91 - 04/99 - Bunker Tank Explosions


We have recently been made aware of a casualty where welding operations on a tanktop surface resulted in an explosion and fatalities.

It would appear  that owners were unaware that bunkers which have a flashpoint above the minimum of 60C degrees can still generate an explosive atmosphere in the storage tank ullage space, even when unheated. The industry has been aware of this property of heavy fuel oil for a number of years and the presumption must always be that heavy fuel oil tanks are in such condition at  ALL times.

Flash point is NOT a reliable indicator as to whether a particular fuel will generate  a potentially explosive atmosphere whilst in storage. To assess this risk the vessel's crew must carry out explosion meter readings. Readings of 50% LEL (lower explosive limit) must be considered as being potentially in the explosive range and precautions taken accordingly.

Certainly NO "hot work" should be carried out on any tank or its ancillaries without first being cleared, isolated and checked for being "gas free".

Bearing in mind incidents such as this are still occurring, we would strongly recommend owners remind their crews of the 1989 OCIMF publication "The Flammability Hazards Associated with the Handling, Storage, and Carriage of Residual Fuel Oils".

 

Source : External 

Through Karl Lumbers Loss Prevention Dept

Industry developments

Polar Shipping

Legal, navigational and environmental resources, news and updates on the development of polar shipping. Read more


US VRP Compliance

With effect from 30th January 2014 non-tank as well as tankships calling at US ports will be required to submit VRPs.  For Club and other resources to assist in compliance click here


International Environmental compliance

Environmental Compliance resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members. Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.


MLC 2006

The Maritime Labour Convention enters into force in August 2013 - resources, news & advice on implementation can be found in this dedicated section.  READ MORE


International sanctions

Recent guidance & corresponding material in respect of international sanctions against various countries has been updated with respect to temporary easing of sanctions against Iran.  READ MORE


Piracy

Essential precautions and preparation against piracy, as well as additional information and resources, loss prevention advisories and useful external web links


Emergency Contacts


If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder


This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.