Bunkering is one process on ship which has been the reason for several accidents in the past. Bunkering on ship can be of fuel oil, sludge, diesel oil, cargo etc. Bunkering of fuel or diesel oil requires utmost care and alertness to prevent any kind of fire accident or oil spill.
In this article we will learn about the bunkering procedure on a ship and what are the important points that are to be taken into consideration while bunkering.
1. The chief engineer should calculate and check which bunker/fuel oil tanks are to be filled after he receives confirmation from the shore office about the amount of fuel to be received.
2. It might be required to empty some tanks and transfer the oil from one tank to other. This is required so as to prevent mixing of two oils and prevent incompatibility between the previous oil and the new oil.
3. A meeting should be held between the members that will take part in the bunkering process and they should be explained about the following:-
- Which tanks are to be filled.
- Sequence order of tanks to be filled.
- How much bunker is to be taken.
- Emergency procedure in case oil spill occurs.
- Responsibilities of each officer are explained.
4. Sounding is taken before bunkering and record is made.
5. A checklist is to be filled so that nothing is missed on.
6. All deck scuppers and save all trays are plugged.
7. Overflow tank is checked to be empty.
8. Adequate lighting at bunker and sounding position is to be provided.
9. No smoking notice should be positioned.
10. On board communication between the people involved in bunkering is made.
11. Red flag/light is presented on masthead.
12. Opposite side bunker manifold valves are closed and blanked properly.
13. Vessel draught and trim is recorded before bunkering.
14. All equipments in SOPEP(shipboard oil pollution emergency plan) locker are checked to be in place.
15. When barge is secured to the ship side, the persons involved on barge are also explained about the bunker plan.
16. Barge paperwork is checked for the oil’s grade and the density if they are as per the specification.
17. The pumping rate of bunker is agreed with the barge.
18. The hose is then connected to the manifold.
19. All the valves required are open and checked.
20. Proper communication between the barge and the ship is to be established.
21. Sign and signals are to be followed as discussed in case of communication during emergency.
22. After this, the manifold valve is open for bunkering.
1. During start of the bunker the pumping rate is kept low, this is done so as to check that the oil is coming to the tank to which the valve is opened.
2. After confirming the oil is coming to the proper tank the pumping rate is increased as agreed before.
3. Generally only one tank filling is preferred because gauging of more than one tank at a time increases the chances of overflow.
4. The max allowable to which tank is filled is 90 % and when the tank level reaches about to maximum level the barge is told to pump at low pumping rate so as to top up the tank, and then the valve of other tank is opened.
5. During bunkering, sounding is taken regularly and the frequency of sounding is more when the tank is near to full. Many vessels have tank gauges which show tank level in control room but this is only to be relied if the system is working properly.
6. The temperature of bunker is also to be checked; generally the barge or supplier will provide the bunker temperature. Temperature above this may lead to shortfall in bunker.
7. A continuous sample is taken during bunkering with the help of sampling cock at the manifold.
1. Draught and trim of the ship is checked.
2. Take sounding of all the tanks bunkered.
3. The volume bunkered should be corrected for trim, heel and temperature correction.
4. In general for each degree of increase in temperature the density should be reduced by 0.64 kg/m3.
5. Four samples are taken during bunkering. One is kept onboard, one for barge, one for analysis, one for port state or IMO. One sample is given to barge.
6. The chief engineer will sign the bunker receipt and the amount of bunker received.
7. If there is any shortfall of bunker received the chief engineer can issue a note of protest against the barge/supplier.
8. After everything is settled the hose connection is removed.
9. The sample is sent for laboratory analysis.
10. The new bunker should not be used until the report from the lab.