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Carrying out soundings of cargo hold bilges, fresh water and ballast tanks -Use of bilge high level alarms

Carrying out soundings

No matter whether the vessel is in port or at sea, all spaces which have a bilge sounding pipe (as per ships drawings) shall be sounded at least once a day, except during heavy weather where master finds it is unsafe to access certain locations.

The Chief Officer and the Chief Engineer (for Engine room) shall designate crew to carry out sounding of bilges and tanks.

The following standards to be complied:


(Hold, Engine Room, Cofferdam, Void space, Chain Locker, Emergency Fire Pump Room, Bow Thruster Room, etc.) When the Bilge High Level Alarm activated (where equipped), take soundings of the space immediately and keep monitoring. Any abnormal soundings are to be investigated and reported to the office.

Fresh Water Tanks

No matter whether the vessel is in port or at sea, all fresh water tanks are to be measured and monitored for consumptions at least once a day. Any abnormal findings are to be investigated and reported to the office.

Ballast Water Tanks

No matter whether the vessel is in port or at sea, sound at least a day from the sounding pipe or measure by the remote level gauge. If remote level gauges are used for the daily soundings, these shall be periodically verified for accuracy by comparing manual soundings with gauge soundings. Sounding pipes on exposed decks may not be sounded when unsafe to do so as in heavy weather. Any abnormal soundings are to be investigated and reported to the office.

Record of soundings

Sounding Note of Bilge and Tanks: The Chief Officer shall prepare the Record Book for 'Sounding of Bilge and Tanks' and shall have crew enter the result of soundings, check it every day and affix his signature. If sounding is not taken for any reason such as heavy weather, proper log entry must be made stating the reason in the Record Book.

Record of Engine Room Bilge: The Chief Engineer shall have crew enter the result of soundings of engine room bilge into the M-zero Check List (or Sounding Note of Engine Room Bilge) check it every day, and affix his signature.

Inspection of bilge high level alarm

The Chief Officer shall test the operation of Bilge High Level Alarm Systems in Cargo Holds every 3 months, and records the results. The Chief Engineer shall test the operation of Engine Room Bilge High Level Alarm System every month, and record the results.

Note: For the Bilge management, including testing of Bilge High Alarm Systems in Pump Room onboard Tankers are to be followed.

Action in abnormal conditions

When the Chief Officer and Chief Engineer find the following abnormal conditions, he shall notify the Master, examine the cause and take measures immediately:

Abnormal increase of bilge (Confirm whether Sea water or Fresh water)

Abnormal change of tank level

Existence of Oil in the Bilge water or Ballast water

Malfunction of Bilge High Level Alarm System

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