The correct use of spectacle pieces highlighted – released by the Shipowners’ Club
In this case a vessel was discharging a cargo of premium grade petrol from No 1 port and starboard cargo tanks. Shortly after commencing operations the high level alarm of the port side slop tank sounded. It was noted that some of the cargo being discharged had migrated to this tank instead of being discharged ashore, causing a shortage of 64, 000 litres between the bill of lading figure and the cargo received by the terminal. A protest note was issued to the vessel’s Master by the cargo inspectors.
It was noted that the cargo was accidently transferred to the port slop tank through a hand operated butterfly valve. This type of valve cannot be guaranteed to be 100% tight. According to the Master’s statement the transfer occurred due to the failure of the open/close mimic indicator of the valve concerned. A spectacle piece was positioned in the line after the butterfly valve, but remained un-swung in the open position. During the subsequent investigation it transpired that the vessel’s crew found it difficult to keep changing the position of the spectacle piece. The importance of this equipment being used correctly cannot be underestimated as it is the last defence for containing cargo if it leaks or passes through the valve positioned ahead. Consideration should be given to supplying vessels with a compressed air driven spanner to ease this operational procedure. In this case the Member inserted a gate valve prior to the butterfly valve concerned, to prevent similar types of incidents from occurring in the future.
FINANCIAL COST: US$ 26, 047