Bunker Hose Ruptured Due To Mooring Failure

Vessel:Car Carrier.
Damage:10 to 15 Tonnes of Heavy Fuel Oil Spilled Overboard.

The Incident:

A Car carrier on its ballast voyage (huge freeboard), happened to bunker at an anchorage.  The bunkering operation started and after an hour of full rate, at around midnight, the mooring lines were left unattended.  As the swell/current increased, the vessel and the bunker barge started to drift apart.  The moorings were not being effectively tended and the ship moved away from the barge and caused undue stress on the bunker line.  The Bunker hose ruptured on the barge deck spilling almost 10 to 15 tonnes of Heavy Fuel Oil overboard before the situation was brought under complete control.

Lessons learned:

The bunker hose shown opposite was disrupted as a result of a mooring failure between the bunker barge and the ship.


The ship should always ensure that the moorings from the bunker barge…

  1. Are properly secured,
  2. Are sufficient in number to prevent the barge from moving, &
  3. Are in good condition.
  4. They should be continually checked throughout the bunkering operation.
  5. Particular attention should be given to the moorings in rivers and channels where passing traffic can force the moorings to surge and possibly break the fuel hose or hose connections.
  6. Before bunkering commences it is highly recommended to inspect the bunker hose for any signs of damage.
  7. Look for the pressure test date and pressure at which the bunker hose was tested.
  8. Do not hesitate to ask for Bunker Hose test certificate if in doubt.


 Other Important Points to Consider:

  1. Bunker lines are to be pressure tested annually under static liquid pressure of at least 1.5 times the maximum allowable working pressure.
  2. It is recommended to stencil the pressure test rating and date of test on the bunker pipeline. Overflow and high level alarms (where fitted) are to be tested and recorded as part of the ship’s planned maintenance alarm testing routines.
  3. Bunker valves are to be checked for correct operation, and glands inspected and lubricated to ensure that they are free to operate. This should be incorporated into the ship’s planned maintenance system.
  4. Remotely operated valves should also be incorporated into the planned maintenance routines to ensure that they are opening effectively, actuators are not leaking and micro-switches are not loose or defective.

Last but not the least, do follow your company’s SMS or Safety checklists before, during and after bunkering operations.

Source: Club Standard.


  1. Continuous watch at bunker manifold is essential on board vessel as well as bunker barge deck, monitoring leak, hose chaffing, and stressing as well.
    Provide sufficient length of slack for bunker hose to take care of: Draft difference of vessel / barge.
    The distance between vessel manifold and barge manifold could vary due to cargo load/discharge, ballast/de-ballast, and unexpected slip in mooring ropes.