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Most of BLT Chembulk Group bunkering is taking place in Singapore. Singapore is the one of the
most active and convenient port for bunker supply. In recent year Singapore bunker industry has
been improving so much in term of quality and quantity compare to the old day. It is because of
Singapore MPA’s effort and hard work to improve their bunker industry. The MPA has tightened the
bunkering procedure; they have CP 60 as well as other regulation to ensure proper bunkering in
Singapore. However, even though the procedure has been tightened, we may see some bunker
tanker are still trying to play their tricks, therefore it is very important for Chief Engineer and vessel’s
crew to know well their tricks.

Below are the Tricks of Bunker Supply, trust that most of our Chief Engineers might known the trick
very well, or even know more other tricks. Hopefully by knowing these tricks we can do some
prevention, counteract or countermeasure to protect our interest:

    1. Manipulating the sounding result:
       It is very easy for the bunker barge operator to manipulate the sounding result.

        Counteract/Countermeasure: Chief Engineer or bunker surveyor appointed should sound the
        bunker barge tanks himself

    2. Slacken the tape when doing the sounding:
       By allowing the tape to be slackened during opening soundings, it is possible to show a
       higher bunker wetted level on the measuring tape than what is really true (1-2 cm). This
       gives an inflated opening quantity in the bunker barge tanks. By doing this over several
       tanks, the total volume ‘measured’ can become significant on the opening sounding.

            If this trick observed then do resounding
            Chief Engineer or bunker surveyor appointed should sound the bunker barge tanks

    3. Improper sounding tape used for sounding the bunker barge tanks
          a. Bunker barge usually has few sounding tape, some of the bunker tapes are
              improper. The bunker barge operator will see our vessel representative which will
              come to bunker barge for opening and closing sounding. If they find that our vessel
              representative seems to have lack of self confidence then they may start to use their
              improper sounding tape
          b. Sounding Bobs from tapes have been switched over
          c. Non-linear tapes
              Measuring tapes can be tampered at section near the sounding bob or anywhere
              along the length of the tape. Measuring tape also can be cut and rejoined which
              resulting a non – linear tape. The section along the tape that is cut and rejoined is
              likely to be where the section of the tape is immersed in the bunker oil in the tank.
               Bunker surveyors must use their own certified tapes to avoid the above
               If bunker barge tapes used, check and observe the sounding tapes carefully
                  before used

4. Tank gauging
   a. Improper gauging or manipulation by bunker barge due to there is no our vessel’s crew
      present and witnessing all bunker barge tanks gauging
   b. Manipulating the recorded soundings. The sounding result is not recorder properly,
      written only in piece of paper or left to memory, the actual sounding can be changed
      without being aware by vessel’s crew

           As per Singapore CP 60 bunker procedure, the vessel’s representative i.e. Chief
              Engineer should present and witnessing the bunker barge open and close
           The recorder sounding written down in the gauging ticket immediately and
              distributed to all parties promptly i.e. bunker barge operator, vessel’s crew, and
              appointed surveyor (if any)

5. Temperature measurement trick
   a. Bunker barge declares that the bunker temperature is constant and with value midway
      between the actual opening and closing temperature in order to maximize his ‘gain’ on
      the VCF correction
   b. Bunker barge under-declaring the opening sounding temperature
   c. Bunker barge over-declaring the closing sounding temperature

           Always take temperature measurement in the bunker barge tanks before
              pumping start (opening) and after pumping finished (closing)
           Use the correct VCF which correspondence to the Table 54 B

   Example of temperature issue:

   Before bunkering:

          Let’s assume 1,000 m3 of bunkers was ordered
          The bunker receipt declared density shows 0.890 gm/ml
          The temperature was not taken by the ship’s crew before pumping started
          Actual bunker temperature prior to pumping is 50 deg C

   Actual bunker temperature 50 deg C
   From ASTM table 54B, VCF = 0.9724
   Corrected volume @15 deg C = 972.4 m3
    Barge claims temperature is 40 deg C
    ASTM table 54B, the VCF = 0.980 m3
    Corrected volume @15 deg C = 980.3 m3
    Therefore, by under-declaring temperature the barge gain 7.9 m3

    After bunkering:

           Let’s assume 1,000 m3 of bunkers was ordered
           The bunker receipt declared density shows 0.890 gm/ml
           The temperature was not taken by the ship’s crew after pumping
           Actual bunker temperature after pumping is 30 deg C

    Actual bunker temperature 30 deg C
    From ASTM table 54B, VCF = 0.9882
    Corrected volume @15 deg C = 988.2 m3
    Barge claims temperature is 40 deg C
    ASTM table 54B, the VCF = 0.980 m3
    Corrected volume @15 deg C = 980.3 m3

    Therefore, by over-declaring temperature the barge gain 7.9 m3
    In total the Bunker Barge gained = 7.9 m3 + 7.9 m3 = 16.8 m3

6. Bunker sampling caution
   The sampling point on the bunker barge is on one side of the Y piece only. The other side of
   the Y piece may be used to cutter stock or waste oil into vessel’s tanks.

           Always take samples at the point of custody transfer i.e our vessel’s manifold

7. ‘Fixed’ tank calibration tables
   The bunker barge use incorrect and or improper or ‘fixed’ tank calibration tables

         Check the calibration table carefully
         If any doubt make a copy and ask for the endorsement/certification

8. Pipe inserted in sounding pipe
   Some modification in the bunker barge i.e. pipe inserted in the sounding pipe

           Check and observe properly, resounding and try to avoid to sounding inside the
           inserted pipe
    9. Inter tanks transfer
       During opening gauge the bunker barge is gravitating from high level to low level means the
       same oil is sounded again

               Always start the opening sounding in the bunker barge from the aft side tanks to
               fore side tanks. As example, the bunker barge tanks are: 1p,1s,2p,2s,3p, and 3s.
               The opening sounding should start in this sequence:3p-3s-2p-2s-1p-1s

    10. Zero dip & unpumpable
        a. Zero sounding may not be zero volume
        b. Substantial unpumpable may exist

               Do not accept the tanks are empty, check the bunker tanker calibration table to see
               the unpumpable shown

    11. Pre sign sample labels
        a. In 8 out of 10 cases the Chief Engineer pre signed the sample labels at the request of the
            bunker barge cargo officer
        b. The labels are later stuck onto samples that have been prepared in advance and have no
            relevance to the bunkering

                Never ever pre sign the sample labels
                Vessel’s crew must witnessing the sampling till the sampling labeling all the time

Beside the above trick the bunker barge operatore quite often:

    a. Treats and physical abuse
    b. Stalemate – pilot on board
    c. Doing cappuccino effect

In this case vessel maintain the stance and may lodge a letter of protest and put a remark in the
bunker Delivery receipt and or ullage calculation.

Writter do hope above will be useful for our knowledge as well as a guidance on the
counteract/counter measure to be taken whenever we face these tricks in the field.

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