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"BRUTAL but honest" is the slogan on the current mug – and that's the kind you drink out of – in the specially designed series of promotion mugs by consultancy company Marine Professionals and we cannot but applaud the sentiment.

Marine Professionals' Captain John David was in the hot spot at the Insurance Institute of London seminar at Lloyd's last month to put the fear of God into underwriters over the dangers of catalyst fines to engines.

By the nervous looks, he succeeded in his endeavours although there are few cases so far. Underwriters were afraid, or very afraid, about possible claims in the future, notably as a result of expensive engine damage.

Most vulnerable vessels were considered to be those burning low sulphur fuels, working in and out of emission control areas, with hard worked, small crews doing quick port turnarounds. Does any of this sound familiar?

Captain John's crystal ball revealed more bad fuel problems, more cat fines and crewing issues, including crew negligence concerns if they fail to deal with the problem. Bunker fuel testing, and good crew training are just two remedies.

As the industry combats the "hidden menace in ships' engines" you have been warned.

Insurance and legal vacancies are handled at Spinnaker by our Professional Services Division: [email protected]

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