Bunkering Tricks

tape-measure
Even though the procedure has been tightened, we may see some bunker tanker are still trying to play their tricks, therefore it is very important for Chief Engineer, Vessel’s Crew and Surveyor to know well their tricks.

Below are the Tricks of Bunker Supply, trust that most of our Chief Engineers might known the trick very well, or even know more other tricks. Hopefully by knowing these tricks we can do some prevention, counteract or countermeasure to protect our interest:

1. Manipulating the sounding result:
It is very easy for the bunker barge operator to manipulate the sounding result.

Counteract/Countermeasure: Chief Engineer or bunker surveyor appointed should sound the bunker barge tanks himself

2. Slacken the tape when doing the sounding:
By allowing the tape to be slackened during opening soundings, it is possible to show a higher bunker wetted level on the measuring tape than what is really true (1-2 cm). This gives an inflated opening quantity in the bunker barge tanks. By doing this over several tanks, the total volume ‘measured’ can become significant on the opening sounding.

Counteract/Countermeasure:
• If this trick observed then do resounding
• Chief Engineer or bunker surveyor appointed should sound the bunker barge tanks himself

3. Improper sounding tape used for sounding the bunker barge tanks
a. Bunker barge usually has few sounding tape, some of the bunker tapes are improper. The bunker barge operator will see our vessel representative which will come to bunker barge for opening and closing sounding. If they find that our vessel representative seems to have lack of self confidence then they may start to use their improper sounding tape
b. Sounding Bobs from tapes have been switched over
c. Non-linear tapes
Measuring tapes can be tampered at section near the sounding bob or anywhere along the length of the tape. Measuring tape also can be cut and rejoined which resulting a non – linear tape. The section along the tape that is cut and rejoined is likely to be where the section of the tape is immersed in the bunker oil in the tank.
Counteract/Countermeasure:
• Bunker surveyors must use their own certified tapes to avoid the above tricks
• If bunker barge tapes used, check and observe the sounding tapes carefully before used

4. Tank gauging
a. Improper gauging or manipulation by bunker barge due to there is no our vessel’s crew present and witnessing all bunker barge tanks gauging
b. Manipulating the recorded soundings. The sounding result is not recorder properly, written only in piece of paper or left to memory, the actual sounding can be changed without being aware by vessel’s crew

Counteract/Countermeasure:
• As per Singapore CP 60 bunker procedure, the vessel’s representative i.e. Chief Engineer should present and witnessing the bunker barge open and close sounding.
• The recorder sounding written down in the gauging ticket immediately and distributed to all parties promptly i.e. bunker barge operator, vessel’s crew, and appointed surveyor (if any)

5. Temperature measurement trick
a. Bunker barge declares that the bunker temperature is constant and with value midway between the actual opening and closing temperature in order to maximize his ‘gain’ on the VCF correction
b. Bunker barge under-declaring the opening sounding temperature
c. Bunker barge over-declaring the closing sounding temperature

Counteract/Countermeasure:
• Always take temperature measurement in the bunker barge tanks before pumping start (opening) and after pumping finished (closing)
• Use the correct VCF which correspondence to the Table 54 B

Example of temperature issue:
Before bunkering:
* Let’s assume 1,000 m3 of bunkers was ordered
* The bunker receipt declared density shows 0.890 gm/ml
* The temperature was not taken by the ship’s crew before pumping started
* Actual bunker temperature prior to pumping is 50 deg C
Actual bunker temperature 50 deg C
From ASTM table 54B, VCF = 0.9724
Corrected volume @15 deg C = 972.4 m3
Barge claims temperature is 40 deg C
ASTM table 54B, the VCF = 0.980 m3
Corrected volume @15 deg C = 980.3 m3
Therefore, by under-declaring temperature the barge gain 7.9 m3

After bunkering:
* Let’s assume 1,000 m3 of bunkers was ordered
* The bunker receipt declared density shows 0.890 gm/ml
* The temperature was not taken by the ship’s crew after pumping
* Actual bunker temperature after pumping is 30 deg C
Actual bunker temperature 30 deg C
From ASTM table 54B, VCF = 0.9882
Corrected volume @15 deg C = 988.2 m3
Barge claims temperature is 40 deg C
ASTM table 54B, the VCF = 0.980 m3
Corrected volume @15 deg C = 980.3 m3

Therefore, by over-declaring temperature the barge gain 7.9 m3
In total the Bunker Barge gained = 7.9 m3 + 7.9 m3 = 16.8 m3

oil-temperature-gauge

6. Bunker sampling caution
The sampling point on the bunker barge is on one side of the Y piece only. The other side of the Y piece may be used to cutter stock or waste oil into vessel’s tanks.

Counteract/Countermeasure:
Always take samples at the point of custody transfer i.e our vessel’s manifold

7. ‘Fixed’ tank calibration tables
The bunker barge use incorrect and or improper or ‘fixed’ tank calibration tables

Counteract/Countermeasure:
* Check the calibration table carefully
* If any doubt make a copy and ask for the endorsement/certification

8. Pipe inserted in sounding pipe
Some modification in the bunker barge i.e. pipe inserted in the sounding pipe

Counteract/Countermeasure:
Check and observe properly, resounding and try to avoid to sounding inside the inserted pipe

9. Inter tanks transfer
During opening gauge the bunker barge is gravitating from high level to low level means the same oil is sounded again

Counteract/Countermeasure:
Always start the opening sounding in the bunker barge from the aft side tanks to fore side tanks. As example, the bunker barge tanks are: 1p,1s,2p,2s,3p, and 3s.
The opening sounding should start in this sequence:3p-3s-2p-2s-1p-1s

10. Zero dip & unpumpable
a. Zero sounding may not be zero volume
b. Substantial unpumpable may exist

Counteract/Countermeasure:
Do not accept the tanks are empty, check the bunker tanker calibration table to see the unpumpable shown

11. Pre sign sample labels
a. In 8 out of 10 cases the Chief Engineer pre signed the sample labels at the request of the bunker barge cargo officer
b. The labels are later stuck onto samples that have been prepared in advance and have no relevance to the bunkering

Counteract/Countermeasure:
* Never ever pre sign the sample labels
* Vessel’s crew must witnessing the sampling till the sampling labeling all the time

Beside the above trick the bunker barge operator quite often:
a. Treats and physical abuse
b. Stalemate – pilot on board
c. Doing cappuccino effect

In this case vessel maintain the stance and may lodge a letter of protest and put a remark in the bunker Delivery receipt and or ullage calculation.

Writer do hope above will be useful for our knowledge as well as a guidance on the counteract/counter measure to be taken whenever we face these tricks in the field. (http://chemical-tankers.blogspot.com/)

Do you have others experiences? Leaving your best comments!

Author: Faisal Yusuf

Hi, my name is Faisal Yusuf, but you can call me Surveyor. I live in Jakarta, Indonesia and work as a surveyor.

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