Ship surveyors Fujairah

Blog | Ship Surveyors Fujairah


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Marine Cargo Pre-loading Survey and Inspection

Marine Cargo Pre-loading Survey and Inspection – Pre-loading Cargo Inspection Procedure

Marine Cargo Pre-loading Survey and Inspection:Constellation Marine Services as ship and cargo surveyors would like to bring to the attention of the shipping community the benefits of appointing the survey Company M/s. Constellation Marine Services to carry out a pre-loading inspection of the cargo /container during loading the cargo into an export container. Constellation Marine Services  have extensively  trained their staff surveyors  to prepare them to carry out the job they are assigned by protecting the interest of the party they are representing and ensuring safety of the cargo during transit.

Upon receiving an enquiry from a customer by Constellation Marine Services, the scope of the job is discussed and confirmed before sending the quotation. Once the quotation is approved and nomination is confirmed. The job is assigned to a competent surveyor from the staff with detailed briefing on the scope and requirements to smoothly carry out the nominated job.

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In the recent past, much emphasis is being placed on Navigational Audits, now that this procedure forms a requirement of the TMSA and are becoming more and more common in other trades too, such as bulk and container carriers.

While the audit itself is extremely important, equally is the choice of surveyor and the company employed to have this carried out.

There is still a lacuna – There is currently NO INDUSTRY requirement NOR standard to audit navigational activities. A ship spends possibly 90% of its time underway at sea where navigation is the principle activity being undertaken, but unfortunately does not enjoy the same proportion of scrutiny.

It is only the Oil Majors through their TMSA initiative that make any reference to navigational audits and then these are not exactly requirements, nor do they specify frequency nor standard to be adopted.

Going further, for the world fleet, it is assumed that Navigation will be audited under the ISM Code requirements. The external auditors for the ISM DOC are normally Class Surveyors who are also normally from an Engineering background. As such they are hardly qualified to audit navigation. Ask yourself how many questions directed at Navigation were last brought up at your DOC audit?

In a similar way, the same auditors are responsible for auditing navigation during shipboard ISM SMC audits. The frequency of these audits is every two and a half years and in that time, there could have been 7 or more different Masters. A reliable finding can hardly be achieved. There is no requirement in the ISM Code for even to sail on the ships.

The vast majority of audits of navigation are limited to in port only, where the audit is based on records alone. Without intentionally trying to hide incomplete checks, ship’s officers may not be recording the true picture of what is happening and thus the audit results may be skewed.

It is thus imperative that independent Navigation audits must form part of a ship owners / managers risk assessment modality, and Constellation Marine services have the experience and wherewithal to assist prudent operators achieve the level of Navigation requirements to keep their ships and crew safe at sea.

Rarely it is understood that Navigation is a human activity – it falls squarely into the Human Element sector. One of the problems of audits is the best result a ship’s Master and crew can achieve is a score – therefore a more holistic approach to the audits are required – encouraging the ship’s Master and officers to feel professional about their own navigation.

Besides the exercise of filling up the standard adopted checklist, a more fruitful principal to adopt would be “far better a willing volunteer than a conscript”. To that end we think any shortcomings should be identified, the individuals and group (Bridge Team) shown what is wrong and why it is wrong and then allow them to put corrected practices in place. Policy or procedural “Non-Conformities” would be reported to the company for follow up. Deviations from existing shipboard procedures would be pointed out onboard and the opportunity to correct these given to the master’s and officers.

Our experience has shown we can create improvements from the bottom up rather than top down. Many officers have just never had the opportunity to see how things should be done properly or are aware of how they should be done.

Over the years, there have been numerous initiatives, both in technical developments and training. We now have sophisticated radars, ARPAs and AIS to assist in avoiding collision; we have GPS and ECDIS to provide continuous position indication and monitoring. We even have VDRs to record what is happening.

Training has been increased and now includes Bridge Team Management and even sophisticated CBT on some vessels.
But many of the navigational incidents are the result of a failure to implement basic navigational actions such as maintaining an “active” lookout, plot other vessels and determine if risk of collision exists – and take appropriate action according to the COLREGs.

Constellation Marine services believe Risk Management and auditing can be used as tools to monitor and/or improve individual skills as well as those of the whole bridge team. Improvements to existing Safety Management Systems can also be identified within an audit carried out holistically rather than mechanically.

Blog written by

Capt.Vispy Rusi Dadimaster- Master Mariner

Branch Manager Fujairah/Oman

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Marine Surveyor’s Role in issuing Hot and Cold Work Permit

The hot work permit will be required on-board the vessels or on the sites in case of doing the below,

• welding
• Cutting
• Grinding
• Brazing
• Hot riveting
• Similar activities causing flames or heating or sparks.

Constellation marine services is certified and approved company to do Hot and cold work with approved and qualified surveyors with experience on Hot and cold work by minimum 5 to 30 years following Health, Safety, Environment, IOSH & NEBOSH rules while conducting the inspection, When we (Constellation Marine Services) receive a nomination for Hot work permit will confirm the location, Scope and timing of the work, then will visit the vessel with full PPE and introduce ourselves to master, Chief Engineer, safety officer then start to inspect the location, Each location have its procedure to follow but will talk generally about our main check points for Hot Work,

• Fire watch, fire hose, fire extinguisher, fire blanket must be available and ready at the site continuously till completion of the work.
• The location must be clean and without any combustible materials.
• Hot work must be 0.5 M from any fuel tank, non-gas free tank or vents by minimum.
• The adjacent insulation must be removed for 0.5 m by minimum.
• Appropriate work signs and tags to be available.
• All deck opening and opened manholes work site must be barricaded.
• No Hot work during the bunkering of fuel or painting jobs
• If the hot work inside tank must be gas free and if fuel tank must be dry and fully cleaned, and proper ventilation, access and communication must be provided.
• If the hot work for pipes we have make sure the valves closed and pipe is empty from any liquid and water flushed
• If the work at height we have to check the scaffolding is solid and secured, scaffolding tag is provided or no, Proper working platform provided and the workers must wear the proper PPE with rope access to make sure in case of any problem he will not fail down.

The cold work permit will be required on-board the vessels or on the sites in case of doing any Non-routine activates such as below jobs,

• Painting
• Overhauling of Engines, Generators…. etc.
• Blasting
• Work at height

In the cold work requirement constellation surveyor are diligently check all the required point to keep the work area and workers safe form accidents or injuries and as mentioned before each activity have a different procedure to follow in constellation Marine services.

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We, constellation marine services as marine and ship surveyors provides an expert guidance and offer supervision on Tank cleaning of a chemical tanker which is more efficient and economical, including cargo contamination claim advisory & cargo expeditors for oil & chemical cargoes.

There are several operations that had to be carried out to maximize the efficiency of tank cleaning. That new innovative technologies in tank cleaning have raised the standards in marine industry. There are many ways to realize the optimum cleaning efficiency for different tanks. The evaluation of tank cleaning options starts with the audit of operations which are as follows,

1. Number of tanks require cleaning.
2. Are obstructions in the tanks present (e.g. agitators, mixers).
3. What residue needs to be removed.
4. Are cleaning agents required or is water sufficient?
5. What are the methods that can be used for tank cleaning?

After these steps, verify the results obtained and ensure that the best cleaning values can be achieved in terms of accuracy and reliability. Advancements in technology have made it easier to remove stubborn residues, shorten cleaning cycle times and achieve higher levels of automation. Presented in this paper are the methods used to perform tank cleaning to a standard which complies with the current legislation? If tank cleaning technologies are effective, then operating costs are minimal.

Tank cleaning methods onboard chemical tankers

On chemical Tankers, cargo tanks may be coated with various types of materials. Therefore, it is important to check with the P&A manual and the Paint Manufacturers Coating Resistance list prior to commencing Tank Cleaning Operations in order to ascertain the tank coating materials and any limitations with regards to temperature and use of cleaning chemicals which may be applicable to the vessel.

Tank cleaning on chemical a tanker is generally the responsibility of the ship staff. Tank cleaning must be planned according to the previous cargo loaded. But the matter can be still more complicated, as cleanliness for one and the same product may vary, depending on who the receiver is and the final intended purpose of the cargo.

Examples: glycol is intended for cosmetics or pharmaceutical purposes, this requires completely cleaned and odorless tanks. However, glycol intended for antifreezes; caustic soda for making paper, is more sensitive to iron contamination than caustic soda for the aluminum industry.

Modern Chemical tanker tank cleaning process

Fig: Modern Chemical tanker tank cleaning process using steam spray

It must be mentioned first that the majority of cleaning operations on board chemical tanker are being carried out by means of water washing only. Further chemical cleaning is required for only a limited number of cargoes, but these cases may be very important.

One must take into considerations, the nature of the previous cargo, and the cargo to be loaded, time factor, available equipment and cleaning chemicals etc. It is stated that the necessary degree of cleanliness for several products is in line with what cargo surveyors normally require.

Generally speaking one should use mechanical tank cleaning methods, that is usually washing with water, before applying more expensive methods involving chemical cleaning agents. The most expensive, and least safe, method is manual cleaning, which should be kept to a minimum. Manual work should preferably be reduced to inspection and possibly to a final drying up of washing water only.

It is important to drain the tanks as much as possible to reduce pollution of the seas to an absolute minimum. This will now be even more important with the anti-pollution Convention of 1973.

Examples of measures on how to obtain the best possible cargo stripping:

i) Due regard to ship’s trim and heel.

ii) Viscous cargos may first be stripped from the various tanks to one tank near the pump room and from there be pumped ashore.

iii) Keep the cargo temperature sufficiently high so that the cargo drains also from remote corners of the tanks, especially in cold climates.

iv) Waxy deposits under the heating coils can sometimes be melted out by means of filling with water and then applying heat to the coils.

v) Sometimes steaming is allowed during discharge of molasses, which facilitates draining of molasses from the bulkheads.

vi) Vegetable oil tanks may in the last phase of discharge be recirculated and hosed down with vegetable oil taken from the cargo pump delivery side . Similarly, phosphoric acid can be recirculated to loosen sediments on the tank bottom.

vii) Drain cargo piping to shore. It is useful to have a small stripping pump with 50 mm delivery line to the hose connection for delivery of contents in the cargo piping to shore.

viii) Before loading sensitive cargoes: mudboxes, valve bodies and pump housings must be drained by opening the drain plugs (with due regard to personal safety).

Water washing may be inadequate or inappropriate after the carriage of certain products because tanks can only be cleaned by special methods or cleaning agents. Where it is decided to use these special cleaning methods, and well documented experience indicates that it is safe to do so, thorough company guidance should be provided that describes the procedures for the ship to follow.

Where a special cleaning method is to be used in port, local authorities may impose additional safety or environmental requirements.

Some cargoes may react with certain cleaning agents and produce large amounts of toxic or flammable vapours, or render equipment such as pumps inoperable. The choice of a tank cleaning agent should be made with full knowledge of the cargo characteristics.

If a special method involving cleaning agents is to be used, it may create an additional hazard for the crew. Shipboard procedures should ensure that personnel are familiar with, and protected from, the health hazards associated with such a method. The cleaning agents may be added to the wash water or used alone. The cleaning procedures adopted should not entail the need for personnel to enter the tank.

If, however, the only practical means of cleaning involves personnel entering the tank then the precautions should be strictly followed. No one should enter any cargo tank unless express permission to do so has been received from the responsible officer and all appropriate precautions are taken. The tank atmosphere should be safe for entry and an entry permit issued. Chemical absorption detectors should be used for detecting the presence of specific gases and vapors at TLV levels.

In exceptional circumstances the requirement might arise for wiping down product residues from the tank walls by using a chemical solvent in a localized area. The amount used should be small, and the personnel involved should be aware that its use may modify the atmosphere. The introduction of the solvent into the tank might also generate additional risks such as toxicity or flammability. Such risks should be carefully evaluated before starting the operation, which should not be undertaken unless the personnel involved can be effectively protected from those risks. Data sheets for the chemical solvent used should be available on board.

In addition, manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations for the use of commercial products should be observed, and the resulting slops disposed of in accordance with the ship’s P&A Manual.
Thus, we can conclude that tank cleaning on a chemical tanker is a challenging task and planning of carrying out same plays a very important role, as there is lot of commercial pressure and it has to be completed in a given time limit.

Capt. Manish Kumar
Principal Consultant (chemical and oil/products cargoes)
Constellation marine services.
(Prime area of work – UAE ports, Fujairah, Abu dhabi, Ras Al Khaima, Mina Sagar, Sharjah, Ajman, Dubai, Hamriyah, Jabel Ali, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar (Mina Hamad) (mesaieed), Egypt (Alexandria) or fuel, Sohar, Muscat, Salalah).

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The objective of the towage inspection is to ensure safety of life at sea, prevention of human injury and loss of valuable cargo that is being towed. To make sure the cargo loaded from safe berth at port “A” is safely transported to safe berth “B” in the same or another country, a towing inspection is required to be carried out onboard. The client or charterer will appoint an approved (Gov.) marine survey company to issue the fitness certificate for Safe Ocean towage according to the IMO guideline resolution A. 765(18).

In the region of UAE. Who can carry out an ocean towage inspection?

We, Constellation Marine Services are one of the Federal Transport Authority’s leading marine survey company utilizing the expertise Naval Architects, Master Mariners, Chartered Engineers and consultant surveyors who are ready to deliver professional service which complies with marine standards while still striving to exceed the client’s expectation.

A typical towage approval inspection will start with a Surveyor from Constellation Marine Services appointed to carry out towing inspection in, for example, Mina Saqr port or port of Fujairah.

The below is an enumeration of the sequence of events associated with this activity:

In our attendance, the loading was completed, barge and the towing tug was alongside double banked (Stbd. side to Stbd. side). The barge was loaded with cargo, as per draft survey report onboard the total loaded cargo was 15,580 MT. and the designated port of discharge at a foreign port with GCC state executing an international voyage.
The appointed surveyor inspected the condition of barge this inspection included: navigation lights, summer load line mark (plimsol line), towing gears such as smith bracket, shackles, chaffing chain etc., water tight integrity and emergency towing arrangement or barge towing arrangement.

Upon boarding the towing tug the following documents for barge and towing tug are checked onboard for their validity amongst other things.

1. certificate of registry
2. International load line,
3. International tonnage certificate,
4. P & I certificate,
5. H & M certificate,
6. Proof/ through load test certificate of towing arrangement (barge & tug).
7. Loose gear certificate of barge (Main & Emergency towing assembly).
8. Loos gear certificate for tug towing gears.
9. Towing winch manufacture certificate.

As per the instruction of attending surveyor, to the towing tug master connected the pennant wire of the main tow line of winch and heave up the delta plate for visual inspection. During this operation it was a challenging job for a master of the tug for heaving the delta plate and place it on the main deck of the tug, therefore, the master noticed that at an maximum haul of towing winch the delta plate and its corresponding lines got stuck and the master informed the attending surveyor, that he needed to board, Thereafter, the attending surveyor from Constellation Marine explained the reason why it may have been stuck and instructed the matter in professional way to resolve matter & assisted in all ways.

The reason why the main towing delta plate was stuck? And the master refused to heave up the delta plate because the master is aware of there will be pressure building on the towing connections (chaffing chain, bridle wire and pennant wire) and there is a chance for breakage of lines.

Therefore, the attending surveyor explained, the difficulties for heaving up delta plate is because the tug in double banked which is paralleling moored. In such case, the chaffing chain, bridle wire on the other end (port side of barge) will get stuck, since the EWL was 5X15 Mtrs. If Breadth of the barge is more than 22Mtrs.


The attending surveyor instructed the master of the tug to make an angle of 90 degree corresponding to the barge bow and slack the forward mooring lines to keep the tug in contact with barge and then heave up. Eventually the delta plate came out of the water and placed on the main deck for our complete inspection.

Once the delta plate was on the main deck, it had been noted that the barge port side bridle wire was disconnected with delta plate and eventually other shackle pins were loose. Thereafter the ship crew heaved the port side bridle wire with the help of tugger winch and reconnected with delta plate.

Delta Plate appeared without bridle wire

Pic # 1. Delta Plate appeared without bridle wire

After reconnecting the bridle wire with new split pins.

Pic # 2. After reconnecting the bridle wire with new split pins.

Thereafter, informed the chief officer to make other shackle pins tight and change with new split pins and inspected the main and emergency towing assembly arrangement and tug bollard pull adequacy to tow the fully loaded barge even in the rough se condition (swell height >2M).

Hence, towing inspections are important to save the client’s valuable cargo.


Prepared by
Engr. Syed Yasir Ahmed
Naval Architect /Marine Design Engineer

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Containers carrying samples and the effect on Product Integrity


Disputes relating to “off-spec” or contaminated liquid cargoes are a recurring problem and contamination claims often result in large sums of money being at stake.

Often, the cause and/or location of the contamination can be quickly identified if the appropriate samples are drawn and retained in suitable containers.

While sufficient and current information is available on sampling procedures and techniques, circulation and quantification for testing blends, instrumentation and calibration, there is little formal documentation at hand for the type of sample container utilized in sampling and retention, and this is required to be questioned.
The composition and the construction of the sample container has a significant impact on quality of the sample it contains, and any deviation from standard recommendations may lead to testing laboratory producing “false negative” results.

Cargo surveyors – representing the interests of the cargo owners or the carriers are reminded that improper sampling containers used (often an overlooked aspect) may result in the samples being rejected and not being considered as evidence for a claim.


SHIPOWNERS P&I reports an increase in the number of contamination incidents. The defense of claims of this nature relies heavily on the samples taken during loading and discharging operations. However, the club reports an increase in cases of poor labelling, incorrect sealing, the use of dirty sample bottles or the incorrect bottle type for the product.

In a recently concluded cargo contamination survey, cargo surveyors were appointed by the shippers of the cargo to investigate a potential contamination issue of a parcel of Jet AI being loaded on board a vessel.
Initial independent samples for first foot were taken, basis customary agreement between the shipper and the carrier, from the loaded tanks, however sample tested was a composite, with equal volume from each tank.
The sample tested “off-spec” for particulate contamination.

The cargo surveyor on board recommended a further joint sampling and testing with the carrier’s surveyor, for individual tank sample to be tested, to determine per tank particulate contamination.

The carrier and the shipper were, during the joint sampling, placed under considerable pressure from the terminal on resumption or vacating the berth, in view of the idle occupancy of the berth by the vessel during the sampling process.

In order to expedite the sampling and testing process in the circumstances experienced, the cargo surveyor thought it prudent to use plastic bottles for cargo sample retention, those readily available on board, instead of the acceptable clear or opaque glass bottles.

The samples were drawn and dispatched to the laboratory, thereafter tested expeditiously, and the results were again “off-spec” for particulate contamination, however, carriers raised a concern on the container used.
The results of these samples were thus challenged, which caused further delay to the vessel, subsequently, the vessel was asked and instructed to vacate the berth.


Sample containers come in varying sizes, materials, designs and colors. The most common of these are glass, plastic and metal.

The decision as to which type of sample container would be most appropriate to use will depend very much on the nature of the product being sampled and the analyst’s intentions regarding analysis and storage.

The API manual – Sampling section recommends being able to select the right container for a given application, one must have knowledge of the material to be sampled to ensure that there will be no interaction between the sampled material and the material of the container that would affect the integrity of either.

Additional considerations in the selection of sample containers are the type mixing required to remix the contents before transferring a sample from the container and the type of laboratory analysis that are to be conducted on the sample.

Regardless of the type of sample container used, the sample container should be large enough to contain the required sample volume and enough ullage space for thermal expansion and mixing of the sample.
Plastic bottles made of suitable material may be used for handling and storage of gas oil, diesel oil, fuel oil, and lubricating oil. Bottles of this type should not be used for gasoline, aviation jet fuel, kerosene, crude oil white spirit, medicinal white oil, and special boiling point products unless testing indicates there is no problem with solubility, contamination, or loss of light components.

In no circumstances shall nonlinear (conventional) polyethylene containers be used to store samples of liquid hydrocarbons. This is to avoid sample contamination or sample bottle failure. Used engine oil samples that may have been subject to fuel dilution should not be stored in plastic containers.
Clear glass bottles may be examined visually for cleanliness, and they allow for visual inspection of the sample for free water cloudiness and solid impurities. The brown glass bottle affords some protection to the samples when light may affect the test results.

When cans are to be used, they must have seams that have been soldered on the exterior surfaces with a flux of resin in a suitable solvent. Such a flux is easily removed with gasoline, whereas many others are very difficult to remove. Minute traces of flux may contaminate the sample so that results obtained on tests such as dielectric strength, oxidation resistance, and sludge formation may be erroneous. Internal epoxy lined cans may have residual contamination and precautions should be taken to ensure its removal.


Liquid cargoes are inherently vulnerable to changes in composition through interactions with their surroundings as they have the potential to become damaged or absorb contaminants.

This is fundamental to the choice of containers being used for retention of liquid samples, ensuring testing do not lead to false negative.

It is extremely important for ship owners and carriers to understand that when it comes to liquid cargo disputes, it is easy for cargo interests to have the upper hand due to their access to shore tank samples from loading and discharge ports. It is therefor evident that ships crew should not only be able to take correct and sufficient samples of the cargo being loaded / discharged, they should insure these are stored in correct receptacles capable of long term storage without them altering the inherent property of the sample.

If we assume that a sampling was representative and detrimental to the qualification of a particular cargo / commodity, then we may say that testing is the most important tool in judging a dispute (if it arises) objectively.
For this reason, it is imperative that containers used for retaining samples do not taint or alter the properties of the liquid it contains.

The Swedish Club in consultation with TCI scientific state it is primarily the environment around the cargo that decides if changes occur, and consideration in maintaining ideal conditions must include the use of correct sampling containers being given equal importance, in addition to the normal inserting procedures, strict observance of epoxy curing protocols, meticulous tank cleaning, due diligence for cargo compatibility, and other precautions help to prevent incidences.

Blog by Capt.Vispy Rusi Dadimaster- Master Mariner


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We constellation Marine often carry’s out the pre-vetting SIRE inspection preparation (ship inspection report programmed) for our clients. Sire output and credentials plays a Very important role for tankers and chemical tanker’s when getting approved by several oil majors. Let’s have some brief idea about it and key elements for same.
Process used by oil & chemical companies to assess acceptability of 3rd party vessels to carry their cargoes and/or call at their terminals.

The SIRE inspections are based on industry best practices developed by the industry itself. Of course, each oil major might have their own specific requirements for clearing vessels.

The basic operating principles of SIRE:

 How reports are accessed by recipients
 What the delivered reports look like
 Using the VIQs for SIRE self-inspections
 Reporting defects and corrective actions – The defect management system

SIRE inspections – key issues:

 Overall safety
 Conduct of the inspection
 The SIRE report editor – The inspector’s reporting tool
 Inspector observations
 Other comments, additional comments
 The new officer qualification matrix
 Getting ready and staying ready for inspection
 Oil Record Book

Analysis of parts I and II of an oil record book. How to review the excerpts and record where the entries may reveal problems or irregularities.

The inspection preparation:

Below mentioned sectors requires high attention and if we maintain same all the time then vessel is ready for inspection at given point of time.

 Remember first impressions is the last impression.
 Gangway boarding and safety briefing
 The opening meeting
 Important certificates and documentation
 ESP documentation.
 Officers’ licences
 Hours of rest records
 Wheelhouse and navigation
 Communications
 External areas
 Maindeck, and foc’s’le
 Oil spill protection
 Cargo and crude oil washing piping
 Fire lines and other piping
 Manifold area, gangways
 IG distribution system
 Deck water seal, non-return valve
 PV breaker, IG branch piping
 Cargo tank venting and secondary venting systems
 Assessment of tank condition
 Ballast water sampling
 Mooring systems
 Pump room
 Cargo operations and cargo control room, engine room
 PPE, documentation
 Engine control room
 The walk round, oily water separator
 Steering gear
 Accommodation – internal
 De-briefing with the master
 Dealing with SIRE inspectors
 Dealing with inspection reports
 How it is and how it can be done

The Inspection Process:

The Vetting inspection is simply an inspection ie. a “snap shot in time”.
For vetting purposes doesn’t declare that vessel has passed or failed an inspection, but the inspection forms part of overall screening process.

Vetting inspection preparation may be under taken by:

i. Individual oil/chemical companies or terminals
ii. Accredited SIRE inspectors under the SIRE system
iii. Accredited CDI inspectors under the CDI system

As per Intertanko:” The SIRE system is a very large database of up- to-date information about tankers and barges. Essentially, SIRE has focused tanker industry awareness on the importance of meeting satisfactory tanker quality and ship safety standards. Since its introduction, the SIRE Programme has received industry-wide acceptance and participation by both OCIMF Members, Programme recipients and by ship Operators. The expansion of Barges and small vessels into SIRE was inaugurated in late 2004.”

In many cases, an “acceptable SIRE result” is often less of a measure of risk and more of a raw count of the number of observations contained in one or more SIRE reports. Two observations in

Chapters 4 (Navigation),
5 (Safety) or
6 (Pollution Prevention) are likely to result in rejection, regardless of the nature of those observations.

SIRE is the “Higher Authority”

  • The ship’s owner/operator doesn’t have to follow the SIRE requirements. But the oil companies don’t have to hire the ship either.In other words, OCIMF, through the SIRE program. has made safety an economic priority.
    Hence last but not the least sire inspection has increased the safety level and bound to follow the safety awareness culture in industry. It has reduced the number of incident drastically caused due to human error and equipment failure.

pre-vetting sire inspection

Blog Written by Capt. Manish Kumar- Master Mariner

                                                                                                                                                     Download Full Blog here (pdf)

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Break bulk cargos are goods that must be loaded individually on a ship and was the most common form of cargo for most of the history of shipping. The term break bulk derives from the phrase breaking bulk—the extraction of a portion of the cargo of a machinery, plant etc. Break bulk cargo is transported commonly in containers, crates etc or individually.

Qualified Surveyors from Constellation Marine Services attend un loading operations of break bulk cargo from container ships all over the world. The cargo arrived in a secured/lashed condition on one or more Flat Rack containers and containers were locked to the ship’s structure/holds by twist locks.

On arrival of the vessel at discharge port, Constellation Marine’s surveyor boarded the vessel and inspected the break bulk cargo which was secured on the Flat Rack containers along with ship’s responsible person. It was noted that the cargoes were properly secured/lashed on the Flat Rack containers by means of lashing belts. After pre-discharge inspection of the break bulk cargo and the condition of lifting gears & its certificates, the cargo was discharged by using shore gantry crane with the help of wire slings / shackles, which were connected to the lashing hooks of the cargo.


1) A tool box meeting to be conducted with all concerned (representative from ship, shore & stevedores) and to be discussed about the sequence of unloading & safety precautions to be followed.

2) To be inspected the condition of the cargo which was loaded/secured on board the vessel along with ship’s staff.
Pre-discharge inspection by a surveyor includes to check the condition of the cargo for any damages (existing or fresh), condition of lashing straps/wires along with associated gears & its suitability.

3) To inspect the condition of gears (straps/wires & cranes) using for lifting/hoisting the cargo and by the stevedores – physical condition, safe working load & to check the validity of third party inspection certificate.

4) To assist and co ordinating with stevedore’s Forman for a smooth un loading operation.

damage survey

During our qualified surveyor’s continuous supervision of cargo pre-discharge/loading inspection or discharging/loading of break bulk cargos, we have never experienced any breakages falling of cargo nor any shifting while sea passage in the 17000+ nominations so far executed by Constellation Marine’s qualified surveyors and naval architects.

Re working and verification of lashing arrangements prior sailing out upon loading of heavy lifts, break bulk units by our qualified & experienced naval architects is one of the key strengths of Constellation Marine Service’s deliverance to this segment of Maritime transportation industry.

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It can be said with a degree of certainty, that when disputes arise over bunker quantity, any ‘post-delivery’ investigation on quantity shortages are often inconclusive especially if the shipboard personnel involved in bunkering operation have neglected the basic principles of safeguarding its owners/charterers’ rights in way of collecting and preserving evidence.

A success of any bunker dispute claim will largely depend on the detailed contemporaneous written evidence by the shipboard personnel at the time the supply is made.

To that end Constellation Marine services strongly recommend the use of a bunker quantity surveyor.
Considering the present bunker fuel prices, we opine “bunker stem survey” is necessary, to make sure that the quantities as mentioned on the Bunker Delivery Note (BDN) are true and correct and matching with quantity received by the ship.

However, there are many ship operators who leave the above procedure to the Chief Engineer to save on survey cost with the vessel often ending up with incorrect supplied quantity and a commercial loss of thousands of dollars for the operators.

Loss prevention during bunker stemming largely depends on the hands-on approach and practical experience of the bunker surveyors and Constellation Marine Services having in-depth experience is able to offer these ‘Bunker Stem Surveys’ to ship owners and charterers regionally.

The importance of this service cannot be over emphasized, and the following story will highlight this:
The owners and Chief engineer of a super Yatch located in Dubai dry docks made a call for an independent bunker sounding exercise to Constellation Marine services.

Upon attendance it was observed that the bunker delivery was already completed, a BDN was signed by the Chief Engineer on the agreed amount of 300 MT.

During the bunkering operations, no ship tank sounding was taken, the Chief Engineer relying on a sophisticated electronic tank gauge system located within the engine control room. On completion of bunkers, the Chief engineer signed off the BDN provided by the Supplier for the delivered quantity.

After a certain period, post 6 to 8 hours after completion of the bunker operation, the chief engineer decided to gauge his nominated tanks and discovered 34MT short supply.

Surveyors from constellation Marine were engaged thereafter for an independent sounding, and it came as no surprise that our attending surveyor discovered 36MT short supply and the reason.

The Chief engineer was now left exposed with no recourse to defend the short fall, having signed the BDN already. In short, he “was had” by the tricks of the supplier and was left nursing the typical “morning after” syndrome.
Constellation Marine Services over the years have carefully analyzed and assimilated the “tricks of the trade” employed by typical bunker suppliers and are in a very good position to offer advice, consultancy and loss prevention to its clients – shipowners and charterers and any party that are stemming bunkers.

The extent to which bunker suppliers will go to, and the knowledge and experience of Constellation Marine surveyors to counter this, is highlighted below. Trust this will assist potential owners and charterers to make the right choice for their bunker surveyor requirements


Marine fuel is always sold by weight (mass) and delivered by volume. Hence for this reason bunker receipts must always be signed “For Volume Only” and adding the words “weight to be determined after testing of the representative sample”. Never sign for weight if uncertain about the density.

What many do not realize is that the density given in the supplier’s bunker delivery note (BDN) may not be true and thus the weight determined by calculation should be considered as the ‘preliminary’ weight of the fuel transferred to the vessel. The actual weight is only determined after the density is verified by an independent fuel testing authority and then factored into the final recalculation of the actual weight of the fuel delivered onboard.

That is why we always stress the importance of accurately obtaining bunker samples both onboard the vessel and the barge. If the density of fuel cannot be verified onboard or independently verified at the time of bunkering, the BDN should be signed only for ‘volume’ and not for weight

Remember whenever in doubt or have concerns always issue a letter of protest.


In view of the several thousand tons of marine fuel sold and purchased each day, the high rate of thermal expansion of Marine fuels must be considered.

Suppliers, specially through bunker barges will often try to under-declare the temperature during the opening gauge and over-declare during the closing.

This malpractice is quite common in day to day bunkering and therefore its extremely important to check all bunker tanks during the opening gauge and thereafter periodically check and record the temperature of the fuel as it is pumped onboard.

Always check and record the temperatures of the fuel tanks before and after and periodically during bunkering operation

Remember whenever in doubt or have concerns always issue a letter of protest


So much has been mentioned about the cappuccino effect yet there is so little ordinary bunkers surveyor can do to find this out. At constellation marine services, our experienced bunker surveyors have a keen eye and ear to ascertain the this is being done.
Our surveyors can easily identify if the following signs are an indication of a cappuccino effect or otherwise:
Signs of froth/foam on the surface of the fuel in the barge tanks during opening gauge
Excessive bubbles on the sounding tape prior to, during and after bunkering
Bunker hose jerking or whipping around
Slow delivery rates then what has been agreed
Gurgling sound in vicinity of bunker manifold
Fluctuations of pressure on manifold pressure gauge.
Unusual noises from the bunker barge


Water can originate from number of sources like heating coil damage causing leakages and tank condensation; however deliberate injection cannot be ruled out.

In case large quantity is found then a letter of protest should be issued immediately. However, the exact quantity of water can only be determined after the settlement phase where the water would have settled down at the bottom of the bunker tank.

Fuel samples provided by the barge may not have any traces of water as the samples may have been taken prior to bunkering and mixing of water.

Our bunker surveyors will ensure that the fuel samples are collected during bunkering and not before or after. For these reasons never sign labels in advance or sign for samples of unknown origin. Samples should only be signed for those witnessed.


It is not uncommon for bunker supplier barges to transfer fuel cargo from a high-level tank to a low-level tank by gravity. Essentially what this achieves is a measurement of the same quantity of fuel twice.

This method is still in use and if not detected the barge can claim that full quantity was delivered to the vessel, but the vessel will have a substantial shortfall.

Our bunker surveyors are aware of this practice and they will always re-gauge the tanks in the following sequence:
If the initial gauging was forward to aft, then after gauging the last aft tank; our surveyor will re-gauge all tanks from aft to forward. The readings must be the same.

As an additional precaution, our surveyor will re-gauge the first tank(s) used to transfer oil to the vessel to ensure the reading matches that taken during the initial gauging.

The only effective way of dealing with this dubious practice is re-sounding the tanks as above before bunkering commences. There is no other preventive measure available for this.


NEVER agree to go by the flow meter reading alone for fuel delivered quantity. Modern flow meters are extremely capable devices designed for an accurate measurement of what they are designed to measure, and highly difficult to tamper with BUT – There may also be unauthorized piping (by-pass lines) fitted to the flow meter running into the pump suction side and thus this unauthorized contraption will register the throughput of fuel twice through the flow meter.

Keep a bunker surveyor handy and on board in-spite of barges claims of a fully functional Flow Meter.


Having more than one set of sounding book is not uncommon and having the tables modified to the supplier’s advantage is always a possibility.

Inserted pages, corrections, different print/paper type are all indications of tampering. Sometimes the barge may have a new calibration table (with the old one being obsolete). This could be following modification of the tanks internal structure during a dry dock repair or simply because the original calibration tables would have been incorrect.

The same could be said for the list / trim correction tables which could be easily modified again to the supplier’s advantage.

Our attending surveyors have experience to call this out and will always be there to engage the barge supplier to provide ONLY class approved clean tables.


Our attending surveyors will NEVER TAKE THE SUPPLIER’S WORD FOR IT, EVER on a tank being empty. They will always verify that the tanks claimed to be empty are indeed empty.
Our bunker surveyor will notify the barge representative that the zero-dip volume of the tank(s) shall be included in the bunker tanker calculations.
Our bunker surveyors will insure liquid cargo can only be trim and/or list corrected if the liquid is in contact with all bulkheads. When the liquid is not in contact with all bulkheads, a wedge correction will be applied.
The only way thus to ensure Empty Tank is indeed empty is
Do not assume any tanks to be empty even when reaching stripping level
Check tank calibration tables to verify the un-pumpable
Apply correct list / trim corrections during calculations


This is indeed a contention that is hard to digest by the vessels owners and operators. It is therefore extremely important for owners and charterers to employ bunker surveyors to ascertain the exact fuel quantity onboard prior stemming bunkers.

The malpractices during bunkering operations which we see and hear about are quite prevalent with bunker suppliers; but on many occasions we have come across situations where the receiving vessel will be as much involved as the supplier in these dubious practices. Often, we have found that the vessel would under-declare fuel quantity which is then either sold back to the barge supplier or simply kept hidden on the vessel until an opportunity comes along to profit from this.

To end, we request ship owner, charterers and any party stemming bunkers to make use of an independent bunker quantity surveyor, not just any but one that has the relevant experience, acumen and intelligence to call out and counter the “tricks of the trade” employed by bunker suppliers.

Do not thus fall for the morning after Syndrome.

Also, visit for famous bunkers surveyors uae.

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Vessel Hold Cleaning Survey

Vessel Hold Cleaning Services and Survey

The design of modern dry bulk carriers is centered on their holds and has over time evolved to be as efficient as possible in terms of volume of cargo carried.

But what happens when the voyage is completed and the cargo holds are empty? What comes next is a process that can make the difference between securing the ship’s next employment and losing a charter by failing to meet regulatory requirements.

Good cargo hold cleaning is vital for dry cargo ship owners and operators. This is where Constellation Marine Services can offer valuable support to ship owners, with a hold cleaning product that is extremely efficient, economical and consistent in application and end result.

Constellation offers Hold cleaning and hold inspection survey services that can demystify various and rigorous requirements, with predictable supply of manpower, material and proprietary knowledge so that owners can keep vessels to the correct standards between voyages no matter where they are in the region.

But what is hold cleaning – Preparation of a cargo hold prior loading is not just sweeping, cleaning or washing down the hold. There are a number of matters to consider, and failing to adhere to good practice can result in a failure to pass cargo hold inspection.

In the dry bulk trades, and with reference to West of England loss prevention bulletin there are essentially five grades of hold cleanliness as may be specified in the shippers / charterers contractual agreements:

• Hospital clean, or ‘stringent’ cleanliness
• Grain clean, or high cleanliness
• Normal clean
• Shovel clean
• Load on top

Hospital clean is the most stringent, requiring the holds to have 100% intact paint coatings on all surfaces, including the tank top, all ladder rungs and undersides of hatches. The standard of hospital clean is a requirement for certain cargoes, for example kaolin/china clay, mineral sands including zircon, barites, rutile sand, ilmenite, fluorspar, chrome ore, soda ash, rice in bulk, and high grades of wood pulp. Generally, these high standards of cleanliness will only be met by vessels trading exclusively with such cargoes. It will rarely be required in the tramp trades.
Grain clean is the most common requirement. A ship will be required to be grain clean for the majority of bulk cargoes, such as all grains, soya meal and soya products, alumina, Sulphur, bulk cement, bauxite, concentrates, and bulk fertilizers.

Normal clean means that the holds are swept clean, with no residues of the previous cargo, and washed down (or not, depending on charterer’s requirements), that is, cleaned sufficiently for taking cargoes similar to or compatible with the previous cargo.

Load on top means exactly what it says – the cargo is loaded on top of existing cargo residues. This standard will commonly be required where a ship is trading continuously with the same commodity and grade of that commodity. With load on top, guidance may be necessary for the master on any cleaning requirements, including the use of bulldozers, shovels and cleaning gangs.

Now what is Grain Clean, the most commonly used standard of cleanliness?

The usual instructions a master of a bulk carrier may receive, particularly if his ship is unfixed for next employment, is clean to grain clean on completion of discharge. There is very little information provided to the Master beyond the word Grain, and hence a complexity on the exact standards required, the resources to be deployed and the time available for the evolution, exists.

By definition Grain clean is “clean, swept, washed down by fresh water and free from insects, odors, residue of previous cargo /loose rust scale/paint flakes etc. dried up, and ready to receive charterers’ intended cargo subject to shippers’/relevant surveyors’ inspection”

It is also important to differentiate loose scale from scale from oxidation rust.

Loose scale will break away when struck with a fist or when light pressure is applied with a knife blade or scraper under the edge of the scale. Oxidation rust will typically form on bare metal surfaces but will not flake off when struck or when light pressure from a knife is applied. Generally, the presence of hard-adhering scale within a hold is acceptable in a grain clean hold. The scale should not fall off during the voyage or during normal cargo operations.

Different countries also apply different standards to what constitutes an acceptable amount of loose scale or loose paint. While in some countries, no such material is permitted, for example the United States Department of Agriculture (reference) permits a single area of loose paint or loose scale of 2.32 sq. m, or several patches that in total do not exceed 9.26 sq. m, before a hold is deemed to be unfit.

In practice, the hold should be free of loose scale as each surveyor’s interpretation of the required ‘standard’ may vary.

But irrespective of the standards to which a particular vessels holds are to be cleaned, the single biggest issue faced by the crew for hold cleaning is the size of the spaces that are to be cleaned. In typical Panamax Bulk Carriers, it is not unusual to have a hold space of around 17,000 CBM to be cleaned, and imagine this being multiplied by 5 or 7 holds. In ideal conditions, the crew may start cleaning during the discharge process itself, but in real world scenarios, the time available is much more limited.

To make matters worse, current hold wash discharge restrictions have increased 10 folds, and adherence (or lack of) to MARPOL Annex V has led to severe imposition of fines and penalties.

It is thus imperative that ship owners and operators consider the RIGHT SOLUTION, as it is likely that the consequences of not meeting the charterer’s requirements can be extreme.

We invite ship owners and operators to experience Constellation Marine services hold survey and cleaning bespoke solutions, from the beginning of the Hold cleaning process, to avoid situations where “one piece of coal left behind” can get the hold failed.

Constellation’s policy prioritizes the importance of hold cleaning to exacting standards and above, and our consultancy and advice is aimed to remove any misunderstanding that could potentially led to non-compliance, or worst, financial harm.

Cargo hold cleaning expenses initially may not seem as a payoff for ship owners or operators, but with the right partner and procedures that keep the ship moving and trading, will surely reflect on their bottom line.

To end; in the words of Asmyhr Dagfinn, Operation Manager AS Klaveness – “There are two places that a ship owner needs to invest; the holds and the engine. A good engine can help you to save on fuel, but the income comes from the holds,” adds Asmyhr. “If your holds are dirty and your ship is refused a charter, then you still have all the costs but no income. At that point you will understand there is no point trying to save on items which make a difference between making money and losing it”.

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Procedure of sampling of fuel oil during bunkering

Taking bunker fuel oil sample is utmost an important process during any bunkering as equal to calculation of transfer quantity. The Bunker fuel sampling includes the method of taking the sample, the location of sampling and witnessing it. Marine fuel deliveries are usually measured by volume but paid for by weight, so bunker sample testing allows ships owners to measure density & thus to calculate the weight of fuel oil delivered and to ensure the parameters were meeting with requested or suitable for engines. Bunker fuel oil samples are also to be maintained on board for Port State Inspection under MARPOL 73/78 annex VI.

Location of Sampling

According to IMO Guidelines & MARPOL Annex VI, the bunker sampling to be collected at the receiving ship’s inlet bunker manifold if there is no prior instruction from the concerned.

If the vessel’s manifold is not fitted with a proper line sampler and the bunker tanker is unable to provide a proper custody transfer sampler, the sample should be taken at the bunker tanker manifold, provided the bunker tanker manifold is fitted with accepted type of sampling device.

If both the vessel and bunker tanker do not have any proper sampling device at the manifold, use of sampling valve on the bunker line or tank sampling may be considered with agreement from all parties concerned. If there is no sample flow at vessel’s manifold sampling device (eg. due to vacuum effect), representative sample shall be taken at the best possible alternative location.


Bunker fuel oil samples

Sampling Device

Commonly used sampling devices during fuel oil bunker transfer through pipeline are one of the followings

Manual drip sampler
Flow proportional automatic sampler
Time proportional automatic sampler

During Bunkering

Vessel representative shall ensure that the sampling device and receptacle for sample collection. The receptacle used shall be a clean and transparent container, which is to be fixed and sealed securely to the sampling device. Sample collection shall be started immediately upon the commencement of bunkering. During the process of sampling, should be monitored the sampling at regular intervals. The continuous sampling shall be stopped only upon completion of bunkering. If it vital that the tanks allocated on board are clean, free of sludge or previous bunker residues.

Vessel’s Chief Engineer to be ensured that the sample collected is properly mixed before pouring into the sample bottles. The sample bottles shall be sealed & labelled immediately after pouring and taken ashore to a reputed lab for testing & report to send to the vessel promptly. Typical time taken is 4 days. Until such time Chief Engineer is not expected to star using the bunker received in the main or auxiliary engines.

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