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11/21/13

Crude Oil Washing

Crude Oil Washing


C rude oil washing (C O W ) is a syste m whe re by oil tank s on a tank e r are cle ane d out be twe e n voyage s not with wate r, but with crude oil - the cargo itse lf. The solve nt action of the crude oil m ak e s the cle aning proce ss far m ore e ffe ctive than whe n wate r is use d. (The re is usually a final wate r rinse but the am ount of wate r involve d is ve ry low.) The syste m he lps pre ve nt pollution of the se as from ope rational m e asure s. C O W is m andatory on ne w tank e rs unde r the Inte rnational C onve ntion for the Pre ve ntion of Pollution by Ships (MAR PO L 73/78). The problem pollution from oil cleaning operations Development of Load on Top Development of Crude Oil Washing Crude oil washing regulations and specifications

The problem pollution from oil cleaning operations Tank e rs carry the ir cargo in a num be r of tank s or com partm e nts within the hull of the ship. Be fore the introduction of se gre gate d ballast tank s, tank s we re cle ane d afte r the oil was discharge d and about one third of the m fille d with se awate r so that the ship's prope lle r is prope rly im m e rse d and it has corre ct handling and se a k e e ping characte ristics. This proce ss is k nown as ballasting. In the e arly days of oil tank e r ope rations it was a com m on practice to cle an tank s by m e ans of je ts spraying se awate r. The je ts washe d the oil re sidue s from the tank surface s, re sulting in a m ix ture of oil and wate r which colle cte d at the bottom of the tank and was the n pum pe d ove rboard. This naturally le d to a conside rable am ount of oil ge tting into the se a. The ballast wate r, which was pum pe d ove rboard to m ak e way for a fre sh cargo of oil, was also contam inate d. In the 1950s, the re we re no alte rnative ways of cle aning tank s. The O ILPO L C onve ntion, adopte d in 1954, trie d to alle viate the pollution from this proce ss by prohibiting the discharge of oil or oily m ix ture s within 50 m ile s of land. This lim it was e x te nde d to 100 m ile s in ce rtain are as which we re re garde d as be ing particularly e ndange re d. In the late 1960s, conce rn about the waste of oil and pollution cause d by this proce ss le d the industry to look for an alte rnative . The re sult was to be com e k nown as " load on top". Development of Load on Top Unde r load on top, tank s we re cle ane d as pre viously using high-pre ssure hot-wate r cle aning m achine s. Howe ve r, inste ad of pum ping the re sulting oily m ix ture s ove rboard, the y we re pum pe d into a spe cial slop tank . During the course of the re turn voyage to the loading te rm inal this m ix ture se parate s. O il, be ing lighte r than wate r, gradually floats to the surface le aving the de nse r wate r at the bottom . This wate r is the n pum pe d into the se a, le aving only crude oil in the tank . At the loading te rm inal fre sh crude oil is the n loade d on top of it. The proce ss had advantage s for the owne r of the oil, since the oil norm ally lost during tank cle aning can be save d (as m uch as 800 tons of oil on a large tank e r), but the m ain be ne ficiary was the e nvironm e nt. Som e e x pe rts be lie ve that without load on top the am ount of oil be ing dum pe d into the se a as a re sult of tank cle aning could have re ache d m ore than 8 m illion tons a ye ar. Development of Crude Oil Washing The introduction of load on top was a gre at contribution to the fight against m arine pollution but it did not com ple te ly e lim inate pollution re sulting from tank cle aning ope rations. Although the am ount and rate of discharge is care fully re gulate d the proce ss still re sulte d in som e pollution occurring. In the late 1970s an im prove m e nt was introduce d. Inste ad of using wate r, the tank cle aning m achine s use d crude oil - in othe r words, the cargo itse lf. W he n spraye d onto the se dim e nts clinging to the tank walls, the oil sim ply dissolve d the m , turning the m back into usable oil that could be pum pe d off with the re st of the cargo. The re was no ne e d for slop tank s to be use d since the proce ss le ft virtually no slops. The proce ss be cam e k nown as C rude O il W ashing (C O W ). C rude oil washing m e ant that the m ix ture of oil and wate r which le d to so m uch ope rational pollution in the past was virtually e nde d. At the sam e tim e , the owne r is able to discharge far m ore of this cargo than be fore , since le ss of it is le ft clinging to the tank walls and bottom s. Crude oil washing regulations C rude oil washing was m ade m andatory for ne w tank e rs by the 1978 Protocol to the MAR PO L C onve ntion. MAR PO L Anne x I R e gulation 13 (6) re quire s e ve ry ne w crude oil tank e r of 20,000 tons de adwe ight and above to be fitte d with a cargo tank cle aning syste m using crude oil washing. R e gulation 13B state s that C O W installation and arrange m e nts should com ply with at le ast all of the provisions of the www.imo.org/blast/mainframe.asp?topic_id=306

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11/21/13

Crude Oil Washing

R e gulation 13B state s that C O W installation and arrange m e nts should com ply with at le ast all of the provisions of the Spe cifications for the De sign, O pe ration and C ontrol of C rude O il W ashing Syste m s adopte d by IMO in 1978, as m ay be re vise d. In 1999, IMO adopte d re vise d spe cifications for C O W by re solution A. 897(21) Am e ndm e nts to the re vise d Spe cifications for the De sign, O pe ration and C ontrol of C rude O il W ashing Syste m s (R e solution A.446(XI), as am e nde d by re solution A.497(XII).

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