What Does the Word “Bunker” and Bunkering?


What Does the Word “Bunker” and Bunkering?

In the shipping industry, the word bunker is used for fuel and lube oils, which are stored on a ship and used for machinery operation only. If a vessel is carrying marine fuel or lube oil to discharge it to another port, it will not be called “bunker”. If the vessel or truck is carrying it to transfer to another ship for using in its machinery, it will be termed as “bunker” and the operation performed to transport the oil is known as “bunkering”

Types of Bunker Fuel:

When the ship receives any kind of oil for using it in its machinery it is called a bunker fuel or bunker oil. Following are different types of bunkers which are supplied to a commercial or passenger vessel:

• Heavy fuel oil bunker
• Diesel oil bunker
• Marine Gas oil bunker
• Lube oil bunker

Precautions Take during the Bunkering Operation (The Bunkering Check-List)

• Prior To Commencing the Operation, All Pre-Loading Checks Should Be Carried Out and Communication Systems Verified as Working
• The Loading Rate Should Be Checked Regularly.
• When Changing Over from One Tank to Another, Care Should Be Taken to Ensure That an Excessive Back Pressure Is Not Put on The Hose or Loading Lines.
• When Topping-Off Tanks, The Loading Rate Should Be Decreased to Reduce the Possibility of Air Locks in The Tank Causing Mist Carry Over Through the Vents, And to Minimize the Risk of The Supplier Not Stopping Quickly Enough.
• On Completion of Bunkering, All Hoses and Lines Should Be Drained to The Tank or If Applicable,
• Back to the Barge, Prior To Disconnection. The Practice of Blowing Lines with Air into Bunker Tanks Is A Common One But Has A High Risk of Causing A Spillage Unless the Tank Is Only Part
Full and Has Sufficient Ullage on Completion of Bunkering.

Before Bunkering collect information and inspection

1. before boarding the Vessel draught and trim to be recorded ( Forward and Aft)


 vessel draft mark

2. confirm with Chief engineer calculate and check which bunker oil tanks are to be filled after he/she receives confirmation from the shore office about the amount of fuel to be accepted.
3. It might be required to empty some tanks and transfer the oil from one tank to other. This is required to prevent mixing of two oils and prevent incompatibility between the previous oil and the new oil.
4. The sounding of other fuel storage tank (not be used in bunkering operation) should also be taken to keep a record of fuel already present onboard. This will help the ship’s officer in case any valve is leaking, and the bunker oil is being transferred to the unwanted tank.
5. We have to discuss with Chief engineer that will take part in the bunkering process, and they should be explained about the following: –
• Which tanks are to be filled
• Sequence order of tanks to be filled
• How much bunker oil is to be taken
6. Sounding is taken before bunkering and record is made

Sounding in progress and recording soundings

 Sounding records before bunkering

7. Need to be filled checklist nothing is missed
8. All deck scuppers and save all trays are plugged
9. An overflow tank is provided in the engine room which is connected to the bunker tank and bunker line. Ensure the overflow tank is kept empty to transfer excess fuel from the bunker tanks
10. Adequate lighting at the bunker and sounding position are to be provided
11. No smoking notice should be positioned near the bunkering station
12. Onboard communication, signs, and signals to stop the operation between the people involved in bunkering are to be understood by all the crew involved in the operation.
13. Opposite side bunker manifold valves are closed and appropriately blanked
14. When bunker ship or barge is secured to the ship side, the person in charge on the barge is also explained about the bunker plan

Bunker barge along side

15. Bunker supplier’s paperwork is checked for the oil’s grade and the density if they are as per the specification
16. Bunker barge draught and trim to be recorded
17. Bunker barge sounding is taken before bunkering and record is made
18. The pumping rate of the bunker fuel is agreed with the bunker barge/ bunker truck
19. The hose is then connected to the manifold. The condition of the hose must be checked properly by the ship staff and if it is not satisfactory, same to be notified to the chief engineer
20. Most of the bunker supplier send their crew to connect the bunker oil pipeline coming from bunker ship/ barge. The ship staff must recheck the flange connection to eliminate the doubt of any leakage
21. Once the connection is made, the chief engineer will ensure all the line valves which will lead the bunker fuel to the selected bunker tanks are open, keeping the main manifold valve shut
22. Proper communication between the barge and the ship is to be established
23. Sign and signals are to be followed as discussed in case of communication during an emergency
24. Most bunkering facilities (ship/ barge/ terminal/ truck etc.) provide an emergency stop switch which controls the bunkering supply pump. Ensure to check its working before commencing the operation
25. Once all the checks are done, the manifold valve is open for bunkering

Hose connection and Bunkering in progress

26. Upon completion of bunkering, need to gauged the bunker tanks of Receiving vessel ” in conjunction with the Chief Engineer to ascertain the quantity of Oil received on board
27. Also board the bunker vessel and gauged/inspected the cargo tanks on board in order to ascertain the quantity of Oil discharged and observed that the quantity of Oil was discharged from the nominated Tanks. The remaining cargo tanks were found to be same co

After bunkering all parties agree need to sin all documents and as per bunker barge discharge quantity will mention in BDN


ndition as before bunkering.

Upon completion of bunkering subsequently after the documentation on board, the attending surveyor disembarked from the vessel M.V. “**********” at 0920 hours on 12th April 2017.

Mohammed Farooq
(Attending Surveyor)
For M/S. Constellation Marine Services

Read our related blog about Bunkering and bunker Surveys.

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