News 26 Apr, 2013

UAE - Bunker Spillages at Saqr Port, Ras Al-Khaimah

The Club has become aware of an unusually high number of bunker spills recently in Saqr Port, Ras Al-Khaimah. In most cases it would seem that the spillage has occurred when bunkers have been received from road tankers ashore at the time of disconnecting the road tanker’s hose from the vessel’s bunkering manifold.

In the event of such an occurrence the local Port Authority imposes fines on both the supplier and receiver, regardless of who was responsible for the spill. The Saqr Port Authority schedule of charges dated 1 April 2013, states that for “Pollution of seawater whilst bunkering / de-bunkering” the fine imposed is “AED 10,000 to unlimited” (approximately USD 2,700 or more). In one recent case an owner was ordered to pay just over USD 40,000 to release the vessel.

If a bunker spill occurs, the local Port Authority will not accept a Club Letter of Undertaking (LOU) and will insist on a payment guarantee from the vessel’s local agent prior to approving clearance to sail.

Members planning to bunker vessels at Saqr Port are advised to ensure that crewmembers are alerted to the circumstances surrounding the recent spills. When preparing to disconnect bunker lines the crew should check that the supply hose is fully drained prior to disconnection, and they should not rely solely on the supplier’s assertions that the hose is ready to be disconnected. Drip trays should also be positioned so as to collect any residue that may remain in the supply hose, and overboard scuppers and gaps in fish plates should be secured in the usual manner to prevent the escape of any oil. As far as practicable Members should also consider including suitable clauses in the bunker supply contract to protect their interests.

Further general guidance on bunkering activities and a detailed bunkering checklist may be found in the Club’s Loss Prevention Bulletin Bunkering Procedures. Members requiring further assistance should contact the Loss Prevention department.