Back to Main Page ----- Back to Chapter 3


To prevent over pressure of cargo tanks, the pressure/vacuum (P/V), valves must be properly set, or inert gas system (IGS), vents correctly adjusted when loading begins. The venting procedure used must comply with the method indicated to the shore terminal. The objective of the venting system procedure is to disperse the gasses and prevent an explosive mixture from forming on or near the ship.

3.15.1 P/V valve setting
Tankers without IGS, which will closed-load cargo, must manually lift the P/V relief valve weights (using the handwheel or lever provided), to permit free exhaust of the tank atmosphere while the tanks are filling.
Immediately after a tank has completed loading, its P/V valve should be reset to the normal position.
Both operations are important. If the valves are not lifted for loading, a cargo tank may be over pressured, causing structural damage to the deck. If the valves are not reset after loading, significant vapour losses will occur. Both operations should be completed using a checklist and verified by a second independent check. Enter both inspections in the log book.

3.15.2 Inert gas system
The cargo tanks on IGS ships should be fully inerted before loading begins and throughout the loading, with the system pressurised to between 500 and 800 mm water gauge. Several tanks should be checked using an oxygen analyser to verify that the cargo tanks contain 8% or less oxygen. The IGS plant is then shut down and the deck isolation valve closed. It should not be necessary to operate the IGS plant during loading.
The IGS vent valve(s) should be opened just before or immediately after loading begins and used to maintain an appropriate pressure on the IGS system throughout the loading operation. The IGS pressure should not exceed 1400 mm (2 psig), at any time.
The liquid levels in the deck water seal and the P/V breaker, and the proper function of the IGS deck non-return valve, should be verified before loading begins. The effects of over-pressuring the cargo tank vent system may be loss of liquid from the P/V breaker and the deck water seal. The cargo officer must understand the actions required if this occurs.

3.15.3 IGS tank block valves
Most tankers with IGS are provided with valves or blinds which can be used to shut off IGS flow to the individual tanks. Each of these valves must be verified to be open before loading commences. If the vessel is CCR operated, there may be no indication of the position of these valves in the CCR. In that case, each valve must be verified to be open during the pre-loading inspection and confirmed open by the deck watch before loading any tank can begin. An IGS valve position status board should be located in the CCR and carefully maintained.

3.15.4 Vent valve defects
Any defect in vent valve operation requires immediate attention. The valves must be maintained in perfect condition to prevent tank damage due to over pressure or vacuum. Leaking vent valves can permit oxygen to enter the tanks (a safety/explosion hazard), or cargo vapours to escape (with resulting cargo loss claim). Leaking valves make it difficult to maintain required minimum IGS pressure and cause extra running of the IGS system.

3.15.5 Vapour return lines
Some ports require the recovery of vapour expelled from cargo tanks while loading. Ships loading at such ports must have a vent collector system and a manifold connection for the shore vapour recovery hose. The vent system valves are adjusted and all P/V valves set to the automatic (or voyage), position so that gasses expelled as loading proceeds are displaced ashore. On shore, the hydrocarbon vapours are condensed and recovered as liquids. The shore terminal pre-transfer inspection and checklist must include verification that the vapour receiving system is lined up correctly. The chief officer should verify that this item appears on the shore declaration of inspection.

page top
Hosted by uCoz