UK P&I Warns Vessel Operators to Check Tank Integrity Prior to Bunkering

Monday August 21, 2017

UK P&I Club (UK P&I) has reminded members to check the integrity of fuel tanks prior to receiving bunkers, particularly on newbuild vessels.

"The first voyage of a vessel after delivery from the builders is critical and very often the time when shipyard deficiencies are discovered, sometimes with serious consequences," warned UK P&I.

"Prior to taking delivery from builders, the water/oil tight integrity of tanks must be tested and confirmed by Owners representatives."

The warning comes following an incident involving a newbuild cargo vessel that was bunkered with 500 metric tonnes (mt) of HFO into no.'s 2 port and starboard fuel oil side tanks before it was found that approximately 60 mt of that fuel oil had leaked into the no.3 cargo hold ladder trunk.

The situation was discovered when the Chief Engineer noticed the level of no.2 port fuel oil tank was falling from observation of the remote gauging system.

Further investigation revealed that the oil was leaking from an inadequately secured tank access cover, resulting in approximately 200 mt of contaminated cargo, which then had to be segregated and packed in bags before being discharged.

"The failure to ensure that bunker and ballast tank access lids in way of the cargo hold boundaries are tight before commencement of the voyage may render the vessel unseaworthy. In the event of a claim, the Owners ability to rely on customary Hague Visby Rule rights and immunities will be prejudiced," said UK P&I.