Wednesday, January 27, 2016

FTV What is Bunkering?

Bunkering with the Fuel Barge
To wrap up the three days we spent in Panama City, we will be anchored off the coast to bunker.
Bunkering is when the ship refuels. It is like going to a gas station for a car, but when we are in the ocean a fuel barge comes up alongside and we transfer fuel with large fuel hoses. This process takes about 8 hours, as we fill 5 different tanks. On board we have 10 fuel tanks, but we only 5 are empty. 
When we are fueling we will have two licensed engineers on with about 10 to 15 cadets. Total we have 4 licensed engineers and 25 to 30 cadets. We have so many people because some of the cadets take the soundings of the tanks, or act as recorders, and runners. The cadet sounders have to listen to the bobber in the tank and take the reading of how much fuel is in the tanks. The recorders simply record the information that the sounder takes. Then the runner tells the senior scorekeeper the data. 

The scorekeeper keeps track of how much fuel is in each tank and tells the PIC (person in charge).
This entire process will take about 8 hours, and the cadets and engineers man their posts in shifts of 2-4 hours.

During this refueling the on duty cadets are stationed either in the engine room or out on deck to monitor and open valves. When we open different valves we are able to move the fuel oil to the correct tanks. One of the one of the licensed engineers monitors everything. The outside deck jobs are looking for burps. Just like what a human does a burp can happen when the tanks are getting full or if
there is an air pocket. Some cadets are monitoring the different vents outside to clean up any fuel that is burped out.
 A Bunkering Station
The most important watch site during bunkering is the HFO (heavy fuel oil) manifold. The HFO manifold is the site at which the fuel hose is attached to the vessel. There is a licensed engineer and cadets that man this for the whole bunkering process as well.

Bunkering may not be rocket science, but it does have to be done correctly so that we can avoid harming the environment and our crew. The biggest error seen in bunkering is usually human error so everyone has to be on top of their game to prevent the bad things from happening.

After the bunkering is complete we will be departing and making our way to the equator for our Shellback!

Until then,


Fun Facts:
  • Today we took on about 5400 barrels of fuel at $27.00 apiece.
  • We burn about 2000 gallons every 4 hours under way
  • And there are 42 gallons in one barrel of fuel
Exploring Fuel Economy and the Environment
Transportation Fuels
Comparing Fuel Economy
 The fuel we take on is heavy fuel; very black and as thick as molasses. In order to pump it up into our tank, it has to be heated up to 110 degrees; this way it flows more easily. If the heaters in the barge weren't working, it could take a very long time to get the fuel to move. When bunkering in colder water, It is necessary to get  the flow rate adjusted in order to get our voyage back on the move.

Substances tend to decrease in viscosity, or become more fluid, as temperature increases. 
Flowability Tests of Various Liquids
Fish, Fossils and Fuel

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