Bunker Shortage Investigation

Bunker shortage investigation

At the middle of the night, Constellation Marine Surveyors operation manager got a call from one of our client’s requesting us to investigate the cause of shortage in received bunker of HFO on one of their vessels lying at Fujairah anchorage. Understanding the client’s commercial pressure our independent marine surveyor immediately went from our Fujairah branch to the port to board the service boat within 15 minutes of nomination. The scope of job was to ascertain the facts of the alleged discrepancy in bunker quantity between supplied quantity by the bunker barge and quantity received by the vessel.

Bunker shortage investigation -Observation by surveyor

On arrival at Fujairah anchorage our marine surveyor observed the bunker barge still remaining moored alongside the vessel. We boarded the vessel met the Master and Chief Engineer and explained our purpose of visit.

Thereafter the undersigned Bunker Surveyor at Fujairah anchorage carried out gauging of all bunker tanks of receiving vessel and calculated ROB on board with comparison to Engine Room Log book ROB and with provided initial bunker sounding report claiming that the ship had received 55 MT less than declared by the bunker barge.

Bunker shortage investigation -cappuccino effect

Master informed to our Bunker surveyor that during the bunkering intake that the bunker barge was pumping air, giving the “cappuccino effect bunkers” received. In proof of that he provided the photos taken from open tank manhole with evidence of froth on the top of the quantity received tanks for which master issued the LOP ( Letter Of Protest) with the assistance of our Bunker investigator Krishna Divakara Shenoy. Before bunkering the ship’s crew invited the barge representatives to check their bunker tanks however they refused to come on board, which is the normal practice followed by the supplying vessel, thereafter receiving vessel officials boarded the bunker barge for the gauging of cargo tanks and the same was carried out and ROB ascertained. Master also told our certified Marine Surveyor that the request to check the non-cargo tanks was not permitted by the barge crew and for this refusal the receiving ship master has also issued LOP.

Thereafter our certified Bunker surveyor boarded the bunker barge along with ships officials and carried out inspection as per surveyor company checklist. Missing quantity was noted not to be in the cargo tanks, and sounding table provided was a copy and original reportedly not found on board.

On our request to provide last discharge closing figures the same records were reportedly not available on board, immediately we have requested the bunker company by email to provide last closing figures which was in the morning time. However no response was received. In “Non-cargo tank declaration/pre-delivery form” barge had declared only certain amount of MGO present on board and which was also declared in bunker barge Engine Room log book. During inspection of Engine Room bunker tanks we noted service and settling tanks top full with HFO as usual it kept 2/3 for safety reasons (expansion due to temperature etc.) and one of the declared empty “MGO bunker tanks with HFO presence” .On calculating the bunkers we found 55 MT of HFO which was matching with short declared quantity by the receiving vessel.

After a prolonged discussion the Bunker barge revised BDR figure to the ships receiving figure saving to our client thousand of dollars.

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