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Matters to be entered in oil record book for machinery space operation

Oil Record Book – The document required to be carried on board ships by MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, reg. 20. Every oil tanker of 150 gross tonnage and above and every ship of 400 gross tonnage and above, other than oil tanker, shall be provided with an Oil Record Book, Part I (Machinery space operations). Every oil tanker of 150 gross tonnage and above shall also be provided with an Oil Record Book, Part II (Cargo/ballast operations).

The Oil Record Book Part I shall be completed on each occasion, on a tank-to-tank basis if appropriate, whenever any of the following machinery space operations takes place in the ship:

1) Ballasting or cleaning of Fuel oil tanks

2) Discharge of dirty ballast or cleaning water from Fuel oil tanks

3) Collection and disposal of Oil residues (Sludge and other Oil residues)

4) Non-automatic discharge overboard or disposal otherwise of Bilge water in the machinery space

5) Automatic discharge overboard or disposal otherwise of Bilge water in the machinery spaces

6) Condition of the Oil Filtering Equipment

7) Accidental or other Exceptional discharges of Oil

8) Bunkering of Fuel and Bulk Lubricating Oil

9) Additional operational procedures and general remarks

Each operation described above shall be fully recorded without delay in the Oil Record Book Part I, so that all entries in the book appropriate to that operation are completed.

Entries in the Oil Record Book are to be made in accordance with Regulation 17 of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78, as demonstrated in Appendix III of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78, Form of Oil Record Book, OIL RECORD BOOK PART I Machinery space operations, (All ships)

When making entries in the Oil Record Book, the date, operational code and item number shall be written in the appropriate columns and the required particulars shall be recorded chronologically in the blank spaces.

Each completed operation shall be signed for and dated by the officer in- Charge (As per section 3.0). Each completed page shall be signed by the master of the ship.

The Oil Record Book contains many references to oil quantity.

The limited accuracy of tank measurement devices, temperature variations and list and trim will affect the accuracy of these readings. The entries in the oil record book should be considered accordingly.


Arrangement Plan of Fuel Oil and Bilge Tanks

Entry (in the Oil Record Book preface) of the arrangement plan and capacity of each Fuel Oil Tanks and Bilge or Sludge Handling Tanks shall match exactly that mentioned in the IOPP Certificate Supplement Form B.


Distinguishing between Bilge and Sludge

Although distinguishing between Bilge and Sludge is difficult for onboard handling, a Shift to / from and Discharge from the Bilge tank shall be treated as Bilge handling. A shift to / from other Sludge tank, and similar tanks which is described in the supplement of IOPP certificate or incineration of the content of these tanks shall be treated as Sludge handling.


Problems with falsified entry in oil record book part 1

US authorities are very particular about matching the amount of sludge incinerated with the amount of oily water generated, be careful to fill in the Oil Record Book neatly making sure that the numbers ‘added up’ so as to avoid fines in USA.



The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) is the US version of MARPOL. It is both a civil and a criminal violation under APPS and domestic US law to intentionally falsify an Oil Record Book. If the entries are intended to hide discharges of oily waste water, for example, by bypassing the oily water separator, the penalties can be very severe.

The vessel operating company can be fined millions of dollars and the individuals involved can be sent to prison. It is also a crime called obstruction of justice to lie to a US Coast Guard inspector. Any intent to hide illegal discharges can be treated as criminal cases.The ORB entry should include any discharge to the reception facility / included the incinerator use .


Guidance for Entries in the ORB Part 1 & Environmental Compliance procedures

  1. Dates should be entered in dd-MONTH-yyyy format, e.g. 12-MAR-2012;


  2. Incineration or landing ashore of oily garbage and used filters should be recorded in the Garbage Record Book only;


  3. All Entries are to be made and signed by the officer or officers in charge of the operations concerned. The Chief Engineer is to review the ORB on a daily basis and verify / countersign each entry. Each completed page shall be verified and signed by the Master of the ship;


  4. There must be no empty lines between successive entries;


  5. If a wrong entry is made in the Oil Record Book (ORB) it should be struck through with a single line in such a way that the wrong entry is still legible. The wrong entry should be signed and dated, with the new corrected entry following;


  6. Tank names and capacities must be recorded exactly as per the entries in the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC). The tanks and capacities in the IOPPC should also be checked to ensure they are correct as per the capacity plan and the actual tanks onboard - there have been a number of observations due to the mistakes made by class in the IOPP supplement.


  7. Although recording of quantities retained in bilge water holding tanks listed under section 3.3 of the IOPPC is voluntary, it is recommended to be recorded within the ORB.


  8. The recording of general maintenance of items relating to the OWS is also voluntary


  9. All MARPOL equipment and spares tagged as “critical” within the PMS are to be kept aligned with the Critical Equipment List and TEC 18 ”Minimum Critical Spares Inventory” approved by the Fleet Superintendent.


  10. It should be noted that USCG and PSC inspectors are now downloading data from the Oil Content Meters (OCM). This data is compared with the entries in the ORB so it is essential that times entered in the ORB are accurate.


  11. All MARPOL / “Magic Pipe” prosecutions in the USA have been successful based on false or inaccurate entries in record books (Oil, Garbage, Ballast & VGP), NOT THE ACTUAL ILLEGAL DISCHARGE.



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