Bunker Survey

Bunker Surveys include Bunker Quantity Survey (BQS) & On/Off-Hire Bunker + Condition Survey. It's an examination of the ship's fuel to ascertain its total onboard quantity. it can be ROB quantity, ROB is Remaining On Board of fuel oils like MGO (marine gas oil) or MFO (Marine Fuel Oil) or LSFO (low Sulphur fuel oil) or HSFO (high sulfur fuel oil) or LSMDO (low sulfur marine diesel oil).
Bunkers are typically the largest contributor to the operational costs of a ship, with the physical transfer of fuel often taking place thousands of miles away from the contracting offices. As neither the buyer nor the seller is present to witness the bunker quantity transfer and sampling procedures onboard, any post-delivery investigation on quantity shortages is usually futile and inconclusive. Protests, demurrages, physical shortages, legal fees, management time, loss of goodwill, inconvenience and stress add to overall costs.

Bunker Quantity Survey (BQS)

Responding to these concerns, Vicstar offers an impartial and independent Bunker Quantity Survey through its own in-house surveyors in major bunkering ports in China. Our Bunker Quantity surveyors provide comprehensive and credible documentation of delivered quantity and representative sampling and compliance with MARPOL Annex Vl requirements. As a complementary service to the Fuel Quality Testing Programmer, our surveyors also facilitate prompt dispatch of fuel oil samples to the nearest laboratory. Given that bunkers account for 30-50% of the vessel’s operating costs,it is in the fuel buyer's interest to engage a surveyor for quantity verification. In a bunker dispute, the fuel buyer will be well placed to substantiate his claims. 


Scope of Service

  1. Our surveyors remain onboard for the entire duration of the bunkering ensuring continuous supervision and witness.
  2. Requests all clients to have their Chief Engineer or his representative present during the extensive in-section and gauging of all the bunker tanks on the vessel and the bunker tanker. Accurate assessment of the opening soundings on both the vessel and the bunker tanker is critical to the determination of the actual fuel quantity transferred. In order to perform a thorough job, sufficient time should be allocated. The measurements may take up to an hour on both the vessel and bunker tanker.
  3. Our surveyors are required to use their own measuring tape and digital thermometers instead of third-party instruments which may introduce uncertainties.
  4. All vessel and bunker tanker measurements are recorded on the spot in our Gauging Ticket, a copy of which will be given to each of the parties presents. In the event of uncertainty or during routine quality control checks, these independent records can be recalled for verification. The gauging ticket and recording procedures provide an audit trail that detects alteration of figures and other malpractices.
  5. Where permissible, digital photographs are taken as evidence of the survey operation. The photographs include those of the vessel, bunker tanker, sampling equipment and location.

Procedures on the Vessel

To avoid delays to the bunker delivery, the surveyor will board the vessel at least one hour before the bunker tanker's arrival to complete the initial vessel tank gauging measurements.

Procedures on the Bunker Tanker

  1. All the bunker tanker's tanks, including non-nominated bunker tanks will be measured in the presence of the ship and supplier representatives and the surveyor will instantly record the readings on the gauging tickets. If a short delivery arises, these records together with non-cargo tanks declaration can be used in the subsequent investigation.
  2. When all initial bunker tanker measurements are done, the transfer may start. On completion of the bunker transfer, the surveyor is required to close the measurement on the bunker tanker first to determine the quantities supplied. If there is a quantity difference between the vessel and the bunker tanker exceeding BQS Code of Practice requirement, the surveyor will carry out a dispute investigation after consulting the Chief Engineer and the supplier representative.


  1. According to Incoterms 2000 published by the International Chamber of Commerce, the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have passed over the vessel's rails.
  2. In addition, MARPOL 73/78 ANNEX VI requires are presentative sample to be taken at the receiving vessel's bunker manifold.
  3. As a bunker delivery is a commercial transaction that also requires the determination of fuel properties, VS advocates custody transfer sampling at the receiving vessel's manifold. Vessels are recommended to install a line sampler to collect representative samples.
  4. During the bunker transfer, the Code of Practice requires the surveyor to take a representative sample at the point of custody transfer.


The results for density, viscosity and water content of the fuel sample are factored into the final recalculation of the actual weight of the fuel delivered. The Bunker Survey Report is then transmitted by email to the client.

BQS Experience Database

The BQS experience database has multiple records of bunker tanker performance in a specific port and if there are no dubious practices, the conclusion is typically based on the bunker tanker out-run. Such dubious practices may include non-disclosure or incomplete stock movement records, questionable calibration tables, gravitation of bunkers among tanks, the unpacked pipeline from shore tanks and adjusted delivery figures.
However, we also have an extensive database on vessels that have been surveyed in multiple ports around the world and exhibit a good bunker experience factor. The importance of extensive vessel measurements before and after delivery, in conjunction with the vessel's bunker experience factor, justifies the conclusion based on the vessel's out-turn in some short delivery situations.

BQS Clients can avoid costly disputes from short deliveries.

We provide independent and credible verification of bunker quantity delivered, using qualified and experienced bunker surveyors applying Code of Practice. We provide comprehensive and accurate documentation as evidence in potential legal claims. As opposed to other survey companies, our surveyors stay onboard during the entire duration of the bunkering operation. This ensures continuous supervision of the entire bunkering operation. Our surveyors will make certain that representative sampling is carried out and assist the ship crew to comply with MARPOL Annex Vl requirements. While most other survey companies base their weight calculations on the supplier's bunker receipt density, we calculate the weight of the fuel oil delivered based on the actual density of representative samples tested in laboratories. Further, the tests representative samples to provide information on fuel viscosity (grade) and water content. This assists clients in avoiding commercial losses related to inaccurate bunker delivery receipt values as well as water content.

We use permanently employed in-house surveyors, for surveys in major bunker ports in China. We provide objective conclusions when there is a short delivery, based on comprehensive documentation and an extensive BQS experience database. BQS reports are presented in user-friendly PDF format with color codes for quick identification of problems, executive summary, and relevant pictures of the bunker survey. The report also includes documentation of sampling procedures and MARPOL Annex VI compliance. 


Vicstar Maritime Limited

+86 189 5325 2826 (WhatsApp)

[email protected]

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