Data from the fuel testing agency VPS indicate a recent spike in high sulphur heavy fuel oil (HFO) samples from Singapore where sulphur exceeded the global 3.50% limit, according to a Platts report.
It cited VPS data showing that the percentage of high sulphur HFO samples from Singapore exceeding the 3.50% sulphur cap went from slightly above 0% to almost 14% from April to July.
In July 2013, VPS data put the proportion of samples exceeding the limit mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) only slightly above 0%, according to Platts.
Data from other fuel testing agencies show a different picture, however, suggesting fewer cases of Singapore HFOs exceeding the global sulphur cap in recent months.
Data from Lloyd's Register FOBAS and Guardian Marine Ltd (GMT), available via Bunkerworld, suggest only 0.16% of all 380 centistokes (cSt) samples from Singapore for the period April, May, June and July tested marginally above 3.50% sulphur.
Although the FOBAS/GMT data include all HFO samples, not just high sulphur ones, the share would not be much higher if excluding low sulphur HFO samples, as only 5.04% of the 380 cSt samples from Singapore for this period tested at or below 1.00% sulphur.
None of the Singapore 380 cSt test results exceeding 3.50% were from July, but more recent data, from August, showed further samples from the port testing marginally above 3.50% sulphur.
Test data for 180 cSt fuels showed no samples testing above 3.50% in the April through July period.
The share of samples globally that exceeded the 3.50% sulphur limit stayed below 2% in July, according to the VPS data reported by Platts.
Here, too, the data from FOBAS and GMT suggest a smaller share of sulphur excesses, with just 0.22% of global 380 cSt samples testing above 3.50% sulphur in July 2014. Of these, half tested above the limit, but within the commercially accepted 95% confidence limit for sulphur.
The Middle East hub of Fujairah was the high sulphur hotspot in July, as all the 380 cSt samples that exceeded 3.50% sulphur came from this port, according to the FOBAS and GMT data.
The share of 380 cSt samples that exceeded 3.50% sulphur made up 5.56% of the total from the Fujairah, while none of the 180 cSt samples tested above the global limit. The highest test result seen from Fujairah in July was 3.86% sulphur.
The VPS data, meanwhile, said only around 2% of samples from Fujairah had exceeded the 3.50% global cap in July this year, compared to above 10% for the same period in 2013.
For the period 2013 and the first half of 2014, FOBAS and GMT data show that around 3.4% of 380 cSt samples from Fujairah tested above the global 3.50% sulphur limit, while none of the 180 cSt samples from the same period exceeded the global cap.
In 2012, Singapore was the source of most 'Notes of protest' concerning fuels with sulphur content exceeding the global MARPOL Annex VI limit of 3.50%, with the remaining handful of complaints seen for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.