The process of refueling a ship is known as bunkering.
When we take out our car for a spin we always check the fuel oil levels in the information display panel. If the petrol levels are low, we take it to the nearest petrol pump. Analogous to which is the process of bunkering, the crucial difference being that here the supply vessel comes to the vessel which is taking bunkering.
Just like how it is advisable to ensure zero reading at petrol pumps before refueling, there are a lot of things to check while taking a bunker to avoid fraud. All the required details will be covered in this article.
What can be considered as a bunker?
If any kind of oil is taken onboard which is intended to be used for operational purposes then it can be considered as a bunker. Broadly we encounter 2 types of bunker, lube oil and fuel oil.
[Update] Sulfur capped fuels to be used from 1st January 2020, limit is now 0.50% m/m. Read more about limited SOx emission fuels here.
Things to keep in mind while taking the bunker?
1.) The initial bunker flow in rate should be kept low to ensure that the oil is going to the designated tank.
2.) Keep collecting the oil samples at regular intervals to make sure that the quality of the oil is maintained throughout.
3.) While changing the tanks, a cautious state of mind is very important. The valves should be operated with the utmost care.
4.) Modes of communication between bunkering facility and the ship should be decided and worked out well in advance to avoid any communication gap.
5.) When the bunkering is about to end, communication should be made to the bunkering facility to lower the rate.
6.) Bunker manifold valves should be shut properly after it is confirmed that bunkering is complete.