Taking bunkers

Fieldsy
11th May 2009, 18:17
About 1978 we were anchored off Jeddah and a barge (actually a small tanker) came alongside for us to take bunkers. I'd dipped all the tanks and we were only actually taking a part load and it was all going in 4 double bottoms - can't remember why but suspect it had something to do with our draught for going alongside.
Kept a check on the tanks and when the barge told us they've delivered our load I reckoned we were still about 600 tons short. A heated discussion developed and the C/E got me to dip the tanks again - still came up 600 short. The barge master insisted we weren't short but agreed to start pumping again - we got our 600 tons and the very disgruntled barge master left in a foul mood.
The next day I dipped all tanks on board - and found two forward double bottoms almost full, when they should have been empty. The best we could figure was that the isolating valve for the forward tanks had been passing (the barge had been pumping at quite a pressure and repeated requests for them to reduce it had fallen on deaf ears.
We now had quite a problem - we were on charter and if anyone came on board to check our fuel situation it would look very suspicious. We spent the next few weeks, after leaving Jeddah, going regularly faster than the 'economical revs' we were meant to be doing, and fiddling the fuel figures to show a much lower level of fuel consumption than was reality.
Eventually, we'd used up the free 600 tons. I think the C/E was asked a few questions when he got home, as the fuel/speed ratio was a little suspect!

On future trips, I kept an eye on all tanks when bunkering - not just the ones I was attempting to fill!

Satanic Mechanic
11th May 2009, 18:27
Once saw a chief lose the plot completely with barge - storm on to the bridge and make a VHF broadcast advising everyone in the area that the barge was crooked and they shouldn't take bunkers off them.

They have some wild tricks those guys - aeriated fuel - good ullages then a day later all the bubbles are gone and you are a hundred tonnes down (Cloud)

G0SLP
14th May 2009, 13:38
They have some wild tricks those guys - aeriated fuel - good ullages then a day later all the bubbles are gone and you are a hundred tonnes down (Cloud)

Yes, I agree.

Singapore used to be terrible - better now but always be vigilant, even with 'bunker surveyors' present.

Off Fujairah can be problematic, especially if you can't get onto the bunker barge due to the swell. I go across via a bosun's chair on the hose crane - the bunker people HATE it - tough [=P]

I just don't trust ANY bunker supplier.

Satanic Mechanic
14th May 2009, 14:36
Yes, I agree.

Singapore used to be terrible - better now but always be vigilant, even with 'bunker surveyors' present.

Off Fujairah can be problematic, especially if you can't get onto the bunker barge due to the swell. I go across via a bosun's chair on the hose crane - the bunker people HATE it - tough [=P]

I just don't trust ANY bunker supplier.

The C/E I was talking about - that was in Fujairah - he called a launch from the shore to take him to the barge!!! - then he hit the VHF

G0SLP
14th May 2009, 17:25
The C/E I was talking about - that was in Fujairah - he called a launch from the shore to take him to the barge!!! - then he hit the VHF

That would have made the brown stuff hit the fan, I guess! Good one (Thumb)

surfaceblow
14th May 2009, 23:08
I use to take bunkers in Fujairah often. On one trip I had my relief onboard for a few days before he was to take over. We went and sounded the tanks on the tanker that brought the fuel out before and afterward and the ships tanks before and afterward. My relief was all bent out of shape when his figures showed that we were 36 tons short. But the tankers figures we were right on, my figures we were over 40 tons.

The difference in the figures were my relief did not account for the bunkers that we burned while fueling, the temperature change in the tanks from start to finish of bunkering and the wedge factor for the tanks. The companies unofficial policy was to sign for the oil if the difference was within 3 per cent of the oil ordered.

The vessels fuel system used the settlers for the overflow tanks. So when topping off tanks the excess pressure would fill the the settlers instead of going on deck. The settlers would be slack before the bunkering was to be started.

From experience we would also gain 2 to 5 tons from draining the bunker lines. One ship I was on the deck line was not drained and when the outside temperature went up (bunkered in Boston winter time) the dresser coupling leaked 5 bbls of bunker C on deck when we were rounding the Florida coast (75 F). (Big mess the Deck Department was not happy). From that time I would leave a fill valve open over night to drain the system and we would have a slight increase of fuel onboard after figuring what was used.

Satanic Mechanic
15th May 2009, 08:46
Thats interesting Surface Blow. If I read you right you were using from the tank you were filling.

Sometimes it is unavoidable but I always try really hard to consolidate my remaining bunkers in one tank and load in the others. This is much much easier these days with the common configuration of 4 aft bunker tanks of different sizes.

I will try very hard not to touch the new bunkers until I have received an analysis of them and even then I keep mixing of bunkers to a minimum.


Agreed tank filling valves stay open - and always keep 100 tonnes up your sleeve

Ian Dickinson
15th May 2009, 09:40
Hi

On M.V. Ardmay taking on fuel in Boston? It was freezing cold about midnight when we started for what should be about 4 hours of pumping. Before starting I through a rope ladder over the side so we could climb down onto the bunker barge. Pumping started and all went well, when we had the required fuel I shouted down to the barge to stop pumping but could not raise any one. I decided to climb down the ladder to tell the barge to stop pumping but ended on a crumpled heap on the barge. I had forgot that during bunkering we had been discharging cargo and had ridden up in the water leaving the ladder short of the bunker barge.

surfaceblow
15th May 2009, 10:54
Unfortunately yes we had to use the settlers for overflow control.

We had twenty seven fuel tanks onboard double bottoms and deep tanks. Part of the fuel management is to keep track of the fuel and keep the fuels separate. Since the tanks are different sizes you could usually figure out when you were going to bunker and what tanks would be empty for refueling. The Second Assistant Engineer would strip the tanks has we emptied them. Lucky we usually had enough fuel onboard so we did not have to use the new fuel until we got the analysis. That is except the overflow into the settlers. The only mixing of fuel would occur in the settlers and service tanks. I did find that the settlers had to be cleaned more often.

My biggest problem was with the fuel system design of using the settlers for the overflow tanks. All of the vents cascade into the settlers. By leaving the fill valves open to the settlers the over pressure would be relived into the settlers and not the overflow into the vent piping. So if you were slow on the opening of the next tank to fill and closing the full tank the new fuel would enter the settlers or any other tank on the ship. The tank valves were hydraulic operated in the pipe tunnels controlled thru the computer. I would like to have the settlers has low as possible and change the purifiers to go service tank back to the service tank while bunkering. But this was sometimes not possible. Also the service tanks overflow back into the settlers.

I never counted the fuel in the settlers or service tanks for the various reports.