: " We reckon with the tight regulations, licensing and enforcement by MPA the bunker quality has been effectively controlled. We note that contracts of bunker sales reflects quality of fuels supplied to meet requirements of ISO8217: 2005." Mr Raitt says that high bunker prices tend to encourage disputes, as owners have become more sensitive to minor quality issues that they may not have been too concerned about a few years ago. In recent years he has frequently pointed out that Singapore is a " good quality" port and that myths about high numbers of quality disputes are just that, myths. The sheer volume of deliveries in the world's busiest bunker port mean that there will be more disputes, in absolute terms, than in some other ports but he stresses that the proportion of disputes is very small. Ensuring quality Quality in Singapore has been enhanced over the years by the Codes of Practice for bunker surveyors and bunkering by bunker tankers reflected in the Singapore Bunkering Standard ( SS600). He says that the recent move to accreditation of bunker surveying companies, rather than just individual surveyors, is welcome and " adds another level of quality control" in the bunker supply chain. He stresses a point that he says is applicable not just not to Singapore but globally: " The industry focuses on whether fuel is fit for purpose. This is often overlooked and disputes can arise over minor quality issues when in fact the fuel can be used without causing any harm." Mr Shankar goes on to say: " With tighter regulations and the accredi-tation of surveying companies, regular training and familiarisation of the requirements are now standard practice among surveyors who want to survive in the market. We support the initiatives of MPA and also IBIA in enhancing productivity and efficiency in the bunker industry." Surveyors taking a bunker sample