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Bunkering Operation on ships

Bunkering Operation on ships


  • 1.Bunkers are not to be mixed. If required internal transfer of bunker is to be carried out to ensure bunkers are taken only in empty tanks.
  • 2.No tank should be filled to over 98% of its capacity
  • 3.The vessel, at any time, should have at least four days of sea consumption of both H.O. and D.O. excluding the un-pump able quantities in the bunker tanks
  • 4.Office / Charterer should also be requested for a complete F.O. analysis report before supply of bunkers, each time a request for bunker is made.
  • 5.When assigning tanks where replenished oil will be taken, avoid mixing bunkers from previous supply. Decide the sequence of bunkering of individual tanks according to the tank conditions. However in principle, sequence should be from Diesel Oil to Fuel Oil and so planned that bunkering is done from farthest to closest tank.
  • 6.Fourth Engineer shall prepare a bunker plan. Plan will be based on assumptions by estimating the oil temperature, seawater temperature, air temperature, specific gravity and other properties of Fuel Oil and Diesel Oil from actual past records, etc. At the time of actual bunkering, these shall be re-calculated according to prevailing circumstances.
  • 7.Chief Engineer must check the bunker plan drawn up by Second Engineer and approve the plan.
  • 1.Chief Engineer is the person in charge of bunkering operations or “PIC” He shall ensure that each bunkering team personnel is explained his duties, operations procedure and how to deal with emergencies.
  • 2.Explain the bunkering work plan to entire crew and ensure that they have a thorough understanding of it. The importance of filling bunker checklist CL 142 should be emphasized.
  • 3.In most cases, bunkering is done simultaneously with cargo work, maintenance and other work. However, regardless of other work, necessary crew must be stationed as required in the oil transfer procedures
  • 1.Have necessary amount of fuel transferred to Fuel Oil settling tank.
  • 2.Stop and lock Fuel Oil transfer pump manually to prevent pump starting automatically.
  • 3.Sound all tanks again and enter the actual quantities in the bunker plan.
  • 4.Seal all deck scuppers with scupper plugs properly and double check for tight fitting. The duty officer and engineers should double check the scupper plugs after fitting. The scupper drain surface should be wire brushed internally or lightly with a jet chisel if the landing surface is found to be uneven and not satisfactory. Ensure that all save-all coamings around oil tank air pipes are plugged with steel plugs. Confirm that air vents of all oil tanks being bunkered are open.
  • 5.Prepare the following tools, diagrams and equipment at the prescribed locations.
i)Valve Remote Control Console (If fitted on board)
a)“Bunker Plan
c)“Bunkering Check lists 
d)Sounding and Ullage tables
e)Specific gravity/ volume conversion tables, calculator, watch, stationery, etc.
ii)At Bunker Stations
a)“Bunker Plan
c)“Bunkering Check list
d)Description of Transfer System
e)Fire extinguishers
f)Sawdust, spill dispersant, rags, oil absorbent, spill collecting bucket and drum
g)Tools (spanners, chain block, etc.) and sounding tape
h)Transceiver, telephone (transceiver also at tank sounding station)
i)Lighting equipment
j)Thermometer and pressure gauge
l)Jacob’s Ladder
A set of transceivers to enable continuous two-way voice communication between ships
Bunker station and oil barge should be prepared by the ship or oil barge.
  • 6.Carry out function test of all bunker line valves to check that these are opening and shutting properly. Spill cases are on record, when during topping up the tank valve could not be shut fully resulting in an overflow. Set the pipeline for bunkering and properly shut off all other valves on lines other than the bunkering tanks’ line connected to the main bunkering line.
  • 7.Confirm accuracy of the remote tank level gauges if so equipped.
  • 8.Conduct an operation test of tank high-level alarms, indicating lamps, etc. on the remote valve control console (if fitted), to ensure that they are all working properly.
  • 1.Carry out mooring operations of oil barge alongside the ship and confirm safe berthing, if bunkering from a barge.

  • 2.Display “B” flag or Red light. Announce strict observance of “NO SMOKING” on deck (especially on vessels other than tankers).
  • 3.Receive Fuel Oil specifications, etc. from responsible person of oil supplier (hereinafter termed as “supplier”), check quantities and specifications of oil to be supplied, oil temperature, pumping capacity, method of checking quantity of oil pumped (by sounding, flow meter, etc.), and enter necessary details in the bunker plan. Agree on the sampling requirements and methods.
  • 4.Sign necessary pre-operation documents and checklist, confirm the items requiring mutual checks and complete all paperwork.

  • 5.Attend witnessing of tanks’ soundings of the oil barge or reading of the flow meter, report to PIC and record them.
  • 6.Calculate and enter the necessary data in the bunker plan and complete it. Report to PIC and receive approval to start replenishment.
  • 7.Check proper connecting of bunker hose to the manifold at bunker station.
  • 1.Instruct supplier to start transferring oil at slow rate, after receiving instructions from PIC.
  • 2.Inspect the complete bunker line (including the opposite side of the ship). Check for any leaks and abnormalities and report to PIC.
  • 3.Take periodic soundings of the tanks being bunkered, once every 15 minutes. Keep the ship upright as much as possible. Calculate the oil quantity tank tables after applying appropriate trim/ list corrections to confirm that oil is received at agreed rate and there is no abnormality.
  • 4.In Case of Abnormal Occurrences/ Emergencies
i)The PIC shall have the oil pumping stopped immediately.
ii)Appropriate emergency measures shall be taken and Master informed immediately.
iii)Check the cause of abnormality. After taking corrective action, resume the oil supply after thorough checking by Chief Engineer. Any subsequent abnormalities shall also be dealt with in the same manner.
iv)When an oil spill is detected overboard or feared to have taken place, report immediately to Chief Engineer (PIC). Deal with the spill according “Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan”
  • 5.After checking that there are no abnormalities, oil is flowing in the intended tank and that oil is not flowing into any other tank/ lines, instruct the supplier to gradually increase the pumping rate.
  • 6.PIC must know the pumping rate and when to switch over to next tank.
  • 7.When a number of tanks are being filled simultaneously, utmost effort must be made to fill the tanks evenly by regulating the tank inlet valves' openings as needed. Check of fluid levels must be continuously made.
  • 8.When bunkering is completed, Chief Engineer shall cross check the quantity of oil supplied by checking barge ROB or dry tanks inspection. After carrying out air purge, compare barge’s supplied quantity with ship’s received quantity (tanks should be sounded after air bubbles have subsided). If there is no difference, consider the oil supplies to be completed.
  • 9.Chief Engineer after receiving above report and confirming no problems shall sign the delivery note, receipt and other documents. However, if there is a shortage in quantity received, he shall advise the supplier of the fact and after discussions have the supply resumed. If supplier refuses to supply more oil, a letter of protest shall be made and given to supplier and his acknowledgement received.
  • 1.Receive the bunkered oil sample from supplier. Ship must also collect sample by bleeding drop by drop from sampling valve on bunkering line. Samples must be retained for at least six months after consumption.
  • 2.After completion of bunkering, inform Duty Officer. Disconnect the hose and cast off the barge moorings, once they are ready to leave.
  • 3.Put away the various tools, equipment. Discontinue display of “B” flag and red light.
  • 4.Ship’s bunker lines and fuel oil lines may be restored to their normal state as needed, at an appropriate time, taking departure time into consideration.
  • 5.Prepare the record of final quantity of oil received, tanks’ condition, etc. and submit to the Duty Officer.
  • 6.Put away all deck scupper’s plugs, cement or wooden stoppers, etc.
  • 1.When receiving bunkers from shore, read the word “barge” in this procedure as “shore”, “shore facilities”, etc.
  • 1.On vessels having a common single line for receiving diesel oil and fuel oil bunkers, ensure that tanks are not filled over 90% capacity. Usually diesel oil bunkers will be taken first. If for any justifiable reason an air blow has to be taken to clear the bunker line, it should be blown into the fuel oil tank.
  • 2.NO AIR BLOW TO BE CARRIED OUT INTO DIESEL OIL TANKS, due to their small capacities. As diesel oil and fuel oil bunker line on deck (from midship to break of accommodation) is usually same, this line could easily be drained into the fuel oil tank, which has a much larger capacity.
  • 3.Air blow procedure as stated below should be incorporated in the Bunkering Operations Plan and all Engine Room staff should be well acquainted with it.
  • 4.One lookout to be posted at all times during the bunkering operation at the vent pipes of the bunker tanks.
  • 5.The maximum bunkering rate for diesel oil should not exceed 50 m3/hr and further reduced while topping up.
  • 6.Procedure for the air blow (if taken or requested by vessel)
a)Air pressure to be no more than 3 Kg/cm2 at any given time.
b)C/E to monitor this pressure at the manifold at all times.
c)Before commencement of air blow, the manifold and bunker tank v/v to be fully shut. Thereafter the bunker tank v/v to beopened two turns, and the shore asked to open the air very slowly. Once the pressure reaches 3 Kg/cm2, the manifold v/v is tobe opened 3 turns. At no point should the air pressure be allowed to build up to more than 3 Kg/cm2.
d)The line should be blown in this fashion for 3 mins, which would be sufficient to drain substantial part of the line, after whichthe next grade can be started or the hose can be safely disconnected without any bunker spilling into the drip tray.
Bunker sampling is an important operation & if sampling is not carried out according to accepted procedures a true representative sample of fuel bunkered will not be available for analysis. No claims on fuel quality can be successfully defended in case of a dispute.
The following procedure may be adopted as a guideline for proper sampling:
1.Fit 5 Litre container to the Ship’s manifold for collecting sample. Ensure container is clean and dry.
2.Soon after bunkering commences start sampling. Drain about 4~5 litres of oil before you start collecting sample.
3.Adjust flow into sampling container so as to collect about 3-4 ltrs during the entire bunkering time.
4.Thoroughly agitate sample by shaking the container for at least one minute.
5.Fill up three 1 Lt. Sample bottles taking care to ensure that the bottles are partially filled in turn, taking 3 or 4 passes to complete the filling process. This ensures that there is a better uniformity among the samples being distributed.
6.Close & seal all bottles with numbered tamper - evident seals. To be done by Chief Engineer in his presence.
7.Label all bottles after filling up all details. Record seal numbers.
8.Hand over one sample to supplier and accept acknowledgment for the same.
9.Keep one bottle on board & retain the sample on board until the fuel is consumed, but in any case for a period of not less than 12 months. (Marpol Annex VI, Regn 18)
10.Dispatch one bottle to the testing lab as per company instructions.
11.Inform Company of same.
The bunkered fuel oil is not be used until the sample analysis report is received and found in order. Special precautions are to be taken as instructed by the analyzing laboratory and the company. Once the analysis report is received the new fuel is to be used to confirm fuel is on spec and good operation of all equipment and machinery. This should be done only in the open sea, not in restricted waters and before the previous fuel is exhausted. This ensures that in case any problems are faced with the new fuel the old fuel is still available for use which will avoid stoppages and resulting off hire that is inevitable if the previous stock of bunker is fully consumed before using the new bunker

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