Tourism is the main economic force in the Caribbean, where sunny beaches meet white sands. However, fuel bunkering plays a crucial role behind this tropical facade, often overlooked.

This is the process of supplying fuel to ships for propulsion and onboard operations, and it is fundamental to maritime tourism in the Caribbean. The region’s strategic location along major shipping routes makes it a vital hub for bunkering services, facilitating the smooth operation of cruise ships, yachts, and other vessels that traverse its waters.

The importance of fuel bunkering for Caribbean tourism

According to the Caribbean Maritime Institute, fuel bunkering accounts for a significant portion of maritime activities in the region, with ports like Puerto Rico, Aruba, and the Bahamas emerging as key bunkering centers.

Cruise tourism is a cornerstone of Caribbean travel, attracting millions of visitors each year to its sun-drenched shores. The Caribbean Tourism Organization reports that the region hosts over 30% of global cruise tourism, with an estimated 30 million passengers embarking on Caribbean voyages annually.

Fuel bunkering plays a pivotal role in sustaining this bustling industry, ensuring that cruise ships have the necessary fuel reserves to power their propulsion systems and onboard amenities throughout their journeys.

Yachting represents another lucrative segment of Caribbean tourism, catering to affluent travelers seeking luxury experiences amidst the region’s stunning landscapes. The SuperYacht Times highlights the Caribbean as a premier destination for yacht charters, with its crystal-clear waters and secluded anchorages attracting yacht enthusiasts from around the world.

Fuel bunkering for yachts in Puerto Rico

Fuel bunkering facilities at marinas and ports enable yachts to replenish their fuel supplies, facilitating extended voyages and exploration of remote island destinations.

Royal Petroleum, a subsidiary of American Petroleum, is a leader in fuel exports and bunkering services in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean with over 25 years of experience. It provides marketing and supply services to cruise ships, yachts, and other vessels operating in Puerto Rico and neighboring islands within the Caribbean.

Accessibility and affordability

The availability of fuel bunkering services in the Caribbean not only ensures the operational efficiency of maritime tourism but also contributes to the accessibility and affordability of travel within the region.

By providing a reliable supply of fuel at competitive prices, bunkering facilities help mitigate operating costs for cruise lines and yacht operators, enabling them to offer attractive travel packages and itineraries to travelers of varying budgets.

Royal Petroleum can offer tax-exempt fuels for export and maintains strong relationships with key stakeholders in the island’s ports, including marinas, power plants, and industrial markets. Furthermore, given the nature of the export and marine industries, the company is dedicated to full compliance with Puerto Rican and international regulations.

Environmental considerations

While fuel bunkering plays a crucial role in sustaining Caribbean tourism, it is not without its challenges, particularly concerning environmental sustainability. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) emphasizes the need for cleaner and more efficient maritime fuels to reduce emissions and minimize the ecological impact of maritime activities in the Caribbean.

Initiatives such as the IMO’s Sulphur 2020 regulation aim to limit sulphur emissions from maritime fuels, promoting the adoption of cleaner alternatives like low-sulphur diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in bunkering operations.

Royal Petroleum’s primary product is Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD), a cornerstone of their commitment to environmental stewardship. By offering ULSD, they not only prioritize environmental sustainability but also contribute to cleaner air quality and the protection of delicate ecosystems in Puerto Rico and the wider Caribbean region.

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel for Businesses in Puerto Rico

Geopolitical stability and security

Furthermore, geopolitical stability and security are crucial considerations for fuel bunkering operations in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Council highlights the importance of political stability and regulatory transparency in fostering a conducive business environment for bunkering operators and attracting investment in the region’s energy infrastructure.

Enhanced cooperation between Caribbean nations and international stakeholders is essential to address security concerns and safeguard the uninterrupted flow of fuel supplies to support tourism and economic development in the region.

Royal Petroleum’s distribution efforts are supervised and certified by various federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, United States Coast Guard, and United States Customs, among others. Their delivery personnel meet all port requirements, including the Port Association Permit and TWIC required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act.

Additionally, its experienced team prioritizes safety as the top priority, successfully passing USCG audits and completing annual safety trainings.


In conclusion, fuel bunkering stands as a vital yet often overlooked component within the vibrant tapestry of Caribbean tourism.

Facilitating the seamless operation of maritime vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, fuel bunkering ensures the uninterrupted flow of travelers to the region’s sun-soaked shores. With ports like Puerto Rico, Aruba, and the Bahamas emerging as pivotal bunkering hubs, the Caribbean solidifies its position as a cornerstone of global maritime activities.

As Royal Petroleum leads the way with its extensive experience and commitment to compliance and environmental sustainability, the future of Caribbean tourism remains buoyed by the reliability and efficiency of fuel bunkering services.