ship handling

Operation of oil tankers and general Precautions onboard



The daily operation of oil tankers involved many hazards. There are many check items that should be complied with to ensure a safe working atmosphere.

Observance of following precautions by crew are the most common practice that should be complied with.


Restriction of Smoking, other Burning activities and Naked Lights

Smoking is prohibited except in designated smoking areas. Any violations must be reported to the Master. Such guidelines and controls are to be applied to other sort of burning activities such as incense sticks, pipe tobacco, joss sticks, etc.

Safety Matches or fixed electrical cigarette lighters (car type) will be provided in authorized smoking areas. Safety Matches or fixed electrical cigarette lighters (Car type) must not brought in private cabins out side authorized smoking areas and shall under no circumstances be carried on the tank deck or where petroleum gases may collect.

During certain special operations, such as Gas freeing or Gas Purging operations, where the presence of inflammable gas can be suspected, then smoking in designated smoking areas is also prohibited.

The carriage and Usage of Hand Gas Lighters are prohibited onboard Oil Tankers. Safety Matches are available to use in designated Smoking Area.

Notices: Portable and Permanent notices prohibiting smoking and the use of naked lights should be displayed conspicuously at the points of access to the ship and at the exits from the accommodation area. Refer to Warning Signs to be Displayed (at Sea/ in Port)

The Master shall designate & post suitable notice for smoking areas under the following conditions:

> While alongside a berth or at an off shore marine facility:
Officers Smoking Room, Crews Smoking Room and Cargo Control Room.

> At sea :
Officers Smoking Room, Crews Smoking Room, Chart Room, Bridge, Radio Office, Cargo Control Room and Engine Control Room.

a) Smoking on the navigational bridge is prohibited in certain port limits, when pilot or port officials are onboard (eg. Australian Waters, Panama Canal, etc)
b) The designated smoking areas must be provided with self extinguishing ash trays or filled with water.
c) The designated smoking areas must be provided with Automatic Gas Detection system and alarm.
d) Portholes and doors leading to the designated smoking areas must be closed at all times.
e) Shore facilities regulations must be observed at all times while transit & docked at the facility.

Prohibition of Using Fire except in Designated Areas and Control of Potential Ignition Sources:

At sea, the use of portable stoves and cooking appliances are to be effectively controlled. Ensure the portholes and doors are closed and confirm the safety and the absence of hydrocarbon gas before the use of fire.

Galley stoves:

The use of galley stoves or other cooking appliances that employ naked flames are prohibited, while the tanker is at berth.

The use of other portable electrical appliances are to be controlled.
Steam ranges may be used all the time while the vessel is at berth.
In this case, the galley personnel must be instructed and trained in emergency procedures in the safe operation of galley equipment.
Oil / Fat fryers are to be fitted with thermostats to cut-off electrical power and so to prevent accidental fires.
Fire blankets are to be readily available.

Electric heaters in pantries:

Electric heaters (hot plates, toasters or the like) must be fixed at limited and designated positions only. Never use them if inflammable gas comes into the accommodation or there is a danger that gas is likely to exist.

Standards for Use of Private Electric Appliances and other Portable Electrical Equipment

Visitors should be cautioned about the restricted use of Non-Approved Type of portable electrical equipment in the Dangerous Area on the Tanker.

Use of Electric appliances in private cabins, other than Entertainment systems, Calculators, Camera equipment and Electric razors are prohibited.

Hand Held UHF / VHF portable transceivers must be of intrinsically safe type.

Other equipment, including, but not limited to Portable radios, Tape recorders, Electronic calculators, Portable telephones or pagers, etc unless of Intrinsically Safe Type, shall not be used on the cargo tank deck, or in areas where flammable gas may be present.


No Wiring without Permission

Only fixed receptacles, as initially fitted onboard, are to be used for connecting electric appliances.

Closing Portholes and doors

With the exception of the designated authorized passage way(s), all portholes and doors leading to/from the accommodation must be closed in port.

To further minimize the possibility of gas entering the accommodation during cargo operations, as far as possible the access to accommodation should be limited to the leeward side (opposite to the manifold connection) entrance to accommodation, above the Main / Upper deck level.

Riveted Shoes Prohibited

Do not use metal riveted shoes and the like on board the vessel.

Use of Body Electrostatic Discharge Plate

Prior to exiting the accommodation, the Electrostatic Discharge Plate, where fitted, should be touched to discharge any accumulated static electricity.

If the handle of an entrance door in grounded, do not put on gloves on going in and out at the door.

Control of personnel in cargo tank deck areas

Personnel entering the cargo tank deck area, should be suitably clothed with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and should be in all sobriety with respect to the purpose.

Attention to Visitors

Control of visitors onboard is to be in accordance with the access control and other procedures laid out within the Ship Security Plan.

They shall be guided by the notices as displayed at the point of entrance

Only allow authorized visitors onto the vessel upon presentation of photo ID.

Instruct visitors to adhere to the vessels prohibition to bring matches or lighters onboard, and to comply with the vessels smoking restrictions.

All visitors shall be escorted from the gangway to the accommodation entrance.

No visitor is permitted to walk around the main deck/cargo area without escort by vessel personnel.

Precautions when storing Spontaneously Combustible Materials

Materials which may cause spontaneous combustion (saw dust, oily rags, especially oil of vegetable origin, etc). must be stored in a well ventilated area to prevent the accumulation of flammable gases. They are liable to ignite without the external application of heat, as a result of gradual heating within the material produced by oxidation.

This effect is further enhanced where material is stored in warm areas, e.g. proximity of hot pipes, etc.

Waste rags, saw dust, or any similar absorbent material must not be stowed in the same compartment as oils, paints, etc.

They should not be left lying on decks or equipment and should be stored or disposed effectively.

Certain chemicals, such as those used for boiler treatment are also oxidizing agents and, although carried in diluted form, are capable of spontaneous combustion if permitted to evaporate. Refer Procedures for Handling Chemicals and Hazardous Wastes

The containers used for storage shall be kept covered and should not be stored together with flammable materials.

Precautions against Sparks from Funnel

At sea, where sparks / burning soot are observed being emitted from the funnel, measures to avoid such sparks falling on deck such as course alteration, where possible, should be considered. Any special operations such as cargo tank cleaning, purging and gas freeing operations should be ceased and all tank opening closed.

Boiler tubes should be soot blown prior to arrival and after departure from a port. Boiler tubes soot blowing should not be carried out at berth. At sea, the officer of navigational watch should be consulted, prior to such activity, and suitable measures adopted.

Duty deck personnel shall watch for sparks or soot emitting from the funnel.

If sparks from the funnel are observed, the duty engineer or Chief Engineer must be notified immediately.


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