Guidelines for onboard sampling for the verification
of the Sulphur Content of the Fuel Oil
This circular aims to inform Shipowners with the agreed method for sampling to
enable effective control and enforcement of liquid fuel oil being used on board ships
under the provisions of MARPOL Annex VI.
Notice to: Ship Owners / Managers / Operators | Surveyors
20 February 2017
Through MEPC.1/Circ.864, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), adopted the following guidelines under the
provisions of MARPOL Annex VI, giving an agreed method for sampling to enable effective control andenforcement of liquid
fuel oil being used on board ships.
The on-board representative sample or samples should be obtained from a designated sampling point or points taking into
account the criteria given below.
In the absence of the sampling point, the fuel sampling point to be used should fulfil all of the following conditions:
be easily and safely accessible;
take into account different fuel oil grades being used for the fuel oil combustion machinery item;
be downstream of the in-use fuel oil service tank;
be as close to the fuel oil combustion machinery as safely feasible taking into account the type of fuel oil, flow-rate,
temperature, and pressure behind the selected sampling point;
the sampling point should be located in a position shielded from any heated surface or electrical equipment and the
shielding device or construction should be sturdy enough to endure leaks, splashes or spray under design pressure of
the fuel oil supply line so as to preclude impingement of fuel oil onto such surface or equipment;
be proposed by the ship's representative and accepted by the inspector; and
the sampling arrangement should be provided with suitable drainage to the drain tank or other safe location.
Fuel oil samples may be taken at more than one location in the fuel oil service system to determine whether there is a possible
fuel cross-contamination in the absence of fully segregated fuel service systems, or in case of multiple service tank
The fuel oil sample should be taken when a steady flow is established in the fuel oil circulating system. The sampling connection1
should be thoroughly flushed through with the fuel oil in use prior to drawing the sample. The sample or samples should be
collected in a sampling container or containers and should be representative of the fuel oil being used. The sample bottles should
be sealed by the inspector with a unique means of identification installed in the presence of the ship's representative. The ship
should be given the option of retaining a sample. The label should include the following information:
sampling point location where the sample was drawn;
date and port of sampling;
name and IMO number of the ship;
details of seal identification; and
signatures and names of the inspector and the ship's representative.
Ship owners / Managers / Operators are advised to take note of above guidelines in order to adopt this agreed method for
sampling to enable effective control and enforcement of liquid fuel oil being used on board their ships.