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General Precautions Confirming Working Area Onboard Oil Tanker

Carrying oil cargo


The onboard work in a oil tanker involved many hazards. Following are the basic check items that crew should take in to account for ensuring safe working area

Confirming Working Area

Before work, the conditions of working area, such as the density of inflammable gas and fire, shall be positively managed, and the work shall be started after necessary safety of the work is confirmed.

Anti-Electrostatic Clothes and Shoes for Ship’s crew:

Only anti-electrostatic clothing and shoes should be worn during work outside of the accommodation. Although, as per the guidelines laid out in ISGOTT, experience over a long period indicates electrostatic discharges caused by clothing and foot wear do not, however, resent a significant hazard in the oil industry and those encountered on tankers.

The tendency for synthetic material to melt and fuse together when exposed to high temperatures leads to a concentrated heat source which causes severe damage to body tissue. Clothing made of such synthetic material is therefore not considered suitable for persons who may in the course of their duties be exposed to flame or hot surfaces.

Permission of Hot Work

Work using fire and other mechanically powered tools shall be carried out as per procedures for Hot Work

Use of Explosion-proof Type Electric Torch equipment:

Only Torches (flash lights) that have been approved by a competent authority for use in flammable atmospheres shall be used onboard Tankers.



Use of Hand Tools

For guidance on the efficient use of Hand tools, refer to the relevant section of the latest ISGOTT publication.

Prior to use of “Non-sparking hand tools”, although they are not recommended to use with the latest ISGOTT, they should be inspected and proved free from any hard substances embedded in the softer non-ferrous material.

Non-spark tools shall be marked with yellow paint.

Prohibition of Carrying Unnecessary Tools

Unnecessary tools shall not be carried on clothing when moving on cargo tanks / decks. Special care should be taken when bending over, while peeping into tanks. While carrying necessary tools into tanks, preventive measures against dropping of tools, such as use of a canvas bag or lowering using rope, shall be taken.

Attention to Shock Sparks by Lighter Metals

Sparks by termite reaction:

When a light metal with iron oxide that exists over the light metal surface is shocked, a violent chemical reaction is produced between the light metal and iron oxide, and generated heat of 3,000 c.

A shock of a tool caused (e.g. by a falling object, or struck by a hammer) made of aluminum or magnesium alloy to rusty part of the hull or other structures can ignite mixed gas with a probability higher than that of a shock of iron to iron, which shall be given much attention.

Aluminum paint shall not be used in open deck areas.

Attention to handling of Aluminum Products:

Aluminum, being softer than steel, tends to leave a trace of the metal (aluminum), if dragged on a harder surface, such as iron or steel plate. Aluminum equipment should not be dragged or rubbed across steel since it may leave a smear which, if subsequently struck by a hammer or falling object, can cause an incendive spark.

The undersides of such ladders, gangways and other such heavy portable aluminum structures, liable to come into contact with harder steel surfaces should be suitably protected with hard plastic or wooden strips.

Tools used for aluminum or similar products shall be made completely free from such traces before the following use.

Attention to light metal shore ladder

Light metal shore ladder shall not be hung directly on rusty portion of iron handrail. Further, refer to ISGOTT for precautions and treatment for Pyrophoric Iron Sulfides

Lashing of Movable Articles

Articles that are likely to generate sparks, such as iron, aluminum or other light metal products, shall be secured or stored in preparation for rolling of the vessel.

Cautions about Ullage Measurement and Sampling

Ullage measurement, sampling, and the like should be carried out by using the standard vapor lock arrangement fitted.
MMC / UTI and their approved attachments / fittings shall be used. At all times, closed sampling methods to be used.

Following care should be taken:

i) When an ullage port is opened, do not inhale outflow gas nor expose the body to emanating gas.

ii) Ensure proper use of the bonding cable to avoid generation of sparks.

iii) Positively close the openings, after completion of gauging / sampling.



Maintenance of Fixed Lighting Units

i) All fixed electrical equipment must be of an approved type in the dangerous area as well as locations where a flammable atmosphere is infrequently expected.

ii) Check the illumination test of all fixed lighting systems, prior to arrival port. Check the “Earth” function test.

iii) The equipment should be properly maintained, so as to ensure, that neither the equipment nor the wiring should become a source of ignition.

iv) Any observed defect light bulbs, light covers or defect/damaged cables must be repaired / replaced prior to port entry.

Do not replace light bulbs outside of the accommodation during cargo oil transfer operations (including Gas freeing).

v) The integrity of the protection afforded by the design of explosion proof or intrinsically safe equipment may be compromised by even the simplest of maintenance procedures, especially in case of “Explosion Proof Lights”, where incorrect closing, after changing of light bulb could cause dangerous situation.



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