Aegean Marine Petroleum Network expects to attract passing ships with a new operation offering bunkers at anchorage in South Africa's Algoa Bay, making it the first company able to offer fuels outside port limits (OPL) in the country.
The company has secured permission from the South African Maritime Safety Authority to deliver bunkers and perform ship-to-ship transfers in Algoa Bay, an area that includes two ports, Port Elizabeth and Coega.
Aegean has also obtained bunkering licenses from Transnet National Ports Authority in Port Elizabeth and Coega Ports, according to its latest quarterly company news magazine.
The company said South Africa "is ideally positioned within the East–West shipping routes" which currently offer few bunker supply alternatives.
Algoa Bay allows more than 50 ships to be anchored at the same time. Some 30 miles away from shore, the water depth reaches about 100 meters, and access from the high seas is easy wide open with almost no deviation for ships passing South Africa, Aegean said.
In addition to offering passing ships a new bunkering stop with minimal deviation, it also cuts out port expenses, which can be significant.
Aegean has established a local private company, Aegean Bunkering Marine Services Pty Ltd with a 26% share allocated to a South African partner to look after Aegean's business in the country.
Aegean said it will offer the possibility to supply ships with RMG 380 -- a 380 CST fuel oil grade, and marine gasoil (MGO). That will make Aegean's offering different from the oil majors that have a supply monopoly in South Africa's key bunkering ports -- Durban, Cape Town and Richards Bay -- where typically the only fuel oil grade offered to the market is RMF180, a 180 CST fuel oil grade.