MPA Singapore published a circular reminding to all ships supplying and receiving bunkers in the Port of Singapore that bunkering related oil spills generally take place because of operational lapses and could be avoided if all necessary precautions are taken.
MPA would also reminds ship masters and bunker craft operators to Regulation 7 of the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Act which states that:
Prohibition of discharge of oil and oily mixtures from ships 7(1) If any discharge of oil or oily mixture occurs from a Singapore ship into any part of the sea or from any ship into Singapore waters, the master, the owner and the agent of the ship shall each be guilty of an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.
Explaining the ways to prevent oil spills during bunkering, MPA notes the following:
- Both bunker tanker and receiving vessel must be securely moored taking into consideration the prevailing and expected sea/weather conditions. Moorings are to be tended to promptly throughout the entire operation;
- The entire bunkering operation must be supervised by a responsible person;
- An effective and reliable communication line is to be used and agreed between both bunker tanker and receiving vessel. (Otherwise, if the main communication fails on either ship, the agreed emergency signal is to be sounded and all bunkering operations are to be suspended immediately);
- Before the beginning of bunkering operation, the maximum pumping rate and maximum pressure including starting and topping-up rate have to be agreed upon by both bunker tanker and receiving vessel;
- The emergency shut-down procedure is to be agreed upon by both vessels before the commencement of bunkering operation;
- The bunker hoses/arms must be in good condition and properly rigged and securely connected;
- Before commencement of bunkering operation, all overboard discharge scuppers are to be effectively plugged and drip trays of adequate size are to be placed in position;
- The cargo and bunker connections when not in use are to be securely blanked off;
- The sea and overboard discharge valves when not in use are to be closed and lashed;
- During the entire bunkering operation, there should be enough personnel onboard in a state of readiness to address an emergency including the use of main engine for unmooring should the need arises;
- During the entire operation, no other operation involving (internal) transfer of bunker in bulk is to be carried out onboard either vessel;
- Fire-fighting, oil spill response equipment and dispersant must be ready for immediate use;
- A person should be in constant attendance at both the delivery and receiving hose connection during the bunkering operation;
- A safe access between the bunker tanker and receiving vessel has to be provided.
- Day/night signal is to be exhibited clearly;
- In case of an oil spill, the Master, owner or agent shall inform the Marine Safety Control Centre immediately (Tel: 6325-2488/2489, VHF Ch 07) and comply with any instructions that may be given.
- For more detailed guidelines, refer to the Bunkering Pre-Delivery Safety Checklist as stated in Singapore Standard Code of Practice for Bunkering SS600 and Technical Reference for Bunker Mass Flow Metering TR48 published by Enterprise Singapore as amended from time to time.
You may see further information in the PDF below
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