In the Netherlands, the first test of a system that manages risk for marine fuels by combining synthetic DNA tracers and blockchain technology was successful. This week, the testing was completed successfully by creating a transparent chain of custody. Such advancement in technology can help a ship’s crew determine the suitability of a fuel coming on a vessel depending on the latest and incoming standards. 

BunkerTrace System’s pilot saw Prins der Nederlanden, a Boskalis owned Dreger,  bunkered with 900 m3 of ISO 8217:2010 compliant fuel supplied by Minerva with an added unique tracer. The crew was successfully able to detect this mark with an analysis case on-board with the results of this test logged on to a blockchain-based record of the transaction. The test took less than a minute to give result.

BunkerTrace created an immutable trail of the audit by adding markers to each stage of the supply chain and recording every transaction in a blockchain-based system. The trail followed the fuel and any blockchain changes made to it, recording all the activities and signs of each source transacting the fuel. By the time the fuel reaches the vessel, the crew can in a few seconds test for BunkerTrace marker and in its absence decide if it’s suitable to proceed. 

Where the DNA provides provenance and movement of the actual fuel data, the blockchain solution traces the digital “handshakes” or interactions that occur on a human to human level along the supply chain. This, in turn, creates a powerful resource for suppliers, owners, ports and insurers to track fuel and manage risks of non-compliance and potentially dangerous contaminated marine fuels from use on International Ships or vessels. 

Importantly, it allows the crew to test fuel before bunkering it rather than depending solely on lab testing. Thereby, it lays the ground for determining which supply chains of fuel are more reliable. Marc Johnson, CEO of BunkerTrace comments on the trial:

“After last year’s ‘epidemic’ of bad bunker fuel, it’s unsurprising that owners, insurers, and operators are worried about the quality of fuel available as shipping scrambles for available product post-2020 that will see more fragmentation in fuel supplies as more fuel is blended to meet compliance. This successful trial of BunkerTrace has demonstrated that it’s an easy, reliable means of introducing a level of transparency and traceability into the marine fuel supply chain that we’ve never had before. We’ve had a high level of interest in the product so far, and this is an important step on the way to rolling this out to the market.”

The trail used a tracker via a dosing pump on the fuel line as it was being loaded onto the bunker barge of Minerva. It was verified by Bureau Veritas that the fuel lines and receiving cargo were empty. The crew of the vessel used an on-board sampling kit to test the presence of tracer as the fuel was bunkered. The trial fuel was provided by Fuel Cooperative Bebeka with headquarters in Groningen. It’s General Director, Harry Vasse, observed:

“Managing the energy procurement now and in the future has our highest priority. Energy procurement is about sustainability, transparency, and environment. CSR reporting takes place at the boardroom level since company reputation is at stake. With the product portfolio in the marine energy market becoming increasingly complex and diverse in the near future, our focus is on expertise and continuously