Marina operators respond to diesel bug concerns

Three of the UK's biggest marina companies tell MBY they're on top of biodiesel issue

Three of the UK’s biggest marina operators have moved to calm fears about the possibility of a diesel bug epidemic caused by biodiesel entering the fuel supply.

The problem has arisen thanks to new fuel quality regulations handed down by the EU that could potentially see some fuel companies supplying road diesel, which contains up to 7% biodiesel, to marinas.

Biodiesel is water-attracting and contains fatty-acid methyl esters (FAME), which together provide a good environment for the growth of diesel bug.

But Premier Marinas, MDL Marinas and Yacht Havens Group have all told MBY that steps are being taken to make sure the fuel reaching their customers is free from any risk of contamination.

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You can read all about microbial contamination in diesel in the April issue of MBY (out March 3).

One of Europe’s biggest marina operators, MDL told MBY they had negotiated with their supplier, Shell, to offer boaters low-sulphur diesel with no biofuel content. They also said they conducted regular tank cleaning and fuel testing.

Yacht Havens Group, which runs a number of large marinas around the coast, said that they are now being supplied with low-sulphur, biodiesel-free fuel and that they checked every fuel delivery for biodiesel content.

Premier Marinas, meanwhile, said it would will continue to sell high-sulphur, biodiesel-free fuel at all its sites except Chichester, which has been branded “not at sea” for the purposes of the new fuel regulations.

The company told MBY that it will be selling low-sulphur diesel at the marina which contains up to 2% biodiesel until the middle of the year, when it will be able to source low-sulphur fuel with no biodiesel content.

At such small amounts, Premier said they didn’t expect diesel bug to become a problem, but were taking precautions anyway, by adding Soltron to all the fuel sold at the marina.


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