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The tanker Tuvaq held 16 million litres of diesel and jet fuel, which was never unloaded in Iqaluit due to quality problems. A high level of sulphur in the diesel, and problems with the electrical conductivity of the jet fuel, were spotted in testing. The fuel has been returned to Shell Canada, which will cover all shipping and fuel costs. Another fuel shipment will arrive in about two weeks, and no problems are expected as a result of the delay.

Fuel returned to Shell

Daniel T'seleie
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (July 04/05) - A tanker arrived in Iqaluit on June 28 with 16 million litres of fuel, but is going back home without having unloaded its cargo.

The first fuel shipment of the year in Iqaluit from Shell was rejected after a June 29 test found a high level of sulphur in the diesel, and issues with the electrical conductivity of the jet fuel the tanker Tuvaq was carrying. It was a "precautionary measure," said Community and Government Services deputy minister, Tom Rich.

Neither type of fuel met customer specifications, said Shell Canada's manager of public affairs, Louis-Philippe Gariepy.

"This is just a question of quality testing," Gariepy said.

He could not say whether the fuel was off specification before leaving Montreal or was altered during transport. Neither problem could be rectified in Iqaluit, Gariepy said.

Shell Canada is pleased to see the system of testing twice, once before departing Montreal and once before unloading in Iqaluit, caught the problem, he said.

Technical data on sulphur levels or electrical conductivity at the time of departure could not be gathered from Shell Canada by press time. As Rich understands it, high sulphur levels are an environmental concern and electrical conductivity relates to, "what it takes to ignite the fumes."

There will be no shortages as a result of the returned shipment, which was destined only for Iqaluit, Rich said. He expects another shipment of fuel to arrive in Iqaluit in about two weeks.

Shell Canada is covering all shipping and fuel costs, Rich said.