Safety Observation : Don’t keep me in suspens(ion)!

Vessel requested to bunker 80MT diesel in port. Due to the amount requested, it was arranged to deliver the bunkers via road tanker. When the road tanker arrived alongside the vessel and commenced rigging the delivery hose, it was found that the hose was not long enough to span from dock to vessel without suspending a camlock fitting over the water. Having a camlock fitting in such a position subjects it to the full weight of the hose and product inside. This creates a significant risk of pollution if there are any leaks or failure of the fitting. As the delivery company could not provide an alternate hose that would span from dock to vessel safely, the delivery was refused.

From the Port of Dover (UK) Bunkering Code of Practice :

5.5.2 Preparation by Bunker Tanker/Barge/Road Tanker
Ships or Road tankers delivering bunkers should ensure the following preparations are completed:
– The bunker hoses are in good condition and are “in test” in accordance with the appropriate standard, and the test certificate is available on request. The bunker hoses are well supported, are of sufficient length and allow for movement of the ship.
– The bunker connection has a good seal.
– If applicable there is a well tightened bolt in every bolthole of the bunker pipe connection flange (pistol grip or self-sealing connections are recommended).
– Any hose spanning the water must be of a continuous length containing no joins or connections.

While there are many best practices for bunkering from P&I clubs and guidance in safety management systems (SMS), the majority of these best practices focus on fuel quality, onboard procedures (line up of valves, etc) and communications. While somewhat instinctive, examining the hose setup (Hey, that fitting shouldn’t be over the water!) might not as obvious to the less experienced or fatigued crewmember.

Additional Reading and Links

Port of Dover : Bunkering Code of Practice

BIMCO & IBIA Bunkering Guide

UK P&I : Risk Focus : Safe Bunker Operations

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