What is the Safe Bunkering Procedure?

Bunkering is one such process on ships and has been the cause of several accidents in the past. Ship Bunkering meaning includes fuel oil, sludge, diesel oil, also cargo, etc. Refilling fuel and diesel oil requires extreme care and vigilance to prevent all kinds of fire accidents and also oil spills.

This article details the process of Bunkering meaning on ships and the important points to consider when bunkering.

What Does The Word “Bunker” Mean?

The word “bunker” is often used in defence forces to mean an area for storing and also securing personnel and supplies (fuel, ammunition, food, etc). It comes from the Scots word ‘bank’ meaning reserved seat or bench.

In the shipping industry, the term “bunker” refers to fuel and lubricants stored on board a ship and also used exclusively for engine operation. If a ship transports marine fuel or lubricating oil and discharges it to another port, it is not called a “bunker.” The process of transferring it to another ship by boat or truck or using it in machinery is called ” Bunkering meaning,” and the work performed for that purpose is called “bunkering.

“Therefore, marine bunkering meaning fuel or bunker oil is marine fuel/lubricating oil that is transported in separate storage tanks, commonly known as bunker tanks, for consumption in marine engines.

Types of Bunker Fuel

When a ship receives any type of oil for use in its engines, it is called bunker fuel or bunker oil. The following are the different types of bunkers delivered on commercial or passenger vessels: 

  1. Heavy Oil Bunker 
  2. Diesel Oil Bunker 
  3. Marine Light Oil Bunker
  4. Lubricating Oil Bunker 
  5. LNG Fuel Bunker 

Vessel Acceptance Options Fuel Bunker 

Cargo ships can be supplied in a variety of ways. The mode or method may vary depending on the quality or type of fuel being delivered to the vessel. There are many different types of bunker systems that provide the marine fuel and lubricants needed by ships. Small barges or vessels loaded with bunker fuel can be used to transport marine fuel oil (such as heavy oil) to ships. Small amounts of oil, such as lubricating oil, MGO, and LNG, can be delivered to ships by truck.

Bunkering Process Sequence 

The bunkering process on a ship can be divided into three important stages.

1. Preparation

Preparation for the bunkering process. This includes the provision of bunkering equipment, storage tanks, and also bunkering security.

2. Execution

Perform bunkering operations in real-time according to pre-established procedures and also receive fuel for the vessel according to the bunkering plan.

3. Summary

Complete bunkering operations with maximum safety and ensure correct quantity and also quality. When bunker fuel is received on board from a bunkering facility (such as a bunker ship or land vehicle) 

Before Bunkering Operations 

1. The chief engineer must determine which bunker oil tanks need to be filled after receipt. You need to calculate and also check. Confirmation from the shore office regarding the amount of fuel that will be accepted.

2. You may need to drain several tanks and transfer oil from one tank to another. This is necessary to prevent mixing of the two oils and to prevent incompatibilities between the old and also new oils.

3. Bearings from other fuel storage tanks (not used for refuelling operations) must also be used to maintain a record of the fuel already on board. This will help the ship’s officer in case a valve leaks and bunker oil is transferred to an unnecessary tank.

4. A meeting should be held between members involved in the refuelling process .

5. Soundings will be conducted and records made prior to bunkering 

6. The checklist must be filled out completely.

7. All drains and all bathtubs on deck are locked.

8. There is an overflow tank in the engine room, which is connected to the bunker tank and bunker pipe. Ensure that the overflow tank remains empty to drain excess fuel from the bunker tank 

9. Adequate lighting should be provided at bunkers and sounding points 

10. No smoking signs must be posted near bunker stations.

11. Shipboard communications, signs and signals for termination between those involved in refuelling operations must be understood by all crew members involved in the operation.

During The Bunkering Process 

1. During bunker firing, the pumping speed remains low. This is done to ensure that oil is being delivered to the tank with the valve open.

2. Ship personnel shall monitor the orientation of selected bunker tanks and other tanks not involved in the operation to ensure that oil reaches only the selected tanks.

3. After confirming that the oil is in the correct tank, the pump speed will be increased as agreed in advance 

4. Generally, it is recommended to fill only one tank since measuring multiple tanks at the same time increases the possibility of overflow.

5. The maximum allowable level for a tank is 90%, and when a tank level reaches near the maximum level, the barge is instructed to pump at a lower pump speed to fill the tank, and then the valve on the other tank is It will be opened.

6. A tone will play periodically while bunkering, and the frequency of the tone will increase as the tank gets closer to full. Many ships have a fuel gauge in the control room that shows the level in the tank. However, you can only rely on this if the system is working properly.

7. Bunker oil temperature should also be checked.

Post Bunker Filling Steps

1. Once the bunker is complete, it is common practice to blow out the bunker supply line with air to remove any oil trapped within the piping. At this time, make sure all dip tube caps are closed and be careful of storage tank vents that have reached their maximum limits.

2. Do not open the bunker supply line between the bunker vessel and the intake manifold. In the event of a discrepancy, the supplier may agree to cover the shortfall and restart the bunker operations.

3. The ship’s draft and trim are checked.

4. All tanks filled with bunkers are investigated.

5. Bunker volume needs to be modified. Trim, heel and temperature modifications 

6. Generally, density must decrease by 0.64 kg/m3 for each degree increase in temperature.

7. Four samples are taken during bunkering. One is kept on board, one for the bunker ship or barge, one for analysis and one for the port state or IMO 

8. The chief engineer signs the bunker receipt (BDN), and the number of bunkers received 

9. If the received bunkering meaning is defective, the Chief Engineer may issue a memorandum of protest to the barge/supplier (if the defect has not been agreed with the bunker supplier) 

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