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Ships bunkering procedure -Measurement of barge & confirmation to Fuel oil supplier

Bunkering may take place offshore, at anchor or alongside. It may be pumped from a road tanker, bunker barge, or another tanker or ship. Whatever the provider, the procedures followed are similar. Bunkering should be considered a high-risk operation, where mistakes can result in pollution, high financial penalties, or even imprisonment.

The operation of cargo ships Bunkering involved many hazards. Many check items should be complied with to ensure a safe working atmosphere. The observance of the following precautions by the crew is the most common practice that should be complied with. Before the commencement of operation, a fuel oil supplier should submit the document to the vessel's chief engineer before loading that mentions at least the viscosity, density, sulfur content, and volume of FO.

containerships operational matters
Oil Tanker Safety Guide
The Supplier should also submit retained samples representing the replenishing FO (which has been signed and sealed by both the vessel side and the Supplier. The local agent should confirm with the fuel oil supplier regarding the movement of the vessel, date and time and place of the Bunkering, fuel oil volume (in metric ton), type of FO, viscosity, density & sulfur content, etc. The local agent should also inform the name of the supplying vessel and the Supplier before arrival at the port.
bunkering in good weather condition

bunkering in good weather condition

Confirmation to Fuel oil supplier before loading

Chief Engineer should receive Bunker Delivery Note from the Supplier (or the captain of the Barge or the witness) and confirm in writing the viscosity, density, Sulphur content, and volume in good order. He also needs to confirm with the Supplier or the local agent whether they have any local requirement to preventing oil pollution from being applied to the vessel.

Measurement of barge before loading

The Chief Engineer should have the engineer in charge attend the meeting on the measurement of the Barge the loading and the necessary matters related to the FO loading work, and shall check the following items strictly:
  1. Confirmation of the volume in the document, and confirmation of the seals on valves and ullage holes.
  2. Check of presence/absence of oil to be loaded to other ships on the Barge.
  3. Tank sounding and water check by water ribbon or the like.
  4. Attendance to the calculation of the FO volume using the tank table of the Barge and the adjustment of FO weight by density and temperature.
  5. Confirmation of the loading order by oil type (DO, FO) and pumping rate (including a slow rate of pumping at the start, finish and while changing over tanks)
  6. Confirmation of communication methods between the vessel and Barge (an audio transmission and receiving method, such as the use of intrinsically safe type transceiver), communication methods in an emergency, and emergency shutdown procedures.

Confirming tank capacities

Tank capacities should be monitored during Bunkering by the use of soundings and or ullages. Sometimes it is easier to use ullages if the bunker tank is large, as this saves time by not having to clean a large section of the sounding tape after each dip. Ullages should always be taken using the ullage pipe and reference to the ullage tables for tank contents used. Never use sounding pipes for ullages unless they have been specifically designed for this, and the relevant ullage tables are used. Failure to use the correct tables for the sounding or ullage may result in a quantity miscalculation, and consequently an oil overflow.

Many ships have remote measuring systems that are safe, accurate, and are class approved. However, the use of these remote systems should not be taken for granted as without regular maintenance and testing, these pieces of equipment may give false readings because of line blockages, air pressure failure, or transmitter/electrical problems. Therefore before Bunkering, the remote readings should be cross-checked with manual soundings. This cross-check may be included in the ship's planned maintenance routines. Smaller ships may have tank gauges fitted directly on the bunker tank. These gauges should be checked and calibrated every docking cycle to ensure that they are fully operational and accurate. They may be in the form of a pressure gauge read-out, or a stainless steel tube containing the bunker fluid with an external sight glass using magnetic indicators as shown in the photographs opposite.

The ship should have certain knowledge as to how full the tanks can be filled safely. It is often normal to fill bunker tanks to 90% capacity. Some tanks may require less due to unusual shape and internal configuration which can cause air locks and pockets.

Confirmation just after Bunkering.
  1. Confirmation of dried-up condition of barge: The Chief Engineer shall have the engineer in charge confirm the dried-up condition of the barge tanks (or the shore tank meter), just after pump stopping.

  2. Confirmation of volume just after Bunkering: After the Bunkering, if a significant difference exists between the vessel side's measurement and that by the Supplier, the Chief Engineer shall prepare and submit a protest letter with the measurement by the vessel side to the shipowner Fuel management office (copy to the Technical Superintendent). Although it depends upon the total refueling volume, for example, about 2% or more to the expected refueling of 1,000 metric tons and about 5% or more to the expected DO refueling volume of 100 metric tons may be a standard. In this case, the volume measured by the vessel side shall be entered against a remarks column on the bunker receipt, and it is desirable to obtain the suppliers signature on the protest letter.

  3. When the following matters besides shortage volume are generated the Chief Engineer should prepare and submit a STATEMENT OF FACT (FREEFORM) to the shipowner and copy to the Technical Superintendent without hesitation: i) when the Barge did not arrive according to time, ii) the correspondence of the crew of the Barge is unjust & iii) additionally, matter thought that Bunkering (Operation) is unjust.

Burning trial

The Chief Engineer shall carry out a burning trial as early as possible after the completion of Bunkering to grasp the qualities of the replenished FO, and shall endeavor to prevent engine troubles caused by the qualities of the FO beforehand. The burning trial shall be carried out according to the following procedures:
  1. When an analysis by the third party is carried out, the burning trial shall be done immediately, talking account of the analysis results.
  2. When an analysis by a third party is carried out, the burning trial shall be carried out at the earliest opportunity.
  3. The burning trial shall be carried out for one or two days, ensuring that FO in the FO settling tanks and service tanks has been replaced.
  4. During the burning trial, great attention shall be given to discharging conditions of sludge and water from purifiers, operational factors such as exhaust temperature, the maximum pressure of the main engine, change of the smoke's color, and so on. Abnormal burning or generation of a large amount of mixed sludge and the like (if any) should be reported immediately to the Technical Superintendent.

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ShipsBusiness.com is merely an informational site about various aspects of ships operation,maintenance procedure, prevention of pollution and many safety guideline. The procedures explained here are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship.

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