Case study: Pioneering certification for bunkering

Where measuring instruments used for commercial purposes are concerned, there is always a quest for the ideal circumstances. The liquids are preferably clean and contain no air, the pipeline is always completely full and negative environmental influences are eliminated where possible. The situation when bunkering seagoing ships, however, is far from ideal. Thanks to creative testing methods and intensive collaboration with the client Maersk and meter manufacturer Emerson, NMi supplied the necessary evidence to obtain the certification of the measuring system.


The conditions involved in bunkering heavy oil create a real challenge for making good measurements. The quotation that ‘it takes more than a good meter to make a good measurement’ certainly applies here. However, good measurements are vital as the volumes and the prices of oil represent huge sums on an annual basis.

Certification of the measuring system has boosted confidence in the bunkering industry.

No laboratory can currently simulate the special conditions of bunkering. The specialists from NMi therefore conducted tests on site. Every minute that a ship is in port counts, so very limited time was available. Over a period of several months, including nights and weekends, every opportunity was taken to perform the necessary testing. The ultimate result was the groundbreaking certification of the bunkering measuring system.


Having obtained the certification, NMi’s verification staff are checking the accuracy of the measurements during use based on random samples. In order to do this, they travel to all the major ports in the world, including Durban, Singapore and Rotterdam, where they conduct a re-verification fast and efficiently as soon as a ship docks. This guarantees the accuracy and independence of the measurements.