Oil Record Book: A Document, Ships Cannot Sail Without



Oil Record Book (ORB) is one of the most important documents on board with a written record for compliance with Annex I of MARPOL 73/78. 

Knowledge of Sea recently published an article under Rules & Regulations regarding maintaining ORB. Here’s an excerpt from that.

Two separate oil record books

Every ship of 400 gross tonnages and above other than tankers maintain only ORB Part I for machinery space operations; however, Tankers of 150 gross tonnages must maintain two separate oil record books:

  • Oil Record Book Part I for all ships (machinery space operations) and 
  • Oil Record Book Part II for tankers (cargo and ballast operations) 

Operations To Be Recorded 

ORB Part I-Machinery space operations

  1. Ballasting or cleaning of fuel oil tank.
  2. Discharge of dirty ballast or cleaning water from the fuel oil tank.
  3. Collection, Transfer, and Disposal of oil residue(Sludge).
  4. Non-automatic starting of discharge overboard, transfer or disposal otherwise of bilge water which has accumulated in machinery space.
  5. Automatic starting of discharge of overboard, transfer or disposal otherwise of bilge water which has accumulated in machinery space.
  6. Condition of oil filtering equipment.
  7. Accidental or other exceptional discharge of oil.
  8. Bunkering of fuel or bulk lubricating oil.
  9. Additional operational procedures and general remarks.

ORB Part II-Cargo/Ballast operations on Tankers

  1. Loading of oil cargo 
  2. Internal transfer of oil cargo during the voyage
  3. Unloading of oil cargo
  4. Crude oil washing(COW)
  5. Ballasting of cargo tanks
  6. Ballasting of dedicated clean ballast tanks(CBT tankers only)
  7. Cleaning of the cargo hold
  8. Discharge of dirty ballast
  9. Discharge of water from slope tanks into the sea
  10. Collection, transfer, and disposal of residue and only mixture
  11. Discharge of clean ballast contained in the cargo tank
  12. Discharge of ballast from the dedicated clean ballast tank
  13. Condition of oil discharge monitor and control system
  14. Accidental or other exception discharge of oil
  15. Additional operation procedure and general remarks

Keeping ORB

Master shall keep ORB on board for 3 years from the date of last entry.

Person, Who Will Sign Entries In ORB

Each completed operation shall be signed for and dated by the officer or officers in charge. Each completed page shall be countersigned by the master of the ship.

Language To Be Used

All operations should be recorded in the English language in ORB.

Person, Who Will Carry Out This Operation

Discharge overboard and overflow of oil from tank shall be carried out by a certified watchkeeping engineer (duty engineer ) only.

Other operations such as draining of drain tank, Sludge tank, fuel oil tank, etc which cannot result in a discharge overboard or tank overflow may be carried out by a junior engineer acting under the direct supervision of a certified watchkeeping engineer.  

Recording Of Operations 

Guidance For Proper Recording Of Operations In The Oil Record Book:

  1. Dates should be entered in dd/mm/yyyy format, e.g. 16-MAR-2009. 
  2. Item numbers shall be inserted in the appropriate columns chronologically. 
  3. Where a duty engineer makes a number of similar transfers in the course of a watch, it is acceptable to enter the total sum of the transfer into the ORB as a single entry. 
  4. The period covered must not exceed six hours and the entry must make it clear that the transfers were made over such a period. 
  5. All entries in the ORB have to be recorded with indelible ink.
  6. If a wrong entry has been recorded in the Oil Record Book (ORB), it should immediately be struck through with a single line in such a way that the wrong entry is still legible. The wrong entry should be signed and dated, with the new corrected entry following.  
  7. All Entries are to be made and signed by the officer or officers in charge of the operations. 
  8. Each completed operation shall be signed by the engineering officer in charge and confirmed by the chief engineer.
  9. Each completed and checked page of the ORB must be presented to the Master for endorsement without delay and must be signed by the master of the ship.
  10. Do not leave any full lines empty between successive entries. 
  11.  When making entries, the operational letter code and item number must be inserted. For example, Code “D” or “E” must be assigned where bilge water is concerned.
  12. Tank nomenclature should be recorded as per the format noted within the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC). The capacity of the tank should be recorded as corresponding to the capacity of the tank written in the IOPP certificate. 
  13. Care must be taken to ensure that the record clearly identifies the exact operation which has been carried out. Supporting relevant information such as quantity, start and stop time, position, etc. must be supplied as required. 
  14. Oily water separator discharge must not exceed the discharge rate shown in IOPP certificate.

Standard Entry In ORB

For Example Transfer of bilge water from bilge tank to a bilge holding tank(if the primary bilge tank is not on the ship) 

Guidance For Proper Recording Of Bunkering Operations In The Oil Record Book

ORB: Fuel Oil

  1. The start and finish time is shown below should match with the bunker delivery note. 
  2. The total quantity loaded should also match the quantity shown on the bunker delivery note. 
  3. In the case of diesel oil, make a completely separate entry as you will have a separate bunker delivery note for diesel oil.
  4. The officer in charge of the operation under code-H should be the chief engineer and each completed page shall be signed by the master of the ship.

ORB: Lube Oil

  1. All the different grades of bulk lubricating oil received can be recorded in a single entry. 
  2. The quantity has to be entered in metric tons.
  3. The officer in charge of the operation under code-H should be the chief engineer and each completed page shall be signed by the master of the ship. 

Mistake Found In ORB At later 

If at a later date, ORB entries are found to be in error or require to be clarified (such as during an audit or internal review), a note of the relevant findings and any corrective actions is to be attached to the inside cover of the relevant ORB.

No further action is necessary. The presence of the findings should be accepted by third parties as proof of effective audit and review procedures and the affected entry should not be construed to be a current deficiency in ORB.  

Responsibilities for Shore and Shipboard personnel

  • The ORB is stamped and endorsed by flag administration as required
  • Record to be kept for 3 years
  • Proper record-keeping is verified at each superintendent’s inspection and attendance

Responsibilities Of Master

The ORB is properly stamped  and endorsed by the flag administration

  • Record to be kept for 3 years
  • Each page of the ORB is properly dated and signed by the master
  • Each entry is correct as per format stipulated in MARPOL 73/78 as amended annex I chapter V
  • The chief engineer is promptly informed when the vessel enters or exit a “special area” as stipulated in MARPOL 73/78
  • Supplement to IOPP certificate form A is properly filled out

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Source: Knowledge of Sea


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