The industry, apparently with minimal protest, has accepted a potentially dangerous compromise that will inevitably be the cause of more serious life threatening incidents than that reported. Increased awareness of the potential hazards of Bio-diesel is certainly needed. RYA advice in Maritime Feedback Issue No. 32 is useful. The author’s experience may be useful to others as he is especially ‘sensitive’ to the quality of his diesel fuel. The author’s boat has two naturally aspirated diesel engines and carries 1600 Litres in three elderly mild steel tanks where some rust and contamination is inevitable. The advent of Bio-diesel has not helped, nor the uncertainties of marine fuel content/quality in UK and across Europe. So the author’s own practice is:
1. Drain off more frequently, at regular intervals and after every rough passage, a litre or so of diesel from the three tank sumps – inspect for water, ‘black slime’ evidence of algae and dirt.
2. Change the tank and engine fine filters at least twice a year.
3. The author has resisted buying a so-called “Fuel Polishing” system as their filters are often 10 micron coarser than the tank filters that the author uses.
4. The author ‘doses’ the tanks liberally with one of the commended water dispersant additives and occasionally a biocide.
Leisure craft users should consider the RYA advice and ensure they drain off and change filters frequently (and of course carry spares). CHIRP is interested to receive reports on incidents involving loss of power and disablement as a direct consequence of the Biofuel content of Marine diesel.