When a vessel has been provided with off-specification bunkers the consequences can be severe, possibly leading to the breakdown of the vessel’s machinery. Even if off-specification bunkers do not result in a breakdown, the loss of time and expenses incurred if it is necessary to de-bunker or deviate to stem fresh bunkers can be significant.
Off-specification bunkers can potentially give rise to claims under an owner’s hull and machinery insurance as well as under Club cover, whether as a FD&D claim against time charterers or bunker suppliers or a P&I claim such as for delay in delivery of cargo if that causes the cargo to deteriorate. There may also be a charterer’s liability to owners for providing off-specification bunkers.
In a pair of new publications, a Loss Prevention Bulletin "Bunker Quality Disputes Part 1: Practical and Technical Measures" deals with the actions and steps that should be considered in order to avoid off-specification bunker disputes, and a Claims Guide “Bunker Quality Disputes Part 2: Legal and Claims Handling Considerations” sets out the legal and claims handling steps that should be taken in the event of an off-specification bunker claim arising.