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Proper heating of Fuel Oil storage tank - Guideline for ships

The fuel oil ( FO ) storage tanks should be heated taking the following matters into consideration:
(a) Proper heating temperature : Based on the correlation drawing between temperature and viscosity of heavy oil, easy pumping range and depending on the type , FO shall be heated as per HFO analyzing report.

(b) For FO storage tanks, only one tank in use shall be heated in principle, and the next tank shall be heated gradually from the preceding day of the change over.

(c) If steam heating coils are separated into several layers, the tank capacity corresponding to each section of coils shall be grasped beforehand so that the coils in use may be always under the FO level in the tank.

(d) The tank heating steam valve shall be secured properly for the valve not to open by itself by vibration or other reasons.

(e) If cargo is loaded on the tank top, care shall given for the heating not to affect the cargo.

Use of heating coils or deck heaters to more quickly increase the cargo temperature

The cargo could also be heated using the cargo heating system or portable heaters brought on board for the purpose. To allow operation in the worst expected conditions the heating medium supply piping requires to be provided with efficient thermal insulation in order to provide high temperature at the heater inlet. Condensate lines should be provided with heat tracing / suitably insulated as should all valves in the system.

1) Deck heat exchangers : Steam in the heat exchangers is introduced at around 130 deg C. The flow rate of cargo must be carefully controlled to avoid freezing of the heating medium. This will damage the heat exchanger. A critical safety aspect when heating by heat exchangers occurs when the cargo has a low boiling point introducing the risk of explosion. The temperature of the heated cargo in heaters must be kept below the cargo boiling point, preferably 10 deg C below the boiling point.

Heaters must be kept in permanent operation or drained and isolated after each use so that they are not rendered inoperative due to ice build-up or thermal oil gelation.

2) Portable heat exchanger heating cargo at the manifold during loading. Should the facility be available at the loading port then this is the preferred solution.

3) Heating coils

In general heating coils are preferable over deck heaters. The heating ability should be re-calculated to establish sufficient heating availability. All coils must be completely free from water prior to loading the cargo otherwise the collected water will immediately freeze in the coil resulting in damaged heating coils. All steam traps should be cleaned, so that the flow will not be impeded by condensation or freezing. It is essential therefore that the heating coils system and all associated isolation valves are in very good condition, leak free and tight. Consideration should be given to blanking off coils that will not be utilised both on the supply and condensate sides.

The minimum number of coils should be used to ensure good flow through the coil and maintenance of condensate temperatures above freezing. When starting steam delivery to the coil the steam should be returned quickly to the condensate return drain to heat up the coil before bringing the steam trap into operation. Care must be taken to avoid all condensate collecting and freezing on working decks. If the heating system fails the heating coils and all lines must be cleared of water immediately before the water freezes and causes damage to the coils and supply and condensate deck lines.

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