(EnergyAsia, November 1 2010, Monday) — Two international associations representing the shipping and bunker fuel industries said they have launched an electronic guide to bunkering.

BIMCO, the world’s largest international shipping association, and the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) said the new guide is designed primarily for use by ships’ crew.

BIMCO’s Asia Liaison Officer, Thomas Timlen, and IBIA chief executive Ian Adams released the BIMCO and IBIA Bunkering Guide to delegates attending the 16th Singapore International Bunkering Conference last week.

A limited number of hard copies of the electronic guide were offered to delegates, who learned how the guide will provide general information and guidance on, among other things, the expanding regulatory regime affecting the bunkering industry.

Mr Adams said: “In today’s market, the bunkering of ships is an intensive, highly regulated and quality-based operation which demands ships’ crew to be highly focused on quality assurance and environmental risk. This guide will help those involved in the bunkering process to act in compliance with industry regulations and best practice.”

BIMCO and IBIA first visited the idea of a guide in 2009, when they identified a gap in available resources to address best practice and industry compliance. The BIMCO and IBIA Bunkering Guide is an accumulation of BIMCO’s and IBIA’s combined experience, industry standing, and status as non-governmental organisations at IMO.

Mr Timlen said: “We are delighted that we have put together a comprehensive reference for all ships’ personnel involved in bunkering. We hope that making this guide available to the industry will not only benefit onboard crew but will also provide shore staff with access to information which could prove helpful in some shoreside operations.”

BIMCO and IBIA recognise that detailed guidelines, instructions and procedures are readily available in ships’ Safety Management Systems (SMS), the Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP) and/or the Shipboard Marine Pollution Emergency Plan (SMPEP). They are confident that this new guide will enhance and support the general knowledge of ship personnel.

The guide will soon be available on the BIMCO and IBIA websites, www.bimco.org and www.ibia.net, to download and print. IBIA members will also receive a hard copy of the guide.

BIMCO represents members who control about 700 million dwt or about 65% of merchant shipping, including 2,600 individual members from 123 countries comprising shipowners, shipbrokers and agents and other entities with an interest in the maritime industries.

BIMCO is accredited as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and holds observer status with several UN agencies involved with shipping industry matters, notably the International Maritime Organisation, and works closely with maritime administrators around the world.