Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA Singapore) has released a circular to remind to all vessels that are supplying and receiving bunkers in the Port of Singapore, measures to prevent pollution.
PA stated that bunkering related oil spills are generally due to operational lapses and could be prevented if all the necessary precautions are taken. MPA would also like to draw the attention of ship masters and bunker craft operators to Regulation 7 of the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Act which states the following:
Guidelines to be observed for bunkering operations
- Both bunker tanker and receiving vessel are to be securely moored taking into consideration the prevailing and expected sea/weather conditions. Moorings are to be tended to promptly throughout the entire operation.
- Vessel at anchor shall ensure that a safe anchor watch is maintained and ensure that sufficient crew members are always available to attend to any emergencies.
- The entire bunkering operation is to be supervised by a responsible person (i.e. Marine Engineering Officers).
- During the entire bunkering operation, the mooring lines are to be regularly inspected and adjusted as necessary, supervised by a responsible deck officer.
- An effective and reliable communication line is to be used and agreed between both bunker tanker and receiving vessel. (Alternatively, 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).
- Prior to the commencement of bunkering operation, the maximum pumping rate and maximum pressure including starting and topping-up rate must be agreed upon by both bunker tanker and receiving vessel.
- The emergency shut-down procedure is to be agreed upon by both vessels prior to the commencement of bunkering operation.
- The bunker hoses/arms are to be in good condition and properly rigged and securely connected.
- Before commencement of bunkering operation, the receiving vessel shall ensure the following: a. All overboard discharge scuppers are to be effectively plugged and drip trays of adequate size are to be placed in position. b. The cargo and bunker connections when not in use are to be securely blanked off.
- During the entire bunkering operation, there should be sufficient personnel onboard in a state of readiness to deal with any emergency, including the use of main engine for unmooring should the need arises.
- No other operation involving internal transfer of bunker is to be carried out onboard either vessel.
- Firefighting, oil spill response equipment and dispersant are to 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 is to be provided. Personnel accessing between the vessels must wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Day/night signal is to be exhibited clearly.
- In event 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.
Bunkering checklist for bunker tanker and receiving vessel
The vessel operator (both bunker tanker and receiving vessel) must establish bunkering procedures which should as a minimum include guidelines and checks.