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Ships operation - Tank inspection points and relevant guideline

Ships tanks needed periodic inspection for general integrity, corrosion status as well as the monitoring of the anodes. Tanks under the jurisdiction of the Deck Department shall in principle, be inspected by Chief Officer and those under the jurisdiction of the Engine department, by a responsible Engineer. Additionally inspections may also be carried out by Superintendents or Surveyors for ascertaining condition of tank internals. Checking for Damages / Cracks / Deformations – Adequate lighting in the tanks is necessary for the inspection work and for identifying deformations or surface dents. Shadows are one of the best indicators to highlight any buckling or cracks within the tanks.

containerships operational matters
Oil Tanker Safety Guide

All safety precautions for entry into enclosed spaces shall be taken as per code of safe working safe working procedure and appropriate permit to work system followed prior to entering any tank for inspection purposes. When carrying out tank inspections, the following shall be keenly observed (as applicable) and details of condition / findings recorded.
  1. Condition of tank coating and corrosion levels.

  2. Consumption of anodes fitted inside the tank.

  3. Particulars of any damages observed including dents, buckling, cracks, etc, on plating, strength members and fittings within the tank.

  4. Pitting corrosion and/or blister formation especially in uncoated tanks.

  5. Condition of access arrangements including access hatches, manholes, studs, gaskets, ladders, landing platforms, etc.

  6. Condition of piping arrangements and systems including pipes, valves, hydraulic lines, expansion joints, dresser couplings, etc.

  7. Condition of gauging systems including sounding pipes, striker plates and remote level / temperature / pressure gauges.

  8. Condition of safety devices including gas monitoring systems, bilge alarm systems, high / low level alarms, etc.

  9. Condition of suction / filling bell mouth, openings and plating beneath such openings including plating around and beneath bilge or suction wells.

  10. Mud or sludge accumulation including approximate quantity in cubic meters.

  11. Cargo equipment on tankers and gas carriers including heating coils, crude oil washing machines, cargo pumps, etc.

Inspection Record / Report

On completion of the inspection, all findings shall be recorded in the “Tank Inspection Record” . A copy of the report shall also be sent to the Technical Superintendent in charge via e-mail. Correspondence on any maintenance or repairs carried out subsequent to the tank inspection shall also be attached to the ‘Tank Inspection Record’ for easy reference. A record shall be maintained on board in the form of an index giving quick reference to the status of tank inspections on the vessel.

Recommended Tank inspection intervals

Unified understanding of tank inspection and recording procedures will enable effective monitoring of hull condition and initiate proper maintenance activities where necessary. Tank inspection intervals to be followed on board are as per the vessels Planned Maintenance System. In principle the intervals should be as follows:
  1. Water Ballast Tanks (Tankers & Gas Carriers) : At least once every 12 months
  2. Water Ballast Tanks (Container Ships) : At least once every 12 months
  3. Fresh Water Tanks : At least once every year
  4. Void Spaces / Cofferdam : At least once every year
Contractor’s service report, Repair completion report by Dock yard can be accommodated in Ship’s Inspection Report. Adjacent Cargo tank structures such as Bulk heads, suction wells etc, should be checked from Water ballast tank side. Visual check from Under cross deck and Upper deck, and/or during bilge sounding should be carried out every opportunity. Pressure testing for Heating steam lines for Fuel Oil Tanks, which are penetrated in Cargo Hold of Container Ship should be carried out 30 months interval, if necessary.

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