As we are moving closer to the 1st January 2020, it is expected that the quality issues, arising from the new blended fuels that will hit the market as well as the use of additives, will increase the demand for fuel laboratory tests. Steve Bee, Commercial and Business Development Director of Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) explains that the quality of fuel tests and the ability of the laboratory to guarantee reliable results are becoming very important.
According to Steve Bee, ISO 17025 accreditation can ensure that the laboratory maintains high quality standards on a daily basis. For a laboratory to comply with ISO 17025, an annual audit is taking place by an independent Accreditation Body on all the fuel tests that the laboratory is ISO 17025 accredited.
ISO 17025 ensures full traceability of each fuel sample’s journey; a record of data is maintained from the sample’s receipt, the chemists and other staff who came in contact with it, the tests undertaken and the methodology used, the detailed results and the reporting. Furthermore, the equipment used for fuel tests, the software systems and the Management Information Systems, according to ISO 17025, need to undergo daily checks and specific maintenance in order to ensure accurate performance. Finally, accredited laboratories need to monitor the capabilities of their staff to ensure that, at any given time, they are qualified and well trained.
According to VPS Director, Shipowners and operators who perform their fuel tests in ISO 17025 accredited laboratories, that follow the above requirements, will be benefited from increased transparency as well as higher accuracy and increased reliability.
Furthermore, VPS suggests its clients to always buy fuel and test these fuels basis the most updated ISO 8217 parameters. However, it is expected that ISO 8217 specification will not be updated on time to adopt IMO 2020 peculiarities, Steve Bee says. Since there are many industry concerns that the new blended fuels may be affected by contamination or incompatibility, both of which may not be detected by standard ISO 8217 parameters testing, VPS suggests additional testing to take place, such as Gas-Chromotography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR).
As Steve Bee says, all four laboratories of VPS are ISO 17025 accredited both on the standard ISO 8217 parameters testing and all the additional fuel tests that VPS laboratories are offering. According to their experience, laboratories with such characteristics can deliver accurate, reliable results and with fast turn-around which will be very important for Shipowners and operators as we are moving towards a more complex environment in the post-2020 era.