160 - 10/00 - Nile Blend Crude Oil Problems - Ex Marsa Bashayer - Sudan

We have recently experienced an incident involving a very high ROB arising on one of our Members’ ships after discharge of a cargo of Nile Blend Crude Oil loaded at Marsa Bashayer, Sudan.  This is a new crude oil from recently developed oil fields in Sudan.  The shipment of this grade by sea only started in September 1999 and its nature and the difficulties arising during its transportation are not widely known.

Nile Blend Crude Oil is a paraffinic crude oil with a high wax content, high pour point (+30°C to +36°C) and high wax appearance temperature (+39°C and above).  The wax appearance temperature (WAT) or cloud point is the temperature at which waxy solids form by precipitation in the crude oil.  At or below the WAT waxy solids will precipitate or settle out onto the tank bottoms and horizontal structural members.  Once wax deposition occurs heating alone will not normally place the deposited wax back into suspension within the main body of the cargo.

As with all high wax crude oils, Nile Blend requires careful handling during loading, carriage and discharge with regard to the cargo temperature.  Historically, pour point was relied upon as the indicator as to whether the crude oil required heating during carriage and to what temperature, experience showing that a carriage temperature of least 10°C above the pour point was required.  However, the WAT is a more suitable indicator for the required carriage temperature for waxy paraffinic crude oils.  The cargo temperature should not be less than 10°C - 15°C above the WAT at any time during loading, carriage and discharge to prevent wax deposition in the cargo tanks.  Ambient conditions which may be encountered during the voyage should also be given consideration and may require the carriage temperature to be increased accordingly.

As was the case with the cargo transported by our Member, information regarding the wax content and WAT of the shipment may not be provided at the load port, which makes determining the minimum carriage temperature difficult.  This data should be sought prior to or at the time of loading.  In any event, representative samples of the cargo in each cargo tank should be taken by the ship and retained.  In the case referred to, the cargo temperature (+ 33°C), in the shore tanks and of the cargo as loaded on board was significantly below the WAT. The cargo was maintained at this temperature for a significant proportion of the voyage under the instructions of the charterer.  The result was that substantial wax deposition occurred in the cargo tanks resulting in the high ROB at the discharge port.  The receivers may have exacerbated the problem and the degree of ROB by preventing the ship from conducting a COW programme during discharge.

With the continued development of oilfield technology it is expected that other new crude oils will be transported at sea that require careful handling.  Information regarding required handling conditions should be sought from charterers as a matter of routine.


Source of the information: 

Stewart Horan or Roland Revell 

through M Bowen (L4)

Oil and Marine Consultancy

Minton Treharne & Davies Ltd

Tel:  + 44 (0) 29 2054 0000

Fax:  + 44 (0) 29 2054 0111

E-Mail: mtd@minton.co.uk

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Stuart Edmonston
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Stuart, a Master Mariner, joined Thomas Miller’s Loss Prevention department in 2014. Prior to this he worked as casualty investigator for a leading shipping law firm and was at sea on a variety of different ship types including crude oil tankers, freight ferries, passenger ships and offshore drilling units, where he sailed as Barge Master.

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Petar Modev
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Petar joined Thomas Miller as Loss Prevention Executive in 2014 having previously worked at Sea as a Watch Keeping Officer for the past eight years.

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David is a Master Mariner joining Thomas Miller in June 2014, after gaining a wealth of experience both at sea and ashore. After leaving the sea, he was employed as a claims manager with a Piraeus based P&I correspondent for 2 years before joining a well-respected and busy marine surveying consultancy in Greece. In 1997, David established his own marine consultancy, with the majority of work being P&I related. From 2010 until joining Thomas Miller, he was employed as a claims executive with another Group P&I Club, handling a wide variety of P&I and FD&D claims as well as being actively involved in their Loss Prevention initiatives.

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Chris joined Thomas Miller in March 2001, after a long seagoing career in all types of tankers. 
Joined Shell Tankers in 1969 as cadet and sailed with them until 1977 rising to Second Officer, then joined Silver Line (V.Ships UK) and sailed in Chemical Tankers and LPG vessels.

From 1983 until December 2000 he served as master for V Ships in LPG, Chemical and Product carriers, including 1 special OBO. 

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Alex Sandom
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Alex joined the UK Club as a Loss Prevention Technician in June 2014 supporting the loss prevention team. Alex started at Thomas Miller in 2012 at the TT Club as part of the Information Management Team where he provided administrative support to the claims team. 

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Tony joined Thomas Miller as a Ship Inspector. After passing a degree in Marine Engineering and becoming Chief Engineer, he came ashore as Superintendent and then Marine Surveyor / Consultant.

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Markus Westphal joined Thomas Miller in June as a Risk Assessor. Previously worked as a ships master on Container ships.

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