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Survey Documentation - General Information & Guidelines

Manual gauging of vessels is recommended for all marine cargo inspections.  All Volumetric measurements performed on marine vessels should be done in accordance with MPMS Ch 17.2.  It is important that all temperatures be taken while gauging.  When inerted vessels are in involved, all interested parties must participate in determining whether the vessel's compartments will be opened for manual measurements and sampling.  These instructions are normally conveyed to the vessel's master by the charter party via a letter, telex, telefax or other appropriate means.

If the vessel's master, contrary to agreements, declines to depressurize the vessel's compartments, all interested parties should be so informed.  A letter of protest should be issued to the master or his representative at the time of the disagreement.  Reasons given for the refusal to depressurize should be listed on the letter of protest.

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If the instructions issued require the vessel's tanks to be kept closed and if no means are available to take measurements or samples through vapour lock access points, then close reconciliation of vessel/shore quantities may be impossible.  Readings from automatic gauging equipment should be recorded.

All responsible parties should be informed if any of the gauging equipment or tank or meter facilities have a known bias.  Documentation of these deviations should be available for inspection by all responsible parties and must be used in preparing volume reconciliation.  Possibilities for known bias errors include (but not limited to) water, snow, ice or debris on floating roof tanks.

Measuring processes and procedures should be performed by adequately trained personnel only.  If the procedures cannot be performed for any reason (such as a breach of a safe environment or due to physical constraints, governmental or terminal restrictions, conflicts against contractual agreements or any other problems), the inspection report should include a complete, detailed explanation.  Measurement personnel are responsible for ensuring the use of proper safety, measurement and sampling equipment (intrinsically safe).

The vessel's master and/or designated representative and shore supervisory personnel should be familiar with the scope of the cargo inspection procedures and aware of the safety procedures unique to the product being transferred (such as presence of H2S in cargo).  And in this respect, copies of the relevant documents should be available for reference on board and ashore.

If simultaneous ballasting or de-ballasting must be performed during cargo operations, this should be recorded in the inspection report with reasons and comments on the degree of segregation that was maintained throughout the operation.

All the procedures described and recommended shall be accomplished with strict adherence to the safety requirements that are specified in the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals; API RP 2003, the Inert Flue Gas Safety Guide as amended from time to time, or other specific requirements by owners, operators and state and federal authorities.  Applicable state and federal regulations must also be obeyed.  Careful attention must be given while sampling and manual gauging to the relaxation time and other safety requirements for most petroleum cargoes that can accumulate a static charge.

The shipment of petroleum products requires stringent quality control during the loading, transport, and discharge operations.  Consequently, it is important to determine whether a vessel is suitable to the shipper's compatibility criteria so that the product will not be contaminated or safety of personnel or cargo compromised.

Safety procedures designated by the employer, the vessel's operator and other concerned parties must also be observed at all times.  The International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals and appropriate Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and API publications should be consulted for additional safety information.

Petroleum vapours and associated substances including hydrogen sulfide may cause unconsciousness or even death.  During and after the opening of the gauge hatch, all personnel should stand far enough away and giving due consideration to the wind direction, to minimize the risk of inhalation of vapours.

Since toxic vapours or oxygen deficiency cannot be detected safely by smell, visual inspection or judgement, appropriate precautions should be taken to ensure protection.

Provisions should be made for appropriate exposure monitoring, protective equipment for personnel and emergency rescue procedures.  When it is necessary, personnel should have suitable respiratory protection prior to entering the gauge site and during the gauging procedure.  The protection equipment should be examined for validity and for effective its time of use.

Physical Characteristics & Fire Considerations

Personnel who handle petroleum-related substances, as well as other chemical materials, should be familiar with their physical and chemical characteristics including, the potential risk of fire, explosion and reactivity - and with the potential risk of toxicity and other health hazards with their respective emergency procedures.

Personnel should be alert to avoid potential sources of ignition and should keep containers of materials closed when not in use.

API publications 2217 and 2026 any any applicable regulations should be consulted when sampling requires entry into confined spaces.

Information regarding particular materials and conditions should be obtained from the employer, the manufacturer or the supplier of the material or from the material safety data sheet and adequately studied before it is handled or even approached.

Sections of text taken from API - MPMS Chapter 17 Marine Measurement

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