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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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Bunker checklist for vessel owners published

Covers the key checks that must be carried out before, during and after taking bunkers.

Image credit: Pixabay CC0

Updated on 20 Jun 2018 08:45 GMT

Mutual insurance association The Shipowners' Club has published a bunker checklist which incorporates the key checks that must be carried out before, during and after taking bunkers.

The Club notes that the effective use of bunker checklists can help to reduce the likelihood of a pollution incident from occurring during bunkering operations.

The key elements of the bunker checklist have been provided below.


- Officer on deck informed (red 'B' flag, red light)
- Local port regulations are observed, Local port authorities notified
- Type and quality of oils agreed
- Bunkering system checked and operational (relevant fuel lines and valves in open/closed position)
- Tank level indicators operating and calibrated
- Necessary deck lights on, when applicable
- Overflow tank is drained and the alarm is operating
- Safe access to barge arranged, when applicable
- State of adjacent water noted, oil free
- Drip tray drained and plugs inserted
- All hot work has been suspended
- 'NO SMOKING' signs in place
- All scupper plugs in place
- Fire extinguisher in place
- All bunker hoses inspected, in good condition
- Bunker barge is securely moored alongside / truck in safe position
- Connection inspected (bunker points not in use securely blanked and checked for leakage)
- Oil meter on barge / truck / ashore inspected
- Communication checks completed, engine room to bunker station and supplier (VHF channel)
- All concerned bunker tanks sounded, capacity and free volume checked
- SOPEP equipment prepared / standby
- Arrangements made for two fuel oil samples to be taken and stored on board in accordance with the IMO's guidelines.
- Emergency stop procedure discussed and agreed with supplier
- Risk assessment and tool box meeting carried out
- Crew involved have read and understood the company is bunkering procedures
- Sufficient crew available for carrying out the bunkering operation in a safe manner
- Material Safety Data Sheet provided by supplier (SOLAS requirement)
- Experienced crewman designated to standby at the manifold and monitor the bunkering operation
- Length of hose allows for any expected fall and rise in height of tide
- Samples taken and grade of bunkers confirmed as acceptable

During bunkering

- Commence bunkering at minimum agreed pumping rate
- Soundings carried out before increasing the pumping rate
- Monitor the maximum agreed supply line pressure, check for suspicious signs that may indicate cappuccino delivery (injecting air in the bunkers)
- Examine supply line, connections, sounding pipes, air vents for leakages
- Frequent sounding, and when fitted remote level-reading carried out and compare readings. Are levels as expected?
- Request reduction of pumping rate early enough and/or open next tank before topping-off
- Close valves of completed tanks
- Always notify supplier at time of changing tanks and when last tank starts to be filled
- Give suppliers timely warning to stop pumping
- Ensure sufficient ullage in final tank for hose draining and line blowing

After bunkering

- Hoses and lines drained
- All flanges and valves closed properly, blank-off manifold
- Barge / truck tanks jointly sounded, quantities determined and agreed with supplier after completion and before disconnecting the hose
- Check sounding / quantities on all ship's tanks
- Complete all bunker documents, bunker receipt received
- Disconnection of the supply hose only with Chief Engineer agreement and after completion of paperwork
- Scuppers unplugged, SOPEP and fire-fighting equipment stowed
- Inform the crew about end of bunkering operation
- Complete the Oil Record Book, Deck and Engine Log Books
- Bunkering signals cancelled

Important notes

1. Familiarise yourself with IMO MEPC. 1/Circ. 736/ Rev.2 guidance for the recording of operations in the oil record book part I - machinery space operations.

2. Never hesitate to STOP bunkering to avoid a spill.

3. The Chief Engineer is always responsible for safe bunkering operations, the pre-loading plan, communication procedures and emergency shutdown procedures.

4. Planned final quantity must take expansion factors into account for safety purpose.

5. All bunker tanks pre-loading conditions must be listed in the pre-loading plan, whether it is intended to take bunkers in those tanks or not. This will assist in taking decisions in case of deviation from the plan due to exceptional circumstances (emergency/other).

6. The non-nominated tanks must be continuously monitored throughout the operation.

In order to view and download the bunker checklist, please click here.

A separate checklist for yacht owners can be accessed by clicking here.

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