Hydrogen Sulphide – Creating a Stink for Vessel Owners and Operators?

The presence of Hydrogen Sulphide in marine fuels has always been viewed by vessel owners / operators as an occupational hazard. It is widely accepted that at some point in time a vessel will receive a parcel of fuel that contains higher than expected levels of H2S and will be expected to handle it in a manner which does not endanger the onboard crew.

11 September 2012

The presence of H2S in marine fuels is a direct result of the crude source from which the fuel is derived with high levels of H2S being particularly prevalent in "Sour Crudes" originating from the Americas and Middle East.

Up until now, recommendations for dealing with fuels containing H2S has been provided by the ISGOTT guide resulting in owners / operators establishing their own safety procedures. However, the inclusion of H2S within the ISO 8217:2012 test standard has provided an extra level of protection for on board crew members.

The analysis of H2S within the ISO 8217 standard is conducted in accordance with the recently completed IP 570/12A test method. IP 570/12A looks at the overall H2S content in the liquid phase of the fuel rather than the vapour phase above the fuel. This gives a greater indication of the potential for evolution of H2S gas and the possible risk to those working in close proximity to the fuel.

So, bearing this in mind, the question to be asked is: "Does the inclusion of H2S within the ISO 8217:2012 fuel standard pose a further fuel related problem to vessel owners / operators?"

Based on the evidence gathered – so far – the answer would appear to be "no". Regular testing for the presence of H2S will simply serve to augment the already established onboard safety procedures and further reduce the risk to vessel crews.

Do you have more questions about this topic? If so, please leave a comment below and one of our experts will get back to you.

Michael Green, Global Technical Manager for Intertek-Lintec Shipcare Services