The importance of the diesel engine as a means of propulsion in the marine industry cannot be overstated. In addition, the need for higher quality fuels for use in diesel relative to steam turbine equipment also has been long recognized. The petroleum industry has endeavored to abstract the maximum quantities of “clean” products from the crude barrel by more extensive use of fluid catalytic cracking and visbreaking processes. This trend has resulted in a reduction in the quality of the intermediate fuel oil supplied to the marine industry. The need for quality monitoring of marine fuels has received considerable attention over the past few years.
This paper presents a broad outline of a fuel quality testing program available from the author's company and reviews the data generated over the first two-and-one-half years from the program. Particular attention is paid to the average quality of fuels supplied in the three major geographic areas of the United States—East, Gulf, and West Coasts. The importance of the Western Hemisphere, particularly the United States, in the bunker market relative to other geographic areas is also indicated. Without making direct reference to the various suppliers, it is at once evident that within a particular bunkering port fuel quality from supplier to supplier can vary greatly. The variations of fuel quality supplied at U.S. ports from the British Standards Institution limits is also discussed.