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ISO 8217: its many versions and variances in Table 2 parameters

Bunker quality disputes happen for a number of reasons, one of which is lack of clarity over which version of ISO 8217 applies given the variances between Table 2 parameters in its many versions. In The Frauke [2019], not being very specific about which standard the fuel should conform to led to a dispute between the physical and the contractual supplier.

Aegis, the contractual supplier nominated BPCL (the physical supplier) to provide bunkers to M/V Frauke and stated that “Specs as per ISO 8217:2010 for RMG 380”. The purchase order soon followed, but it read “as per ISO 8217 for RMG 380”. 2010 wasn’t mentioned. The test results of the sample showed Catfines (Al+Si) content to be 68.01mg/kg which was beyond the maximum limit of 60 mg/kg in ISO 8217:2010, but was within the requirement of 80mg/kg as specified in the 2005 version. Owners de-bunkered after agreeing with Aegis, who then looked towards BPCL to recoup its losses ($210k).

As per a Court in India, in bunker transactions, mentioning the specs is a critical factor and the omission of ‘2010’ from the final PO could not have been an inadvertent error by the contractual suppliers. This is notwithstanding the mention of 2010 in the earlier email sent to the physical suppliers nominating them. This meant the physical suppliers had the liberty to supply as per any of the different versions of ISO 8217.


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