How much bunkers have you up your sleeve? - Ships Nostalgia
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How much bunkers have you up your sleeve?

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  #1  
Old 7th July 2009, 17:04
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John Campbell John Campbell is offline  
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How much bunkers have you up your sleeve?

When Master or mate, on most ships I served on, it was nearly always a fact that Chief Engineers kept bunkers, up their sleeves in case they were caught short. In the fifties -there used to be horrendous tales of ship's having to burn hatch boards to reach port after running short of coal. When calculating loading figures these concealed bunkers sometimes caused problems and friction but nothing more.

Once when the Distance to go was wrongly calculated and bunkers loaded accordingly we found to our horror that if all went well with speed,slip etc we would just make port with half a day's supply of bunkers left. Not to worry I asked the newly joined Chief, who had supervised and loaded the bunkers"How much-up your sleeve Chief" he replied "Nothing - I don't beleive in it!

It was a nail biting experience on that 32 day trip -P. Gulf to Sweden - we were struck by "goosebarnicles" as we passed Capetown making our slip more than usual we had to get the bunker hose first on as we docked and made it -just!

We put into Teneriffe to get the barnacles brushed off on the ballast leg back to the Gulf.
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  #2  
Old 7th July 2009, 18:18
Bill Davies Bill Davies is offline  
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It would appear that you sailed with some 'rum' outfits along with some equally'rum' engineers.
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  #3  
Old 7th July 2009, 22:46
johnb42 johnb42 is offline  
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Five days reserve (based on max rpm), plus an allowance for 'unpumpable' was the norm in CP Ships, when I worked the spot charter market. Never had a problem.
There was not usually any 'up-the-sleeve', bunkers as ROBs were checked by an independent on-hire surveyor.
I can tell a few tales about G**** and K***** ships that we took on hire when I was a supercargo for Norasia and Norbulk. This had nothing to do with 'safety margins' though.
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  #4  
Old 7th July 2009, 23:01
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Chief Engineer’s fuel oil reserve.

The professional seafarer in a senior rank should know that it is normal practice to have a buffer between the actual tank figure and the official figure stated in the log, this is to allow for the trim and list factors, also temperature corrections.
Large gas ship. 15 tonne DO reserve, 50 tonne HFO reserve. The unpumpables should always be considered when presenting the stem.

As far as having fuel up the sleeve, a load of waffle from the uneducated.

John.
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  #5  
Old 7th July 2009, 23:52
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Bunkers up your sleeve was a problem that many ships had .
I was unfortunate enough to be handed over a surplus of 150 tonne HFO and 30 diesel .
The problem became manifest when the company ordered bunkers instead of the usual Captain ordering on the recommendation of the Chief Engineer ( if full bunkers were the order of the day ) Captain would never order full bunkers without some consultation with the Chief .
The result of this episode is that we had to "return " 40 tonnes in the bunker barge which caused an upset as there was a penalty for not taking what was ordered .
I managed to write off the remaing surplus less unpumpable calculation by consuming 40 odd tonnes a day and logging 38 tonnes .
This caused great confusion in the office as they wanted to know what I had done to cause this magnificent improvement in performance ?

The practice was stubid at best and verging on the idiotic when ships were on charter and the Charter Party was picking up the fuel tab anyway . An on hire / off hire survey would show the discrepancy and the net result would be the sqare root of nothing .

I always did tend to have a little more in the tanks than the log showed but the Old man and Mate were always aware of the numbers .

Derek
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  #6  
Old 8th July 2009, 00:01
johnb42 johnb42 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macphail View Post
Chief Engineer’s fuel oil reserve.

The professional seafarer in a senior rank should know that it is normal practice to have a buffer between the actual tank figure and the official figure stated in the log, this is to allow for the trim and list factors, also temperature corrections.
Large gas ship. 15 tonne DO reserve, 50 tonne HFO reserve. The unpumpables should always be considered when presenting the stem.

As far as having fuel up the sleeve, a load of waffle from the uneducated.

John.
Without trying to appear contentious, surely the volume remaining in the tank is obtained by the 'dip', which is corrected for by trim, heel and temp. Where does the buffer come into this equation?
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  #7  
Old 8th July 2009, 00:32
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On a ship I was mate on we were under charter for over 18 months and I knew the C/E was not quite truthful when quoting his fuel on board. Doing draft surveys it meant finagling the figures which was a real pain in the whats it.
Got word on one trip that we were coming off charter and there was to be an inventory of fuel etc.
Ended up that the surplus fuel was pumped overboard. Be a crazy thing to do now but even them I protested to no avail
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Old 8th July 2009, 00:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakercapt View Post
On a ship I was mate on we were under charter for over 18 months and I knew the C/E was not quite truthful when quoting his fuel on board. Doing draft surveys it meant finagling the figures which was a real pain in the whats it.
Got word on one trip that we were coming off charter and there was to be an inventory of fuel etc.
Ended up that the surplus fuel was pumped overboard. Be a crazy thing to do now but even them I protested to no avail
What is there to say to that?
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  #9  
Old 8th July 2009, 00:50
surfaceblow surfaceblow is offline  
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I have been involved with a few ships that had more oil onboard than stated on the books. Most of the time it was due to bad tank gaging (bobs not the correct size) and inaccurate calculations. The problem with the calculations occurred on Steam Ships where the bunkers were commingled so an averaged specific gravity had to be calculated and a average tank temperature taken to find the corrected volume onboard.

While I was on the Marine Floridian I usually ordered the fuel. On one occasion I increased the fuel ordered by 50 tons due to the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico. For some unknown reason the Captain decided to short the fuel order by 100 tons. The bunkers onboard were gaged by a independent surveyor accordance to the charter agreement so no sleeve oil was onboard. On the way to Tampa we hit bad weather and the Port Captain closed the port so we were out an additional three days. In order to have pump-able oil to the boilers we had to strip the Port Settler and pump the oil into the Stbd Settler and use the low suction. When we headed to the dock the bunker barge followed us to the dock. When we got to the dock there was only 10 tons of pump-able oil left in the settler.
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  #10  
Old 8th July 2009, 01:03
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Originally Posted by johnb42 View Post
Without trying to appear contentious, surely the volume remaining in the tank is obtained by the 'dip', which is corrected for by trim, heel and temp. Where does the buffer come into this equation?
Hi John,

For example , a fuel oil double bottom with a ford sounding pipe, the vessel is down by the stern therefore you get a false dip, (Please excuse me I have just returned from my 70 birthday dinner and not thinking straight), but I was a CEO for many years, and the tables are "Rule of thumb" and not strictly accurate, therefore a buffer, (Not a bufty), or reserve is required, I
do not like the term , "The Chief having it up his sleeve", it insinuates dodgy dealings by the Chief, far from it, by having a buffer/reserve he is looking after the interests of the ship and the owner, I developed a software program over the years called "Chief Engneers' Assistant" which explains how to bunker and stem correctly, based on years of experience, no substitute for experience.

Kind regards,
John.

Last edited by Macphail : 8th July 2009 at 01:27.
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  #11  
Old 8th July 2009, 01:27
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LakerCapt Post #7.
I have also experienced many change of charter bunker surveys, no problems, common sense prevailed.
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  #12  
Old 8th July 2009, 01:35
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Reserve bunkers are no secret - Everyone is aware of them and in fact are necessary on liner service. Just try heading into a swirl of typhoons over the Pacific and having to make port or even just a little harder push to make the tide. Everyone should know and take them into account for trim, loading etc. BTW, 50 additional tons is less than a days sailing on a big engine! Case in point, ten days trans Pacific in place of the normal seven! You don't want to be down on the vapours.
Regards,
Dave
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  #13  
Old 8th July 2009, 01:39
MARINEJOCKY MARINEJOCKY is offline  
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Lakercapt,

Bet you are glad that you had nothng to do with pumping that 150 tons over the side. .

Or that C/E who was on charter at 28 tons intermediate plus 2.5 tons mdo per day but only used 25 tons of intermediate and between 1.5 & 2 tons of mdo. Bunkered once a month from the Norwegian bunker ship in a red sea port and got paid cash for the 100 tons of intermediate and about 20 tons of mdo that he did not take.

I did hear he was the only C/E in the merchant navy that ever did that and he was also the same one who took his lube oil in drums in the canal and sold the empties back to the bum boats.

It so happened he sailed with the only old man and mate who sold the 300 to 500 sheets of 3/4" plywood that was placed on the containers when the ship was taking Italian Mobile homes out to the oil fields and they in turn turned a blind eye to the bosun selling watered down paint to the arab bum boat men.

Strange all that happening on one ship that was seen as the best in the company, loved by charter agents and asked for by the charterers.

Now what is meant by the statue of limitations. !!!

Last edited by MARINEJOCKY : 8th July 2009 at 02:28.
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  #14  
Old 8th July 2009, 04:01
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I recall being on a NZ West Coast collier where both the master and C/E liked to have a bit more than normal "sleeve oil" as it was called. The occasional stand out to sea when the West Tasman coast weather prevented entry to the river berths or when a fierce nor-westerly made the slog back up to North Cape a lvery ong one was the basis for the caution but one trip as we entered Auckland to discharge the final few tons of coal after delivering the bulk to the northern cement works we were instructed to unload and head for the dry dock.
Embarrassment all round as we had to order the fuel barge alongside to discharge a large surplus.

Bob
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Old 8th July 2009, 04:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makko View Post
Reserve bunkers are no secret - Everyone is aware of them and in fact are necessary on liner service. Just try heading into a swirl of typhoons over the Pacific and having to make port or even just a little harder push to make the tide. Everyone should know and take them into account for trim, loading etc. BTW, 50 additional tons is less than a days sailing on a big engine! Case in point, ten days trans Pacific in place of the normal seven! You don't want to be down on the vapours.
Regards,
Dave
Yes I know 50 tons is not a whole lot of oil for a big engine but for the T2 Marine Floridian with a 6,000 hp motor it would have been 35 per cent above the fuel required for the slow steam trip from Tampa to Galveston and back.
We would normally get 500 tons of fuel per trip as part of the charter agreement. Most of the time we would burn 450 tons of oil when the weather was good and if we did not get delay in port. Over time the oil onboard would slowly increase so the extra 50 tons was not a p**s in the hat. I think we had 200 tons ROB when I had requested 550 tons and the Captain shorting 100 tons from the fuel order.

The Marine Floridian was very low tech no fuel counter, while bunkering you watched the ladder rungs from the ulage hatch to keep the tanks even. The normal bunker stop was about five rungs down from the top. You only measured at the start and stop with a tape and there was only the two settlers what were filled.

The last ten years or so each time I have bunkered it was a fuel load of oil and lubes so there was no room to put on extra oil.

Joe

Last edited by surfaceblow : 8th July 2009 at 05:58. Reason: spelling
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  #16  
Old 8th July 2009, 05:50
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Hi SB,
I understand. My main point, made also by others, is that there was no secret made of the reserve. I have seen in heavy weather that reserve disappear and not a few worried faces all around! Also, slow steaming or waiting for the spot market are a whole different kettle of fish to making the port on day/time basis - miss the boxes and everyone will suffer!

Interesting thread!
Rgds.
Dave
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  #17  
Old 8th July 2009, 15:09
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On most vessels I kept one days steaming fuel at sea speed.
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Old 8th July 2009, 15:19
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Agreed - I always had 1 -2 days at NCR over and above what was in the log just in case something went really wrong. It wasn't actually underhand or dodgy as such, it was just that if they could the owners would restrict you to the bare minimum bunkers and it was just an extra precaution. Hey we are a belts and braces squad
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Old 8th July 2009, 23:42
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I sailed on the Cast Heron and remember the long haul at reduced speed from Norfolk to Kakagawa not stopping at cape town ( I think it was 47 days). When we arrived at the outer achorage we were just using the last of the bunkers and the foods from the fridge board sweepings, also made use of the lifeboat diesel for the top up for the final manouvering leg into the inner anchorage. We had to get bunkers and food out to the inner anchorage. Good old days.
I remember the agent and the Customs asking quite sternly, why had we run out of food and bunkers.
True, but due to charterers changes of orders.
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Old 9th July 2009, 05:08
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With best regards to BrianT,

It was his old man who put me right on reserve bunkers - THE best C/E I ever sailed with.
Rgds.
Dave
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Old 9th July 2009, 09:29
John Cassels John Cassels is offline  
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In all the many bunker surveys I did on owners or charterers behalf , never
found the excess to be more than 50-60 tonnes. Hardly enough to be
concerned about on a cape size.
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Old 9th July 2009, 10:13
Billieboy Billieboy is offline  
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Thumbs up Fuel Consumption?

Was called out at 03.00 one morning to relieve a super who was docking an SD14 in Pernis(Rotterdam), as his wife was having a baby in Hong Kong. The orders were to get the engine started and go to Antwerp to load. Left on trials after I'd had all 16 fuel valves reconditioned, (a Deutz Vee 16 main Engine), as only two were, "ticking", when the engine was running! The crew were all Philippines, before leaving I asked the c/e for his FoB, when we arrived at Antwerp I asked for a new set of figures, he had forty tons more than when he left Rotterdam! Bloody good engines! Didn't believe him so went around with him and dipped all tanks, found another fifty tons!

Another story I was told, by a senior Super, was about a Greek vessel about which the charterer had asked the Super to, "Have a look at". It seems that the vessel, (Handy size tanker(45k DWT)), had not been taking much bunkers for the last four voyages. Inspection of the under plates area of the pump room revealed a six inch section of pipe running from bulk head to bulkhead! In the engine-room there was an under plates connection to this pipe, with valves, that led to the main bunker pumping system!
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Old 9th July 2009, 14:41
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sleeve oil or pocket money

Got a job as Chief on a supply boat in Gulf, This vessel was the biggest fuel carrier (at the time) in the Gulf.
My appointment was extremely rapid not actually expecting the job for another six weeks but was summoned urgently.

Captain, chief eng and second all in jail in Dubai (3yrs) for selling fuel. They had rigged a recirc back to tank after main discharge meter (supplied fuel to rigs in US galls).
At end of a run, they would rv with a fuel buyer out in the Gulf.
They only got caught cos they were flashing the cash all over Dubai.
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  #24  
Old 10th July 2009, 00:36
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My colleague did the redelivery to owners, of a Greek vessel from Time Charter to Norasia in Avonmouth. This was nearly 20 years ago so I don't expect I am compromising anyone with this anectdote. The Master told my colleague that the C/E was "hiding" diesel from the surveyor. The surveyor couldn't find any surplus diesel from his dips. To keep the story short, the Master, because he was not being cut in on the deal spilled the beans on the Chief.
The diesel tanks were in the DBs beneath the engine and sounded from the bottom plates. The scam had probably been going on for some years, but worked like this. When the ship was on T/C the abstract showed that the ship was using the max diesel allowed by the Charter Party, every day, regardless of actual consumption. They then had beautifully-made cylinders that dropped inside the sounding pipes and reached to the bottom of the DB.
At off-hire they would fill the cylinder to the level that they wanted the DB to show.
Neither the surveyor nor my colleague were able to detect this inner cylinder even though they shone a torch inside the pipe. The only way they proved it was by pouring a bucket of diesel into the sounding pipe, which of course overflowed it.
We had other instances of vessels fiddling bunkers in this trade. Usually we would redeliver to owners at Dropping of Outward Pilot at Avonmouth. On occasion the ship would deliver to new T/Cs at the same point and declare a lot more fuel on delivery than they had had on sailing from Avonmouth. Usually unaware that the Principals were talking to each other.
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Old 10th July 2009, 01:32
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I think Bill Davies alluded to my way of thinking early on - It is a matter of trust, respect and professionalism. If people are fiddling bunkers or on the take, what else are they up to? They can't be trusted, its as simple as that!
Rgds.
Dave
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