18 Essential Precautions To Be Taken During A Bunkering Operation
Bunkering is the process in which fuel oil is filled in a ship. It is very much like filling in petrol or diesel in your car. The way cars have a fuel tank, similarly ships have fuel oil tanks which can store heavy fuel oil. The fuel oil can be taken in during bunkering through shore side installations or small ships called as bunker barges that carry this fuel oil. Singapore is the most important bunkering port. Ships have to carry tons of fuel oil and hence the bunkering procedures have to be very clearly followed to avoid any accidents.
The fourth engineer is normally in charge of bunkering and assisted by a junior engineer.
1) Sawdust is a great absorbent and hence ample amount of sawdust should be kept in sacks on deck so that if any leakage takes place during the bunkering procedure, it can be easily controlled by putting sawdust on it.
2) Proper means of communication with the use of hand held radio sets or other means should be established between the ships crew and the staff at the bunkering installation to avoid misunderstandings.
3) The scuppers should be closed to make sure that no oil goes overboard.
4) Drips trays should be closed off.
5) The bunkering lines should be properly checked and fuel tank valves should be carefully checked before commencing bunkering.
6) Valves not in operation should be effectively sealed off.
7) A sounding of all the ship tanks should be done before starting the bunkering operation.
8) Sounding equipment should be checked properly before the bunkering starts.
9) A marker to indicate the filling up of a particular tank should be used.
10) Port authorities should be immediately contacted in case of a major oil spill.
11) There should be no damage to the hose and it should be of a sufficient length.The couplings should also be checked for any damage.
12) High level alarms of bunker tanks should be properly checked for their functioning.
13) The SOPEP lockers should be checked whether they have sufficient supplies.
14) Oil absorbing apparatus like oil absorbing pads should be kept at important areas to reduce any oil leaks.
15) Make sure the bunkering plans are agreed upon by all officers onboard the ship.
16) Discuss the procedures to be undertaken in case of an emergency with the supplier.
17) A proper system of signals for communication should be established between the shipboard crew and suppliers.
18) Fire extinguishers and other fire fighting apparatus should be readily available.