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Marine Diesel

Over recent months there has been concern expressed about supplies of Marine Diesel, commonly referred to as 'red diesel'. (Note that the two are not always the same thing.) Principal concerns have centred in Scotland over the presence or otherwise of 'bio diesel' in Marine Diesel. These concerns arise because of the knowledge that in certain circumstances use of diesel containing 'biodiesel' in marine engines can lead to growth of bacteria ('the bug') and/or problems with seals etc.

RYA Scotland has been discussing the situation with diesel suppliers to ports and marinas in Scotland over a period of months and have now established that, with a single known exception-see later, all diesel supplied in Scotland to marine outlets conforms to BS ISO 8217, which specifies no biodiesel but up to 1000mg/kg sulphur. Users are advised to ascertain from suppliers what specification applies to their fuel in order to be quite sure that they are receiving fuel to BS ISO 8217. Ports and fishermen outlets are well aware of the differences as are the marinas.

The single exception known to us is at Tobermory where only road diesel with red dye added locally is available. This due to transport costs to Mull. Use of this fuel is unlikely to cause serious problems if it is diluted with Marine Diesel later.

We hope this will allay concerns. The suppliers assure us they will receive good notice of changes in specifications and would convey them to the boating community in good time before the changes were implemented.

Fergus Duncanson
Cruising & General Purposes Committee

Last updated 23 November 2016

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