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Picking future marine fuels

Compared to several alternatives, residual fuel may be unpleasant - but it has its advantages

LAST week, we had a reminder that commercial ships generally use something called residual fuel oil in their engines. It is not the most pleasant of substances and you do not want to see it leak out into the environment. That is what happened, in relatively small quantities, following two collisions between vessels in Singapore waters within 24 hours.

Residual fuel oil is difficult to deal with once it leaks into the sea but, fortunately, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) does have the resources to deal with spills effectively.

Environmentalists would, on the whole, prefer shipping not to use such a potentially damaging pollutant as residual fuel oil. In the longer term term, they...

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