The Master, in consultation with the Chief Engineer, shall ensure that the bunker fuel(s) when taken are in accordance with the fuel specification relating to the particular ship's engines and auxiliary machinery and as described in the vessels charter party. In particular the bunker receipt should be examined prior to delivery to ensure that the viscosity and density stated are suitable for the vessels heating and fuel treatment equipment.

The Chief Engineer is responsible for and must personally supervise bunkering to minimise the risk of pollution, ensure the correct quantities of each grade are loaded and impose correct procedures.

Bunkering operations must always be carried out in accordance with the IMO manual on oil pollution prevention and with a check-list developed for your ship.


Pre-delivery arrangements

The Chief Engineer is to properly plan for the receipt of fuels as below.

Identify which tanks are to be used and ensure that these are as empty as practically possible. (NOTE : mixing of fuels from different deliveries should be avoided wherever possible; with this in view nearly full tanks should be topped up prior to arrival to reduce the number of tanks to be bunkered).

  • advise the supplier that for instance Unitas Petroleum Services will be analysing a representative sample and invite the supplier to take part in joint sampling
  • fill in the VPS form "Request to witness sampling" and obtain the signature of suppliers representative. It is important that the name of the representative is legible. Also make sure of his identity (who is he representing ?)
  • if the suppliers representative refuses to witness the sampling, enter this fact into the logbook, and make appropriate remark on bunker receipt
  • prepare VPS bottles and labels (but do not sign in advance) and also make the sample box ready for dispatch (as a vessel may be leaving shortly after completion of bunkering)
  • complete the VPS Report Sheet which is to be sent with the fuel sample

If on board test kits are available they shall be used to check viscosity and density of a barge or tank sample before delivery commences. If repeated test indicate that the fuel is not as stated on the delivery receipt contact the vessel's owners - DO NOT ACCEPT THE FUEL IF IT CANNOT BE TREATED OR USED ON THE VESSEL.

When taking Diesel Oil bunkers, drip samples must also be taken. Samples should be retained for three months, however samples need not to be sent for analysis unless there is a reason to believe that the DO taken does not correspond to acceptable standards.

Bunker Spillage Prevention

Agreed quantities and an agreed pumping rate for bunker transfer to the vessel for each grade should be confirmed with supplier in writing and an established means of communication for stoppage agreed to eliminate spillage. All deck scuppers to be plugged / sealed as appropriate.

Safety precautions During Bunkering

The Chief Engineer is responsible for the bunkering operation and should observe at all times the safety procedures during bunkering activities and should read and apply the appropriate National Regulations and Codes of Practices.

  1. Regulations regarding the entry into hazardous areas should be strictly observed
  2. Smoking and naked lights are prohibited in the vicinity of the bunkering operations, including sounding and air vent pipe openings
  3. Lamps and torches used at bunkering positions shall be of an approved safety type.

Bunkering Delivery Note


Prior to commencing taking bunkers, a written statement on the bunker delivery note must be received from the suppliers indicating at least viscosity, density, pour point, water content, flash point and fuel delivery temperature for volumetric quantity calculations. If this statement is not forthcoming by the supplier, the Chief Engineer should advise the Company immediately and Charter's Agent accordingly by writing a "letter of protest".

Any statement at this stage is not proof of bunker quality delivered on board at the manifold but the suppliers indication of fuel parameters supplied from the refiner / storage tanks.


Before signing the bunker delivery note it must be stamped with the vessels "NO LIEN" stamps. A copy of the bunker note should be retained on board and a copy sent to the Head Office. The bunker receipt should be signed with the following statement "signed for volume at temperature only. Determination of quantity will be made upon receipt of full fuel analysis results". A copy of the Bunker delivery note is also to be enclosed with the fuel sample sent to for instance Unitas Petroleum Services.

For chartered vessels the Chief Engineer is to sign the bunker delivery receipt "received on behalf of Charterers Messrs . ......".

Bunker Fuel Sampling Procedures

  • Drip sampling at the appropriate manifold on board should start at the very beginning of bunker loading to the ship and complete at stoppage of loading thus representing an average sample of the fuel loaded. Individual samples taken by the above method are to be collected for each barge delivery
  • The introduction of the smallest quantity of foreign matter into oil samples will severely affect the accuracy of the analysis and the following recommendations should be observed : All sampling equipment should be cleaned before use. The use of aluminium or rusty steel containers is to be avoided
  • Collections and handling of samples should be carried out with clean hands by one designated person
  • Cloths used during operation should be clean and lint free
  • Adequate precautions to prevent dirt, rain water, salt or contamination of samples by other extraneous material is essential
  • Bunker lines should be drained as soon as possible after each grade is loaded to avoid consequences of fuels remaining in the line which could lead to future mixing or affect purity of samples. In addition high pour point / viscosity fuel may block unheated loading lines.
  • A minimum of 5 liters of sample over the Bunkering period should be collected for each grade and regulated manually by the drip sample needle valve. These manifold drip sample connections should be installed as near as possible to the ship / shore bunker connections onboard enabling samples to be drawn irrespective of which side the vessel bunkers. The type of drip sample connection is illustrated in the VPS Instruction Manual. To ensure samples are identical in quality, the collecting container should be thoroughly mixed prior to official sample bottles being filled and sealed.
  • The sample bottles and packaging will meet the requirements of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations for carriage of marine fuel samples and classed as "not restricted" flash point above 60.5 c on the label supplied. Sample bottles should be filled to a maximum of 90 % capacity to allow for volumetric variations
  • Three sample bottles should be filled for each loading, sealed witnessed by supplier and Chief Engineer, and labelled accordingly for distribution as follows:
    1. 1 sample to remain on board
    2. 1 sample to forward via the Agent to be dispatched to VPS on an urgent priority basis. Address, customs declaration and sample labels should be completed prior to dispatch. (Full details are provided in the VPS instruction manual)
    3. 1 sample given to the fuel supplier
    4. Sample a) will be retained for 90 days then may be disposed of unless advised by the office for reasons such as handling problems, engine damage, pumping purification problems, or pending investigations.

Delivery Precautions

In certain deliveries when large quantities of blended bunkers are supplied, barges will transfer bunkers by the following methods :

  1. from one tank on board the barge which is already blended
  2. from different tanks on board the barge and blending occurs during transfer through their metering equipment
  3. the vessel receives calculated quantities of different grades separately and blending occurs in the bunker tanks on board. THIS METHOD IS NOT ACCEPTABLE and the Chief Engineer should check with the barge before loading bunkers that a correct blending method is to be used

The bunker supply source meters or tank soundings must be sighted and readings taken before and after bunkers are taken. This will allow comparison of ship / shore figures on quantifies loaded to be compared. If the bunkers are not of the quality or quantity requested, a letter of protest should be delivered to the bunker supplier, holding them responsible for any consequence which might arise out of their failure to supply bunkers of appropriate quantity or quality.


Fuel Storage

Wherever possible, do not use bunkers until satisfactory analysis data have been received. Allowances should be made for voyages to carry enough known quality fuel on board while awaiting results which normally averages 7 calendar days.>

Do not allow parcels of bunkers to be stored on board for long periods (e.g. for trim purposes) as there may be a tendency to stratification of deterioration.

Heating of Storage Tanks

When in colder sea temperatures heating coils should be used to avoid promotion of wax crystals and allow ease of transfer to Engine Room settling tanks.

Fuel held in storage setting and service tanks should be heated to allow ease of pumping and settlement.

Minimum heating in accordance with fuel analysis data should be applied.

Bunker Fuel Treatment

Fuel treatment by chemical additives is not to be used on board to alleviate handling of combustion problems unless advised by technical department.

Before burning in the engine or boilers all bunkers must pass through the purification / separation plant on board the vessel. Careful attention must be paid in keeping this plant at peak operating efficiency and all associated recommended operating parameters such as preheat temperature, flow rate, gravity disc size must be adhered to and constantly monitored.

Settling and service tanks are to be checked for water by quick action tank sludge cocks on a watch basis, (or 3 times per day on some types of ships). Should any excessive water be present, the Chief engineer must confirm they are intact.

Problems when Using or Treating Bunkers

Should you experience any problems with handling (such as excessive sludging) engine performance deterioration or damage when using bunkers it must be reported to technical department immediately.


Log book entries are to be made with respect to all fuel deliveries, recording times, barge names, suppliers and quantity loaded. Any letters of protest must be filed for easy reference. Daily records of fuel transfer and quantities held in each fuel tank at noon are to be maintained.

In case of main or auxiliary engine damage which is considered to be fuel related it is essential that detailed written accounts of the incident are made.

Additional fuel samples from within the fuel network should be obtained to support any claim. All such samples must be correctly labelled with dates, times, locations and signed by the Chief engineer.

Any engine components which have been removed from service due to damage are to be retained on board and correctly labelled for future reference.