Bunker fuel is stored in bunker tanks. These tanks come in varied shapes, capacities, and sizes depending on the trade and construction of the ship. Understanding where and how to store fuel in the Dominican Republic will help you with utilization and safety. Fuel is stored in various tanks to be used on demand by the engine through piping systems. Here are some considerations to make to ensure successful storage of bunker fuel:
Heat the Storage Tanks
All fuel storage tanks need to be heated in some form. Often, heating is done through steam which comes from an oil-fired boiler via coils available in the tanks. Using thermal oil is another option which uses heat by circulating oil through coils in the interior of the tank. The temperatures usually regulate and adjust automatically but it is necessary to physically monitor and adjust them accordingly.
The Bunker Capacity
Every ship has a max capacity. Even sister ships can have different bunker capacity due to minor changes in design. The maximum storage capacity of bunkering is also different and should be clearly indicated in the safety measures of a company. In most instances, you will find bunkering capacity to be between 85 to 90 percent and it could still vary. These tanks need to allow space for expansion due to heat.
Modern ships are fixed with two settling tanks which allow for two kinds of bunker oil; one with low sulfur content and another with high sulfur content for use in places without sulfur restrictions. Once settling tanks are filled, they are then heated to temperatures of about 72 degrees Celsius or 6 degrees under the flash point.
As a safety measure, bunker fuels should never be heated above their flash-point. There should also be proper insulation to ensure there is no loss of heat. Once the temperature of the bunker fuel is at the optimal temperature, make sure you shut down the heat source.
Heating should be done periodically because the settling tanks lose heat constantly. You will also need to regularly remove sludge and water. Additionally, heavy weather calls for the tanks to be drained because if it is neglected, it could lead to the engine stopping.
Put Safety First
It is very risky to heat Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) which might be in the bunker fuel when heating. When exposed to vapor concentrations it emits toxic gas into the air which smells like rotten eggs. When in high concentration, this gas causes headaches, loss of smell, dizziness, and can even lead to death if you are continually exposed.
This gas is usually formed during the refining process and can be in liquid or gas fuel. You can easily be exposed to this gas and for this reason, guidelines to keep you safe have been clearly documented.
Service tanks are usually very useful in settling water and solids. This is meant to be a back-up in case the separators fail. Modern ships are fitted with two service tanks as opposed to the conventional single service tank. This is meant to meet the regulations by authorities and make the changeover an easy process. This is applicable to fuel in the Dominican Republic and various areas around the world.