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A Guide to Crude Oil Washing  
and  Cargo  Heating  Criteria  
May 2004  
International Association  of Independent Tanker  Owners 
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and Cargo Heating Criteria', Timothy Gunner, and the INTERTANKO
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A Guide to Crude  Oil Washing 
and Cargo  Heating  Criteria 
May 2004 
1  Introduction  1  
2  The COW Manual  2  
2.1  Section 9 of the COW Manual  3  
3  What is crude oil?  6  
4  The  physical behaviour of crude oil  6  
4.1  The physical  behaviour of aromatic crude oils  7  
4.2  The physical behaviour of paraffinic crude oils  9  
5  The  Cloud Point temperature  determination  of a crude oil  10  
5.1  Methods for determining  the Cloud Point temperature onboard a tanker  11  
5.1.1  Bondi Test method  11  
5.1.2  Primary Cloud Point test  method  13  
5.1.3  Density method  16  
5.1.4  The Cloud Point temperature  model  17  
5.2  The predicted  extent of precipitated sludge before COW  18  
6  The practical implications  of the Cloud Point determination  19  
6.1  MARPOL regulations and commercial  implications  19  
6.2  The crude oil washing of sludge and some practical  implications  21  
7  COW equipment and procedures  23  
7.1  COW machines and tank cleaning nozzles  23  
7.2  COW pipeline systems  25  
7.3  Stripping systems  26  
7.4  Crude oil washing  concurrent  with cargo discharge  27  
7.5  "Closed cycle" crude oil washing  28  
8  Crude oil washinp  of sludges  29  
8.1  The theory  and background  29  
8.2  Practical circumstances  affecting the crude oil washing of sludges  31  
8.3  An alternative,  practical programme for the crude oil washing of sludge  34  
9  Closing remarks  36  
1 Introduction
Regulations laid down in the 1978 Protocol to the 1973 Marine Pollution Convention (MARPOL
73/78) require the cargo tanks of crude oil tankers to be cleaned using a procedure called crude oil
washing (COW). With the COW procedure the crude oil cargo itself is used as the cleaning medium.
During the 196,6s it was discovered that crude oil, when applied to the cargo still remaining on tank
floors and to the tank structures, using tank cleaning machines, effectively dissolves and
dilutes these residues and mixes it in with the rest of the cargo which is being discharged ashore by
the cargo pumps.
Prior to the advent of COW, cargo tanks were washed with sea water on their ballast voyage to the
next loading port. The mixture of oil and cleaning water resulting from this type of cleaning operation
could settle out in the tanker's slop tanks with the decanted water being discharged overboard into
the ocean. Consequently, this operation resulted in inevitable operational discharges of oil-water
mixture into the sea.
However, the use of crude oil to COW the tanks means that the solvent action of the crude oil makes
the process far more environmentally friendly than when water is used. Additionally, after undertaking
COW, th volume of cargo residues left in the tanks is greatly reduced removing the subsequent risk
of opera ional discharges at sea.
Modern ankers are designed with segregated ballast tanks (SST), and there are only a few stipulated
on which seawater comes into contact with the oil cargo system during the course of
normal tbnker operations. The requirement for new crude oil tankers to be built with double hulls,
in the 1990s, has further improved the efficiency of COW operations because more of
the structural support members are placed outside the cargo tank and on these types of ships, the
amount bf crude oil residues left in the cargo tank following discharge is much reduced. Overall, the
COW prbcedure and ship design changes have greatly reduced the need for operational discharges
from tankers.
  13S of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 requires that the COW installation and arrangements
onboardla tanker should comply with the provisions of the "Specifications for the Design, Operation
and Conkol of Crude Oil Washing Systems"adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
in 1978'fThe COW regime requires that before departure on a ballast voyage, after the complete
discharg of cargo, sufficient tanks shall have been crude oil washed to preclude the ballasting of a
cargo without it having been crude oil washed. On SST ships approximately 25 per cent of the
crude oi carrier's cargo tanks need to be washed, in the prescribed manner, on every voyage for
sludge c ntrol purposes provided that no tank need be crude oil washed for sludge control purposes
more th n once in every four months. For tankers with insufficient SST capacity, the number of tanks
to be crude oil washed has to be increased above this minimum level in order to render sufficient
cargo "clean" enough (as defined by the regulations) to take onboard enough water ballast to
achieve he tanker's required sailing ballast draught for the voyage.
Page 1 INTERTANKO - A Guide to Crude Oil Washing and Cargo Heating Criteria - May 200
In  addition  to  the  regulatory  controls  governing  the  use  of  COW,  cornmercial  or  charter  party 
requirements  may  require  the  tanker operator to  carry  out  a greater or  lesser degree of  COW  than 
the  specified  rninimum  in  order to  rnaximise  the  discharge of the  crude  oil  cargo.  Notwithstanding 
these  commercial  pressures  for  the  extent  of COW to  be  undertaken,  at  no  time  should  a  tanker 
undertake  less  than  the  minimum  levels  specified  in  paragraph  6  of  Section  1  of the  mandatory 
onboard COW Manual. 
Although  the  MARPOL  73/78 COW  regime  has  proved  to  be  eminently  successful  in  minimising 
tanker operational discharges and  improving cargo outturns during the  last two  decades of the  20th 
century,  the  tanker  industry has  also  been  learning  more  about the  behaviour of  crude  oil  cargoes 
over  the  period.  A  number  of  research  projects'  have  led  to  a  better  understanding  of  the  COW 
process  and  how  it  could  be  further  improved.  As  a  result  of  this  work  and  at  the  initiative  and 
suggestion  of INTERTANKO,  in  1999  the  IMO  adopted  amended COW requirements  that  are  laid 
down  in  the  revised  "Specifications for the Design, Operation and Control of Crude Oil Washing
Systems". These revised  Specifications  can  be found  in the  2000 Edition of the  "Crude Oil Washing
Systems" publication,  issued  by the  IMO. 
From an operational perspective the changes provide a more realistic and accurate way of determining 
the  suitability of a crude  oil for  use in crude  oil washing. 
2 The COW Manual
The  2000  Edition  of the  "Crude Oil Washing Systems" publication  contains the  following: 
-Revised  "Specifications for the Design, Operation and Control of Crude Oil Washing Systems"
(IMO  Resolution A.446(XI), as  amended by  Resolutions A.497(XII) and A.897(21)); 
-Standard format for  the  "Crude Oil Washing Operations and EqUipment Manuals" (IMO  Resolution 
MEPC.3(XII), as  amended  by  Resolution  MEPC.81(43)); 
-Examples of  "Crude Oil Washing Operations and Equipment Manuals";
-"Guidelines for In-port Inspection of Crude Oil Washing Procedures".
It  is  a  MARPOL  requirement  that  every  crude  oil  carrier  has  onboard  a  reference  manual,  known 
as  the  "Crude Oil Washing Operations and Equipmen: Manual", in  order to  assist  the  responsible 
tanker officer in carrying out the  prescribed COW operation correctly.  Each  tanker's COW Manual is 
customised to meet the  specific requirements of the  particular ship.  The  COW  Manual is comprised 
of the  following  17 sections: 
1.   The  text  of the  revised  specifications. 
This  section  contains the  complete text  of  the  revised  "Specifications for the Design, Operation
and Control of Crude Oil Washing Systems" and  the  agreed  interpretations  of certain  of the 
provisions of the  revised  Specifications. 
1 T.J. Gunner, "Pollution Control for CrudeOil Tankers andtheAccuracy inthe Measurementof theirCargoes"
- University of Wales .1993
INTERTANKO - ,A, Guide io  Crude Oil  \jVElsh\lQ  <.H",C:  CatTiO Heahng  Criteria  - ~   y   2004   Page  2 
2.COWsystem drawings
This section contains linedrawings showing thefollowing aspects:
(a)crude oil washing lines andvalves;
(b)cargopumps, linesandvalves;
(c)ballast systems(wherefitted);
(d)stripping systems;
(e)position oftankwashing machines;
(f)  positionoffacilities for handdipping andtank gauges; and
(g)inertgas deck distribution system.
3.  Description oftheCOWsystem andoperationalandequipmentparameters. Thissectioncontains
a description of the cargo, ballast, washing and stripping systems. In addition, it specifies the
following details:
(a) types oftankwashing machinesandtheirstandpipe length insidethetanks;
(b) revolutions ofthemachines;
(c) methods ofchecking theoperation oftank washing machines;
(d) minimum operation pressureforcrude oilwashing;
(e) maximumpermitted oxygen level incargotanks;
(f) duration oftank washing machine cycles;
(g) resultsoftests performed inaccordancewith paragraph 4.2.1 O(b) ofthe revised
Specificationsandthe methodofcomputation; and
(h) method ofpreventing entryofoil/vapours intothe engine room.
4.  Dangers ofand precautionsagainstoilleakage
5.  Useandcontrol ofinertgas
6.  Precautionsagainstelectrostatichazards
7.   Personnel requirements(training andqualifications)
8.  Methods ofcommunicationduring COW
9.  Determinationofthesuitabilityofacrude oilfor useincrude oilwashing
10.  Crudeoilwashing checklists
11.  Approved methods and programmesforcrude oilwashing
12. Typical crudeoilwash programmes
13.  The methodfordraining cargo tanks
14. Themethod and procedures fordraining cargo pumps and lines
15. Typicalproceduresforballasting and methodof preventing hydrocarbonvapouremissions
16.  Compliance procedures for Regulation 9 ofMARPOLAnnex 1 
17.  Inspections andmaintenanceofequipment
2.1  Section 9  ofthe COW Manual
Eachtanker'sCOW Manualcontainsallthenecessaryinformationregarding thetechnicaloperation
ofthe crude oil washing equipment and associated onboard systems. Of particularinterest in the
contextofthis publication isSection 9,whichprovides information onthecrudeoilwashing medium.
Page 3   INTERTANKO- /1,  Guide toCrude Oil Washing and Cargo Heatmg Criteria - May 200
This section  was  the  subject of major amendment by IMO  in  1998.  Following detailed  research into 
the  behaviour of  a  wide  range  of  different  crude  oil  cargoes,  it  was  agreed  that  it would  be  more 
appropriate to specify criteria to  help  determine the  suitability of a crude  oil for  COW  rather than  the 
previous approach of lncludinq a long list of crude oils deemed to be unsuitable for  COW As a result, 
the  heading  of Section  g has been  changed from  "List of crude  oils unsuitable  for crude oil washing" 
to  "Determination  of the suitability of a crude oil for use in crude oil washing". 
Section  g,  like  all  sections  of  the  COW  Manual  with  the  exception  of  the  Specifications,  is 
recommendatory.  The  revised  contents of section g of the  COW  Manual  is worded as follows: 
(1)  For a tanker not fitted with  heating coils 
This tanker is not fitted with heating coils in the cargo tanks and should not carry cargoes which will 
require to be heated either to obtain minimum  pumpabiiity criteria or to avoid excessive sludging of 
both the  designated clean  ballast tanks  and the  vessel's tanks to be washed for  sludge  control. 
Notes  and Definitions 
(1)  The pumpability criterion is determined by the oil's kinematic viscosity at the observed temperature 
of the cargo prior to its discharge.  In order to attain optimum  efficiency for discharge  this viscosity 
should not exceed 250 centistokes (cSt) and never be in  excess  of 600 cSt. 
(2)   The excessive sludging criterion is determined primarily by the crude oil's temperature throughout 
its  transportation  and storage.  If the  cargo's  temperature  is  likely  to  drop  below the  crude  oil 
cargo's  Cloud  Point temperature,  then  sludging  of  cargo  tanks  is  to  be  expected.  The  Cloud 
Point temperature  is  the  temperature  at  which  the  crude  oil's  wax  and associated solid  phase 
separates from  the bulk  liqUid phase of the  cargo. 
(2)  For a tanker only fitted with heating coils in  slop tank(s) 
This tanker is fitted with heating coils only in the slop tank(s) and should  not carry cargoes which 
will  require  to be  heated  for  pumpabiiity. 
(1)   If sludge  deposition  is suspected  or determined  in  the  main  cargo  tanks,  then  an  alternative 
crude  oil washing  programme should be utilised.  Recommendations regarding  this programme 
and procedure are to be found in Section  11 of this  COW Manual. 
(3)  For  a tanker fitted with heating coils 
This  tanker is fitted  with  heating coils  in all  the cargo  tanks  and,  SUbject to the  iimitations of the 
cargo  heating system,  can carry  cargoes which  require heating for  either pumpability or sludge 
General Guidance 
Attention  is  drawn  to  the  difficulties  which  may  be  encountered with  certain  crude  oils.  During  the 
discharge of  crude  oils  that  exhibit  criteria  that  would  create  either pumpability  problems  or sludqe 
INTER IANKO - A Cude to Crude  Oil VVashing  and  Ca-ge  Heating  Criteria·  Mav 2004   Page  4 
deposition, crude oil washing of each tank scheduled for such an operation should be carried out
concurrently with the discharging of the particular tank in order to minimise the affect on the crude
oil residues of cooling. Cooling will increase both the kinematic and dynamic viscosities of the tank
residues and, therefore, affect the efficiency of the crude oil washing programme.
As a general guidance to the suitability of an oil for crude oil washing on board this tanker, the
following criteria should be used:
(1) For aromatic crude oils whose kinematic viscosity is the temperature controlling characteristic,
the kinematic viscosity of the oil used for crude oil washing should not exceed 60 cSt at the oil
wash medium temperature
(2) For paraffinic crude oils whose Pour Point temperature is the controlling characteristic, the
temperature of the cargo to be used for crude oil washing should exceed its Cloud Point
temperature by at least 10°C if excessive sludging is present and should only be used once in a
"closed cycle" washing programme.
The approximate Cloud Point temperature of an oil may be calculated with the following formula,
where the Pour Point temperature (x) of the crude oil is known:
Cloud Point temperature eC) = 20.2 (100.00708•. 0.1157714) + 8'
x is the crude oil's Pour Point temperature degree C
As mentioned, the above advice is contained in Section 9 of the COW Manual which, in turn, is
contained in the 2000 Edition of IMO's COW Systems publication. The advice shows that the crude
oil itself is key to the effectiveness of all COW programmes.
Crude oil is a generic name for a broad range of hydrocarbon liquids. Crude oils range from the wax-
rich, paraffinic cargoes with high Pour Point temperatures to the aromatic high-viscosity types. The
densities of the full spectrum of crude oil cargoes range from about 700 to 980 kg/m'. Some crude
oils contain large amounts of gaseous/volatile components Which, in turn, may contain hydrogen
sulphide. In contrast, other crudes contain little or no gaseous component. To achieve the desired
goal of adequately cleaning cargo tanks carrying crude oil, it is essential to understand the nature
and behaviour of a crude oil prior to using it as a washing medium.
2 For a worked example using this equation and a corresponding graph for Cloud Point temperature determination,
please see section 5.1.2 below
Page 5 INTERTANI<O· A GUide to Crude Oil Washing and Cargo Heating Criteria· May 200
3 What is crude oil?
Crude oil is a naturally formed liquid/substance that is, probably, the most complex liquid carried by
sea. The term "crude oil" loosely describes a vast number of varying types of liquids that contain the
basis of supply of all hydrocarbons required by society. To the general population, this substance
is perceived to be the black sticky material that is very occasionally found washed up on beaches
or seen in media coverage of pollution incidents covering sea birds and mammals. In fact, such a
perception is wrong as crude oil is a heterogeneous mixture of hundreds of differing hydrocarbon
species, all in differing proportions depending upon the specific type of crude oil and even perhaps
the unique consignment of the oil. In nature it is far from the black sticky substance, except for certain
types of crude oil, and is normally a brown/black liquid whose viscosity is similar to that of water.
In the context of crude oil washing, the MARPOL 73/78 definition of crude oil is as follows:
"Crude oil means any liquid hydrocarbon mixture occurring naturally in the earth, whether or not
treated to render it suitable for transportation, and includes:
(a) crude oil from which certain distillate fractions may have been removed; and
(b) crude oil to which certain distillate fractions may have been added."
The treatment referred to is the preparation of the crude oil for transport by stabilising it. In this
process the dissolved gas content within the crude oil, including the toxic hydrogen SUlphide gas, is
reduced. Reference to the removal of distillate fractions expands the number of liquids capable of
being used for crude oil washing to include "topped crude oils", i.e. partially refined crude oil. In the
extreme case this definition could apply to atmospheric residue, i.e. the residue remaining follOWing
the distillation of crude oil as the definition does not contain any percentage of the fractions that
may have been removed. Reference to the addition of certain distillate fractions further augments
the number of COW liquids covered by the definition to include spiked crude oils and, again in the
extreme case, reconstituted (recon) crude oils.
4 The physical behaviour of crude oil
As a basic rule for all substances their physical state varies with the temperature of the substance
that reflects the heat energy supplied to the substance or retained by the substance. The physical
states of a substance fall into three primary phase categories namely, their solid, liquid and gaseous/
vapour phases. In the case of crude oil as a heterogeneous mixture of many individuai hydrocarbon
substances, its normal visual state is that of a liquid.
Crude oil as a mixture contains numerous species of hydrocarbons that will also, if separated from
the original mixture, exhibit the same three phases, as described above, at varying temperatures. If a
pure individual hydrocarbon specie were to be studied, then precise temperatures may be ascertained
for the formation of each of the relevant phases. However, by mixing the numerous hydrocarbon
types together to generate the complex mixture which constitutes a crude oil, a vast array of differing
physical properties is created. The determination of the behaviour of the overall mixture and the
interaction of the various hydrocarbon species upon each other become very important when
INTERTANKO -/\ Guide to Crude Oil Washing and Cargo Heatirg Criteria - May 2004
Page 6
considering the most effective methods for the removal of any separated sludge from a crude oil, i.e.
the interaction of liquid solvent phase upon a partially solidified phase. However, this publication will
not attempt to describe such behaviour in detail but will concentrate upon that behaviour that would
impact the transportation criteria and the subsequent use of a crude oil as a washing medium.
In terms of their composition and their general cargo-handling attributes, crude oils can be considered
to fall into one of three categories, i.e. low-wax, higher viscosity aromatic crude oils; highly waxy,
paraffinic crudes; intermediate/naphthenic crude oils that fall between these two extremes.
Paraffinic crude oils, for example, Bu Attifel, Widuri and Sarir, have relatively high Pour Point
temperatures due to the relatively large amounts of paraffinic wax they contain but much lower
viscosities than aromatic crudes in the liquid phase. Paraffinic crude oils are temperature-sensitive
and require continuous heating in order to prevent phase separation and "solidification" during
transportation and for efficient discharge.
Aromatic crude oils, for example, Boscan and Tia Juana Pesado, have very much higher kinematic
viscosities than paraffinic crude oils. As such, without heating they may not be able to meet the 250
cSt criterion laid down in Section 9 of the COW Manual and would need to be carried in tanks with
heating colis. Because they do not have the phase separation characteristics of paraffinic crude oils,
aromatic crude oils pose fewer difficulties with regard to any phase separation characteristics when
being transported by sea and during cargo-handling and COW operations. When heating is required
for aromatic crude oils, it will be for viscosity control and pumpabllity rather than to prevent phase
separation and sludge deposition.
In the past, the two characteristics of crude 011 identified as the primary determinants of its carriage
conditions in tankers were its Pour Point temperature and kinematic viscosity. However, as reflected
in the 2000 Edition of the COW Systems publication, and as will be explained in this Guide, the
Pour Point temperature has been replaced by the Cloud Point temperature as the second of the two
primary criteria in respect of crude oil washing.
4.1 The physical behaviour of aromatic crude oils
Like paraffinic crude oils, aromatic crudes also contain the relevant series of hydrocarbons that
would be gaseous, liquid and solid phase products in their own right under normal transportation
conditions. While the gaseous and liquid phases are readily detectable in aromatic crudes, the
partially solidified phase is less noticeable. An aromatic crude oil's true Pour Point temperature
is difficult to determine accurately. As aromatic oils contain only very limited amounts of paraffinic
waxes, attempts to determine this temperature precisely can yield varying results and will depend
upon the analyst's observational skills. Whatever the final result, the real Pour Point temperature for
aromatic oils is normally very low.
Why should this be so? As stated above, aromatic crude oils are temperature-dependant due to
their higher kinematic viscosities compared to those of paraffinic crude oils. As viscosity varies with
temperature, i.e. a log linear variation, the viscosity of aromatic crude oils increases as the oil cools.
Page 7
INTERTANKO - A GUide to Crude Oil   and CarQD Heating Criteria - May' 200
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For the analyst, the Pour Point temperature is that at which the oil ceases to move within the testing
apparatus. For aromatic crude oils, the Pour Point is reached as kinematic viscosity slowly becomes
so large that movement within the test sample slows to such an extent as not to be detectable. In
contrast, determining the Pour Point temperature of a paraffinic crude oil is more straightforward
because the point at which the waxes crystallise is relatively easy to observe and creates a more
rapid transition from liquid to near solid state. At their Pour Point temperatures aromatic crude oils
still remain fairly homogenous mixtures, with no observable phase separation.
The phase separation factor is a distinguishing feature when considering the transport of aromatic
and paraffinic crude oils, in particular for their respective heating requirements and COW operations.
Phase separation will be discussed further below when other physical properties of crude oils are
considered. However, the General Guidance as supplied in the revised Section 9 of the COW Manual
with regard to kinematic viscosity should be noted. Poorer pumping performance will commence
with centrifugal pumps when the kinematic viscosity of the cargo exceeds 250 cst. Poorer stripping
performance wili occur when the kinematic viscosity of the cargo exceeds 600 cst. Thus, the crude
oil cargo temperature at which these two operation parameters are reached becomes an essential
pumping criterion for effective discharge of all the crude oil cargo and should be made available in
the cargo's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). These data sheets are now required prior to the
delivery onboard of both oil cargoes and ship's bunkers as from 2
' June 2003 as a result of the IMO
Marine Safety Committee Resolution NO.150 (77).
4.2 The physical behaviour of paraffinic crude oils
Phase separation and the effect of temperature
The examination of the behaviour of numerous crude oils has shown that under certain temperature
conditions extensive sludge/residues can separate from the crude oil. These sludges would, under
normal circumstances, remain onboard tankers after cargo discharge and the mandatory (or charter
party-specified) crude oil washing of the ship's tanks.
Some of the crude oils that experienced such phase separation, for example Gulf of Suez mix, Flotta,
Iranian Heavy, Iranian Light and Kuwait Export Blend (on occasions and subject to the blend), were
not traditionally expected to behave in this manner. Samples of the residues from actual discharges
were obtained for physical examination and analysis, together with numerous samples of a wider
selection of crude oils. The investigation was undertaken in order to gain a greater understanding of
the behaviour and effectiveness of the crude oil as a medium for a COW programme.
This investigation enabled the preparation of guidance as part of achieving the overall objective, as
mandated in the regulations, of cleaning tanks in preparation for the possible loading of baliast and to
control sludge build-up in the cargo tank spaces, not least on segregated ballast tankers. An added
benefit of the investigation, particularly for the cargo owner, is that it provided an understanding of
how to maxlrnise the volume crude oil cargo discharged.
Page 9
The investigationwas inordertoachievethe followingspecificaims:
(1) Toidentifythecriticaltemperatureat which aspecificcrude oilwill begin toprecipitatesludge-
forminghydrocarbons,as noted onboard the varioustankers.
(2) Todetermineamethodtocalculate theextentofthelikelydeposition;forthepurposeofaccuracy
acomparisonwasundertakenbetweentheobservedandmeasuredvolumes ofsludgeonboard
the vessels.
(3) As a result of gaining a better understanding ofthe behaviourofthe sludge, to determine the
Iikeiy effectiveness of COW operations and develop suitable methods for the removal of the
sludge by COw.
Itisclearfromtheinvestigation thatthephase that creates thegreatestdifficultyfor crude oilwashing
isthatofparaffinic sludge (sometimes, erroneouslyreferred toas"sedirnents'").Sludge isthepartially
SOlidified hydrocarbon deposits of paraffinicwaxes and otherspecies from a crude oil that also has
entrapped within its complex structure avariety of hydrocarbon species from the crude oil asa liquid
phase.Predominantly,thecompositionofsludgeisaselection ofthevariouswaxspecies ascontained
within a crude oil cargo. Once the sludge has separated it is nearly impossible, given the normal
facilities onboard atanker,toreturnthiswaxy material toitsoriginal liquid phasewithinthe crudeoil's
In the investigation the deposits/sludges were also examined to determine their flow/pumpability
todevelopalternativeCOWtechniquesthatwouldefficientlyremovethe siudge. Thetemperatureat
which the phase separation, or sludgedeposition, phenomenon occurs has been termedthe Cloud
Point temperatureofacrudeoil.
5 The Cloud Point temperature determination of a crude oil
The Cloud Point temperature ofacrude oil may bedefined asthe temperatureat which the waxes
inthe oil changefrom theirliquid phaseand becomesuspended, partiallysolidified particleswithin
the bulk ofthe remaining cargo. Inotherwords, itisthe temperatureatwhich aphase separationis
created within the oil.
Fortransparentoils, such asgasoil,the Cloud Pointtemperaturehastraditionallybeen obtained by
visual examination ofsamplesSUbjectedtoacooling programmeandthe identificationofacloud or
haze ofprecipitatedwaxcrystalsatthecritical temperature. Itistobenotedthatthis"new"CloudPoint
isthe"completion"temperatureforthephase separation.
3 Reference: ISO TR 8338 for relevant definition- see definitionsin paragraph 6.2.1. 
   TERTANKO..AGuiceto Crude OilWaslling and Cargo Healing Criteria- May2004 Page 10 
Clearly,  for  operational  purposes it is  more  important to determine the  temperature at which  a waxy 
phase separation starts rather than  the  one  at which  it finishes. This  is particularly important because 
once  this  phase  separation  has  occurred  onboard,  tankers  do  not  normaliy  have  the  facilities  or 
heating  capacity to  re-Iiquefy the  partialiy solidified  phase.  Once  this  phase  has  started,  it wili  have 
developed  its  own  physical  parameters,  such  as  its  Pour Point temperature,  that are  different from 
the  original crude oil's  parameters. 
5.1 Methods for determining the Cloud Point temperature onboard a tanker
5.1.1 Bondi Test method
The  visual  technique  used  to  determine  the  Cloud  Point  of a  transparent oil  like  gas  oil  cannot be 
utilised  for  crude  oils  due  to  their  opalescence.  The  first  method  for  determining  the  Cloud  Point 
temperature  of  a  crude  oil  that  was  investigated,  the  Bondi  Test  method,  focuses  on  the  physical 
behaviour of an oil during a controlied cooling programme that could  be undertaken safely and easily 
onboard  a  tanker.  The  method  relies  upon  the  detection  of the  oil's  stable  temperature  transition 
through  its latent heat loss  to  partial  "solidification". 
This  method can  be accomplished as  foliows: 
(1)   Obtain a  representative sample of the  cargo.  Do  not  aliow the  cargo  sample to cool  before 
commencing the  test  procedure. 
(2)   Obtain a glass container (preferably nearly spherical) that is made of heat! temperature resistant 
glass and  fili the  container with  the  sample. 
(3)   Insert  a  thermometer  into  the  centre  of  the  sample  volume  and  heat  the  sample  to  a 
temperature  of  at  least 30"C  above  the  Pour  Point temperature  of the  crude  oil  in  a  hot  water 
bath.  Do not tightly stopper the container during this process.
(4)  Prepare  an  alternative bath  with  water whose temperature  is at least 15"C  below the  sample's 
Pour Point temperature.  Have  a clock or watch  available with  a second  hand. 
(5)   Immerse the  heated  sample  container into  the  cold  bath  and  record  at very  regular intervals (at 
least every 30 seconds) the  temperature of the  sample. 
(6)  Graphicaliy plot the  sample temperature against time  elapse from the  start  of the  test.  Determine 
the  temperatures  at  which  there  was  no  loss  of temperature  with  time  elapse.  The  first  such 
instance as detected wili  be the  approximate Cloud  Point  temperature and  the  second  instance, 
if testing time  is extended to the  required period, will  be the approximate Pour Point temperature 
of the  crude  oil. 
Upon  completion of the test and  the  plotting of the  measured results,  the graph wili  roughly resemble 
the  shape shown in  Figure  1, overleaf. 
Page 11   INTERTANKO -1\ Guide  to  Crude  Oil  \iVashing and Cargo  Heating  Criteria  - May  200 
Upto now, a great manypeople in classification circles saem to havethouqht: "Oh, ir s just atanker. Simple design -
simple to class." But in r cent years shipowners have begun t o ask questions about the fatigue problems affec ng
bulk oil tankers attar Dilly , few years in service or the problems chemical tankers are conlrontad with when carry-
macertain cargoes. Ma)lIet ankers ar n't mat simpl e after all. Not surprisrnqlv, the focus IS switching to issues such
as operational durahility and corrosion resistance, and to a tanker's service life. Because at GL we are applying all
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kers. At GLwe have the expertise to help your tankers achievethis goal - over a long service life.
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Phone +49·(O)40 -:J61 49-0· Fax +49· (0l40-361 49-200
e-mail: headoffice@g .
RAT I N 2 4 I 7
Figure 1 shows a temperature drop of an oil sample against time. There are two positions along the
temperature gradient where no apparent temperature loss is observed. However, heat loss (energy)
will be occurring at these positions, which is termed "latent heat". It is these positions that determine
the phase transition from liquid to solid for the paraffinic waxes within the oil sample. The highest
temperature "plateau" is the Cloud Point temperature of the sample (in this case approximately 59'C)
while the lowest is the Pour Point temperature (approximately 43'C).
45 +---+--- ---
i --
Time In Minutes
Figure 1 Example of a Bondi Test on a crude oil sample
The Bondi test is recommended for the determination of the Cloud Point temperature of high wax
content opaque hydrocarbons. For these oils with a high Pour Point temperature, the Bondi Test
provides reasonable indications of the critical Cloud Point temperature, as shown in Figure 1.
However, the overall results for all of the crude oils tested did not meet the accuracy requirements of
the investigation, i.e. within ± 3'C of the equivalent observed Cloud Point temperature.
5.1.2 Primary Cloud Point test method
The second method relies on the potential non-linear (logarithmic) increase in the kinematic viscosity
of the crude oil with temperature decrease, a phenomenon caused by the precipitation of the wa,xl
sludge phase. Although this method sounds complicated, it relies upon a basic dynamic physical
parameter of a liquid which is well-known to most Chief Engineers. The Cloud Point temperature is
that point on the graph where the kinematic viscosity shows an inflection point as the temperature
decreases. This is the point at which the oil sample becomes non-Newtonian or is a mixture of
materials rather than a homogenous substance.
The quidlnq test method used for this determination is the standard kinematic viscosity test method
as used in all oil laboratories. Although this testing procedure cannot normally be carried out onboard
a tanker, a formula has been developed from the numerous results obtained. This formula allows the
Cloud Point temperature to be calculated to a degree of accuracy sufficient to ensure the reliability
of the results for most crude oils.
Page 13 INTERTAr-,IKO - A Guide to Crude Oil Washing and Cargo Heating Criteria - rvlay 200
The  results  of  this  developed  testlnc  method  were  then  applied  in  the  testing  of  some  73  different 
crude  oils  types  for  their  kinematic  viscosities  to  determine  their  Cloud  Point  temperatures.  Log 
Kinemat ic. Viscosity graphs for a selection of these  crude oils are shown  in Figure 2. As mentioned, 
the  indiv idual  Cloud  Point  temperatures  may  be  identified  by  the  inflection  points  in  the  various 
4 , 
•  • Bach  Ho 
Bonny  Light
-'- Bront Blend 
- -- Cabi nda 

.- Djano 


. - Escravo9
2.5 •  • , 
Si der 
•  Foreados


.\ \
.  .
I  '."" .  '\ 
\  . 

...... Gulf of 
:;;  " ', .  1
"2  .  \  \..  .....--.  \ 
•  Kuwait Export 
'  .  lalang 
" .  lower Zakum 
"  \ \  '\ .  "  .  -.  -"--- """ 
•  'Ii' "  :• •:  ..  .  .  ' .  ,  ',-.   _.• 
- - - Minas
..J 1.5 ..  .  •  :  . ..:  . .  . ... :  ., ..  . ..  .:.;-..:..__• _  _..._ 
..  .   •  •  Nemba 
- ..- Oseberq 
' .. ,...: .
a- Rabi
- -.&. - - Widuri

o   10  20 30 40  50  60  70 80 
Temperate \c>;nl igmdn) 
Figure  2 Cloud  Point  graphs  for a variety  of crude  oils 
As examples , the Cloud  Point  and  Pour  Point  temperatures for a number of crude  oils , as found  by 
analysis , are  given  in Table  1. 
Crude  Oil  Pour Point  Temperature °C  Cloud  Point  Temperature  °C 
Arab Light  - 57.0 ° 10.0°
Iran  Heavy  - 12.0° 14.0°
Brent Blend 


DubaiExport  - 60.0

Flotta  Crude  - 8.0

Kale  Melange 
o.o- 24 ,0°
G.S.M .  -I- 3.0

Ardjuna  ,  + 27 .0


+ 27.0"  38.0" 
Bu Attifel  + 35.0

Table 1 Pour  Point  and Cloud  Point  temperatures for a variety  of crude  oils 
It  was  recognised  that  if  the  formula  is  to  be  capable  of  use  onboard  vessels  then  the  input  data 
to  the  formula  would  have  to  be  readily  available  to  a  vessel.  A  rough  "rule  of  thumb"  correlation 
exists  between  the  Cloud  Point  and  Pour  Point  temperatures of certain  refined  petroleum  products. 
/l1!).1   Paae 1
    • .  
alln,..l  emf  ,[j 
For example,  for middle  distillates there  is a  relatively stable gap  between  the two temperatures  of 
approximately  15'C. However, there  is no  similar,  simple  correlation for crude oils. 
The Pour Point temperature of a  crude  oil  was thought to  be  the  most suitable starting  point,  given 
its  common  reference  within  documents,  when  inputting  data  in  order to  determine  a  crude  oil's 
approximate Cloud  Point temperature.  Thus,  the equation  capable  of  predicting  a  crude  oil's  Cloud 
Point is  based on  the use  of the crude oil's  Pour Point temperature (x)  as the key  parameter. 
This equation  is as  follows: 
Cloud Point temperature eC) = 20.2(10°.00708'-0.1157714)  + 8 
x  is the  crude oil's  Pour Point temperature degree C 
For ease of understanding,  a  worked  example of  the use  of this  equation  for  a  crude  oil  that has  a 
Pour Point temperature of  15 °C  is: 
Cloud Point temperature  eC) = 20.2(10°.00708'-0.1157714)  + 8  
= 20.2 x  (1010.00708"51-0."57714)  + 8  
= 20.2 x  (1001062-0.1157714)  + 8  
= 20.2 X  (10-00095714)  + 8  
= (20.2 x  0.9782) + 8  
= 19.76 + 8  
Cloud  Point temperature (OC)  =  27.8
This  equation may be  represented  in  a graphical format for ease of  use,  as  shown in  Figure 3. 
5   ~
-20  ·10  10 20 30  40 
Pour  POlnl  Temperature  (centigrade) 
Figure 3 A graph used to  determine the  Cloud  Point of a crude oil 
Page 15  lNTERT/l..NKO  - A Guide to  Oil'v".la.<jnmp  and  Cargo Heating  Criteria  - May  200 
5.1.3 Density method
This  third  Cloud  Point  temperature  prediction  method  utilises  the parameter of density  and  is based 
on  a considerable  amount  of  research.  Crude  oil  density is a parameter well  understood  by  tanker 
deck  officers  and the  method  can  be safely  undertaken  onboard  ship  to determine  the Cloud  Point 
temperature,  provided  the  basic  equipment  is  available .  This  density  method  was  also  used  in 
this  investigation  of  crude  oil  behaviour  to  correlate  the  results  with  the  Cloud  Point  temperatures 
determined  by viscometry under  laboratory conditions. 
A more  sophisticated  piece  of analytical  equipment was  used  during  the  research  to  determine  the 
density  for  a  range  of  crude  oils  over  a  typical  carriage  temperature  range .  By  plotting  densities 
against the respective temperatures. an inflection in the graph was noted at the previously determined 
Cloud  Point  temperature.  Figure  4  shows  the  respective  results  for  the  Cloud  Point  temperature  of 
Bonny  Light crude  oil obtained  by both  the density and  kinematic viscosity  techniques. 
0 .B6 0  • . _  .  5 UO 


0 .3 5:;

C B" :; 1 

"  ',  <, 
. I 
, 3 5 0
I 40 0
250 I 
20 0 :lI::
D. r1S l t y
-,- V I$-C OS I t y c s ! 

. Ba·)
om I 
\ ,--_1
10  10 20 2 5 30 3 0
Ternoerat ure (centIgrade )
Figure 4  Density  Relationship with  KViscosity for  Bonny  Light  Crude  Oil Sample No.1 032 
Figure 4  Cloud  Point temperature for Bonny  Light crude  oil , 8S determined  by density  and kinematic 
viscosity methods". 
It is believed that the density method provides a viable way of determining the Cloud Point temperature 
of crude  oil which  can  be undertaken  onboard  ship. 
The  density  method  procedure  is comprised  of the  following  steps: 
(1)   Obtain  a sample  of the  crude oil  cargo. 
(2)  Obtain  a  set  of  standard  petroleum  hydrometers  and  thermometers  to  cover  the  range  of 
temperatures  likely  to be encountered  during  the  voyage . 
,   The KED  line inserted  on the graph  identifies  the temperature  at which  the density  plot is no longer  linear whereas  the BLUE vertical 
line  identifies  the temperature at which the kinemati c vlscosity  IS  no longer  Newtonian .  These  two temperatures  are  the same and 
identify the Cloud Point temperature  of the crude  oil . 
'NTERTl \ NKO - A GUIde llJ Crw 
7.2 COW pipeline systems
Figure 5 shows a simplified schematic plan of a pipeline system used to del iver crude oil to the COW
machines. An examination shows the following three sources of crude oil supply :
(1) Directly into the main crude oil wash line on deck via a crossover on deck from the main crude oil
discharge pipelines . This is achieved by opening the relevant valves connecting the main crude
oil pipelines with the main cow pipeline on the crossover pipeline.
(2) By isolating one cargo pump from the bulk discharge for the purpose of taking suction on a crude
oil volume in a specific cargo tank. This is achieved by opening the relevant valve on the COW
pipeline crossover (e.g. connecting the green crude oil line) to the COW main and closing the
main green crude oil block valve on deck.
(3) By isolating one cargo pump (e.g. the green pump) from the bulk discharge for the purpose of
taking suction on a prepared and designated crude oil wash stock located in the vessel 's slop
tanks. This is achieved by the same method as above but taking direct suction on the slop tank
using the green pump.
- COW Mil'"
- Red C" rgo Line
- Blue Cargo lInc
- Gf£o€' n   ~ r g o line
- Slop Tank Sucuon hnes
- COW Machlnea
Figure 5 Outline of a COW pipeline system
These differing crude oil supply methods allow flexibil ity when compiling a specific COW programme
in order to achieve optimum effectiveness and cleanliness in the cargo tanks to be washed .
The crude oil supply is delivered into a main fore and aft pipeline running the full length of the ship's
cargo tanks space; this is the crude oil wash main pipeline. At suitable locations along the length
of this main pipeline smaller diameter transverse pipelines are connected to enable delivery of the
crude oil supply to specific COW machines. The COW pipeline system, as required by the MARPOL
regulations, is a fixed system. In contrast , prior to the usc of COW, the water washing systems
employed onboard tankers were based on the use of portable hoses and machines.
I. : E   I ~ ~   I . 'Ill· l ' ruu II'. .l I, l I . . ' , _ j, I 25
(3) Heatorcool the sampleonboardby meansofmarginalcoolingand heatingofthe sampleusing
waterina safe environment(being alertto risks posed bycrudeoilvapouremissions).
(4) Record both the observed density, to at least three decimals, and the corresponding sample
temperature, to at leastO.5'C.
(5) DatarecordedcanbeplottedtorevealtheinflectionpointontheplotsimilartothatshowninFigure4.
As an alternative to measuring crude oil densityat differing temperatures and using the database
ofthe Cloud Pointtemperaturesobtained by the viscometricmethod, a mathematicalequationwas
developedto provide Cloud Point temperatures that fall within the accuracy limits required by the
research programme,i.e. ±3'C, for all crudeoils. Inorderto obtainareasonablysimplemodel, only
the three main parameters that affectthe temperature and extent of precipitation of waxes from a
crudeoilwereused indevelopingthe equation.Althoughverypertinentto the precipitationof crude
oil sludges, these parametersmaynot be readilyavailableto all, including ships'crews,whowould
wish to determinethe valueofthis parameter.
Thethree parametersareas follows:
(1) Totalwaxcontentofthe crudeoil.
(2) Meltingpoint/congealing pointtemperatureofthe varioustypesofwaxescontained inthe crude
oil and theirrespectiveamounts.
(3) Extent of "solvent" present in the oil which prevents, or inhibits, the precipitation until it is
The equationdevelopedto determinethe Cloud Pointtemperatureof acrudeoil isas follows:
PredictedCloudPointtemperatureeC) =104.26(lnlnF-1.55)
where: F=a  +b+ c 
and where:
a  =4(W
x  M
x  C )
b=2(W x M x C )
2  2  S09  
c = W X  M X  C 
3  3  369 
T = L C
, 49 
,  C
,  C
,  C
,  C
'  C
and where:
W isthe waxcontent(%weight)ofthe relevantC refining "cut"
Misthe relevantmeltingpointofthe wax contentW
Cisthepercentageweightofthe signified distillation/refining"cut" at
the subscripttemperatures
!NTERTP.,NKO- AGuide to Crude Oil \ \ i 3 S h i ~   ~   and CargoHeating Cnteria- May 200
Although the equation looks complicated, it can be easily computerised for onboard use. However,
the calculation relies upon the availability and knowledge of the relevant parameters for a crude oil
so that they may be inserted into the equations at the appropriate point. Such parameters may be
found in the more complete types of crude oil assays compiled by oil companies for their internal
use. This calculation method will provide an accurate temperature to which a cargo should be heated
in order to prevent the phase separation/deposition of potentially extensive sludges in a crude oil
tanker's cargo tank.
5.2 The predicted extent of precipitated sludge before COW
One negative result of heating an oil cargo, particularly for a volatile crude oil, is the increased
probability of volumetric loss due to breathing/evaporation of volatile fractions from the crude oil.
The loss of these volatile fractions from the oil will, in turn, reduce the potential "solvency" of the
remaining crude oil for washing purposes. As a result, it is necessary to exercise close control over
the heating of crude oil in a cargo tank, i.e. within a narrow temperature band of say ±3'C, during
transport in order to minimise volumetric loss of vapours from the heated cargo and, therefore,
maximise the volume of crude oil discharged.
A further preliminary equation has been developed to predict the likely extent of sludge deposition
from a crude oil given a cargo temperature below the Cloud Point temperature. This equation could
be of use to a tanker's Chief Officer during the preparation of a COW programme, helping with the
answers to questions such as: How many cycles are required? Should the COW medium be heated?
How much COW medium is needed? Should the COW concentrate on a bottom wash only In order
to remove the majority of the precipitated sludges?
The sludge deposition equation is as follows:
Sludge deposited (% weight of total cargo] =WTI • WTI
c o
• Tpl
Tp is the Pour Point temperature eC) of the crude oil
is the Cloud Point temperature eC) of the crude oil
To is the observed temperature eC) of the crude oil
is the total wax content (% weight) of the crude oil - this unknown can be calculated using the
equation for wax content In section 6.2
The sludge deposition equation has been tested for its accuracy on a number of occasions and has
shown reasonable accuracy, i.e. within 0.075 per cent of the true/observed residual onboard (ROB)
volume percentage. As a recent example, a tanker which discharged a 337,000 m' crude oil cargo
at an average temperature of 20SC, and whose cargo Cloud Point temperature was 24'C, was left
with an ROB volume of 1,333 m' prior to COw. The deposition model predicted an ROB/unpumpable
volume of 1,146 rn", or 0.34 per cent of the cargo volume. The actual ROB volume observed was
0.39 per cent of the full cargo volume.
INTERTANKO -A Guide to Crude Oil Washing and Cargo Heating Cnleria - May 2004 Page 18
6 The practical implications of the Cloud Point determination
6.1 MARPOL regulations and commercial implications
As  a  result of  the  introduction  of  MARPOL 1973f78, crude  oil  tankers  are  obliged  to  undertake the 
cleaning  of  a selection  of their tanks  utilising  their  crude  oil  cargo  during  its discharge for  either the 
subsequent carriage  of  ballast water or  de-sludging  the  cargo  tanks.  Within  the  commercial  world 
of  chartering  and  trading  of  vessels/cargoes this  procedure was  originally deemed  to  be financially 
advantageous given  that  all  the vessel's  cargo,  save for, perhaps,  up to  0.1%, would  be discharged 
including the traditionally unpumpable material. 
In return for these increased out!urns, tanker owners were normally allowed additional time of, typically, 
12  hours  to  accommodate cargo  discharge along  with  the  COW  procedure.  However,  today many 
standard,  modern  charter  party  forms  allow  substantially less  additional  time  and  only  when  COW 
is  specifically  requested  over  and  above  the  mandatory  minimum  to  comply  with  MARPOL 73/78. 
The  following  charter party  examples highlight the current state  of play: 
(1)   BEEPEEVOY 4,  clause  19, allows  additional  time,  only  when  additional  COW  (additional  to the 
MARPOL minimum)  is  requested,  at  25  per  cent  of  the  total  discharge  time  stipulated  for  the 
pumping warranty, e.g. 6 hours for a 24-hour discharge. No time is allowed  for the basic MARPOL 
minimum  COw. 
(2)   SHELLVOY 5,  clause  20,  allows additional  time  if  COW  is  required  "by  charterers or  any  other 
competent  authority".  The  question  remains:  Which  authorities  fall  within  the  definition  of  'a 
competent authority'? For example, is IMO a competent authority? If so,  should undertaking the 
mandated  minimum  COW to  comply with  MARPOL be compensated  with  additional  time?  The 
time  allowance stipulated  by the clause is 0.75  hours  per  cargo  tank  washed. 
These charter  party  examples of  additional  discharge time  would  enable  a tanker operator to  carry 
out  one  cycle  of  washing  of  the  cargo  tanks  to  render them  clean  and  acceptable for  the  receipt  of 
ballast; to desludge the requiredlrotation tanks for that loaded voyage;  and to maximise the discharge 
volume.  In the case of the SHELLVOY charter party the extra time allowance would  only compensate 
for the  normal  time  required  for a bottom wash  with  minimal stripping. 
Given  the  possibility of sludge deposition  from  a crude  oil  cargo,  it  has  been  necessary to  consider 
the  likely effects/efficiency of a typical crude oil washing  programme for the  removal  of the deposited 
sludges  generated  when  the  crude  oil's  temperature  drops  below the  Cloud  Point  temperature. As 
an  extreme example,  the  extent  of  deposition  witnessed  and  measured  when  the  oil  temperature 
drops  below the  Cloud  Point  can  be greater than  10,000  barrels of oil  on  a single  laden  voyage for 
the  larger  crude  oil  carriers.  However,  before  considering  the  efficiency  and  expectations  of  COW, 
given  the  foregoing  time  criteria,  the  physical criteria of the crude  oil should  be reviewed to  discover 
whether the  oil is suitable for the  washing  process. 
The amended requirements of Section 9 of the COW Manual remove from  consideration the concept 
of the "SUitability"of a crude oil for its purpose as a washing medium. All crude oils within  the  MARPOL 
Page  19  
Ir--HERTA.NKO  - A Guide  to  Crude  Oil lNa::.hing and  Carqo  lteatinq  Criteria  - May  200 
definition would be suitable as a washing medium, provided the crude oil or the proposed washing
stock can be pre-treated to meet the physical requirements stated above. However, with respect
to certain crude oils, particularly the aromatic types due to their individual behaviour, it is doubtful
that significant additional benefit can be accrued from crude oil washing over the traditional efficient
stripping of the cargo tanks.
In addition, if the tanker is offered a crude oil wash medium from ashore, it is necessary to check the
following aspects
- Is it to be delivered heated and, if so, at what temperature?
- What volume or tonnage is available?
- What is the quality of the material being offered?
- Is the crude oil wash material compatible with the likely residues to be found in the vessel's
tanks? If the oil is aromatic, what impact will it have on paraffinic sludge residues?
It has been stated that in order for a crude oil to remain in a "totally" liquid phase a temperature above
the Cloud Point temperature must be maintained. It is important to ensure that this temperature
requirement is observed in order to avoid havinq to use a heterogeneous crude oil mixture for crude
oil washing. Such a mixture contains an amount of quasi-solid suspended or phase-separated
sludqe. The behaviour and characteristics of this sludge, which could accumulate in a vessel's tank
or COW piping system, are very different from the "mother" crude.
The efficiency of crude oil washing with a liquid cargo containing separated sludge will not be
as good as that with a "totally" liquid phase crude oil because the reduced solvent powers of the
heterogeneous crude oil mixture make the removal of deposited sludges more difficult. Laboratory
simulations have shown that liquid cargo containing separated sludge has a limited impact as a
solvent. This is to be expected as crude oil in such a state and at such a temperature, below the
Cloud Point temperature, would be in the process of precipitating some of its own constituent waxes
into a suspended sludge phase.
With such high Pour Point temperature materials in suspension, i.e. typically between 45'C and
60'C, when a paraffinic crude oil's temperature drops below the crude oil's Cloud Point temperature,
additional deposition in the tank being washed is probable.
The provisions of the additional clauses usually contained in tanker charter parties, often entitled
"cargo retention" or "cargo delivery" clauses, place a responsibility on the vessel's owners for the
discharge of the entire tank contents, including residues, unless it is commercially or physically
impracticable to do so. Failure to comply with such provisions will result in the payment of the value of
the "retained" quantity by way of a deduction from freiqht". The normal commercial criteria associated
with a balanced set of charter party clauses relevant to this topic are as follows:
(1) The tank residues are liquid, or should have been removable by efficient COW and/or maintaining
the specified/required heating of the cargo.
5 Harvey Williams, "A Guide to Tanker Charters" INTERTANKO 2001.
lNTERTANKO - A Guide to Crude Oil Waslling and Cargo Heating Criteria - ~ l   y 2004
Page 20
(2)  The residues are reachable  by the vessel's  pumps;  i.e. they will flow to the aft end of the vessel's 
tank and the pump, through  the length of suction  piping' , with the energy  induced  by  the trim of 
the vessel. 
(3)  The  residue  is pumpable  by the vessel's pumps. 
(4)  The circumstances are  certified,  where  appropriate,  by an independent surveyor. 
In order  to  meet  the  foregoing  commercial  requirements,  three  primary criteria  must  be  present.  In 
order for the COW programme to succeed  and extensive volumes of sludges and oils to be removed 
from the  cargo tanks,  it may  be necessary to  bring the three  criteria  into  play simultaneously. 
The three  conditions which  must be met for a successful COW operation  are as follows: 
(a)  The  crude  oil  wash  medium  must  have  adequate  residual  solvency.  This  can  be  achieved  by 
heating,  and avoiding  the  use of sludge  contaminated wash  medium  i.e. extensive  recirculation 
during  "closed  cycle"  crude  oil washing.  Typically, the  minimum  temperature  required  for crude 
oil  washing  of a precipitated  paraffinic sludge  phase would  be 30°C. 
(b)  The  crude  oil  wash  jet  must  be applied  with  sufficient force  to  move  the  settled  sludge  phase. 
Therefore,  the  COW  pressure  must  be closely  monitored,  particularly at the  forward  end of  the 
crude  oil wash  supply  pipeline.  The  input  of  warm  "fresh" crude  oil  will  help to  create  a dilution 
by  adding  a  liquid  phase  to  the  static  sludge  phase  to  change  the  crude  oil's  overall  "dynamic 
(c)   The  obtaining  of  a  suitable  trim  of  the  vessel  to  induce  flow  to the  suction  positions  in a  tank. 
Subject to stress and bending  moment restrictions,  a minimum trim of 8 metres over the length of 
VLCC  is normally  recommended. 
6.2 The crude oil washing of sludge and some practical implications
What is sludge?
In ISOITR 8338:1988  standard  definitions  are  given  for  both  "sludge"  and the  more  commonly,  but 
potentially erroneously,  used  alternative term of "sediment".  These  definitions are as follows: 
That  element  of material  in  a ship's  cargo  tank  that  is  essentially not  free-flowing.  It  consists  of  
hydrocarbon waxes  and may contain  waterloil emulsions and sediment.  
That element of non-free-flowing material left in a ship's tank which is essentially inorganic in nature,  
for example  sand, rust particles,  etc.  It is not soluble  in hydrocarbon oil.  
6 Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH) explanations - see "An Explanation and Guideline for Pumping Calculations"
- INTERTANKO,  March  2001. 
Page  21  
!NTERTANI<O  - A Guide  to  Crude  Oil  Washing  and  Cargo  HeatlrJ[J  Criteria - f\..1ay 200 
Given the foregoing and before considering the dynamic behaviour of sludge, it is important to
record the physical properties of sludqe so they may be related to the ISO definitions above. The
various sludges, as sampled from cargo tanks upon completion of a crude oil wash programme,
normally exhibit Pour Point temperatures in the 45' -60'C range, although very much higher Pour
Point temperatures have occasionally been observed, irrespective of the paraffinic type of crude oil.
A set of test methods and physical properties of a typical sludge can be found in Table 2 below.
Test Method Result
Density@ 15°C kg/I I.P.189/190 0.9225
Wax Content %(m/m) UOP46/85 mod 25.51
Pour Point °C I.P.15 + 66
Asphaltenes %(m/m) I.P.143 0.42
Table 2 Test results and physical properties for a typical sludge
Due to the difficulty in accurately determining the total hydrocarbon wax content of an oil by analysis,
a model has been developed which correlates the total wax content of a crude oil with its Pour Point.
The various analyses that have been undertaken have shown that the percentage of wax normally
determined is only a proportion of the total wax in a crude oil sludge. In addition, only a proportion of
the paraffinic types of wax and none of the non-paraffinic waxes have been detected.
The formula for determining the total hydrocarbon wax content of an oil is as follows:
Log (wax content % weight) = 100.00708,.0 115n'4
x is the Pour Point temperature of the oil in 'C
This formula indicates that the associated wax contents of sludges having the Pour Point temperatures
quoted above would be in the 33-54% range. The balance of the sludge volume is normally comprised
of entrapped oils, precipitated asphaltene/polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), water and other
foreign matter (rust and sand) in the wax-rich crystalline matrix. Depending on the extent of water
present in the sludge, a wax-rich "tight" emulsion with high dynamic viscosities is created.
The dynamic behaviour of sludge does not correspond to the normal behaviour of highly viscous
substances. When flow is induced by a force on highly viscous substances, i.e. their yield stress
has been exceeded, in normal circumstances such substances will continue to flow thereafter. The
yield stress of a substance is the necessary force that has to be applied to the substance to achieve
deformation due to failure of its structure.
In contrast, waxy crude oil sludges are so called "memory liquids". In other words, although the
required force is applied to the sludge to promote flow, after a short period the sludge will re-adopt
its original form and cease flowing. It remembers its original molecular form! This will clearly create a
problem when attempting to remove sludge from a vessel's tanks because, as the COW jet rotates
around the tank, it is applying force for only a moment at a specific point in the tank.
INTERTANKO A Guide to Crude Oil Waslling and Cargo Heating Criteria - May 2004 Page 22
Preliminary investigations to determine the actual dynamic behaviour of sludge samples when
simulating the practical conditions onboard a tanker revealed important physical data. Not least, the
yield stress of these precipitated sludges at the corresponding environmental temperature was in the
order of 1,000 to 3,000 Pascals.
In addition, the dynamic viscosity of one sludge sample was found to be as high as 2,000,000
centipoise (mPa s). With a density of 1,000 kg/m3, this dynamic viscosity would be equivalent to
2,000,000 cSt at the simulated environmental temperature. With such yield stresses and dynamic
viscosities it is clear that these sludges, on their own, could not be classed as liquid, pumpable or
reachable by the vessel's pumps. In other words they would not readily flow under normal gravitational
forces, as experienced when the ship is trimmed, to the pump suction.
A substance with these types of properties is similar to that of a "wet concrete". With these properties
the programming for the crude oil washing of a vessel's tanks to remove the deposited sludge and
its oils must be carefully considered. This exercise must take into account the physical and chemical
properties of the wash medium and the energy input options available to the tanker operator.
7 COW equipment and procedures
In Section 2 the basic objectives and relevant equipment for crude oil washing, as specified in COW
Manuals, are listed. Previous sections in this Guide have described the behaviour of the various
crude oil wash media. This section will cover the types of equipment and cargo systems typically
used in COW operations, as well as the procedures/programmes most commonly employed to
carry out COW. The following descriptions will not be appropriate for the equipment and procedures
employed on every crude oil tanker, simply because of the vast array of differing types of equipment,
cargo system designs and pipeline systems available on the market. Instead, generalisations are
made in order to provide a simple explanation of the key COW equipment and procedures.
7.1 COW machines and tank cleaning nozzles
COW-specific equipment found on a tanker comprises the crude oil washing machines and their
"guns". The different types of COW machines available fall into one of three main categories, i.e.
programmable, non-programmable and submerged machines. The first two categories are deck-
mounted equipment with the tank cleaning nozzles, or guns, suspended on fixed, rigid pipes about
5 metres below the vessel's main deck. The submerged machine is tank bottom-mounted and is
non-programmable but "spot-located" to assist in the washing of shadow areas of the tank where
direct impingement of the main jet from the deck-mounted guns is deficient. Operation of submerged
machines is similar to that of deck-mounted, non-programmable machines.
Programmable machines allow the operator to decide on the scope of movement of the washing
gun and the rate of rotation of the nozzle in the cargo tank. The scope is controlled by the angle
of elevation of the gun, with O' being directly beneath the gun position in the tank. Therefore, for a
bottom wash cycle, for example, the elevation of the gun will be limited to, say, 40', and the cycle
Page 23 INTERTANKO - A   ~ J l d to Crude Oil Washing ario Cargo Heating Cntena ~ May 200
will be determined as being say, 0'- 40'- 0'. likewise, with a side or top wash the scope of elevation
of the crude oil wash machine will be set at, say, 40'- 110'. Although programmable machines offer
a number of advantages (these will be discussed below), such machines are more expensive and
more maintenance intensive than the non-programmable alternative.
As suggested by their name, it is not possible to control the wash programme with non-programmable
machines. The starting location of the machine nozzles is normally unknown and the operator has
to assume that the whole tank has been washed in the operation manual's stipulated time for one
complete cycle of the machine (bottom and side/top wash).
Another major difference between the two types of equipment is the number of nozzles per machine.
A typical programmable machine has one nozzle of between 25 and 35 mm diameter whereas non-
programmable machines have two nozzles of smaller diameter. Some new programmable machines
have a smaller diameter nozzle. It is said that such nozzles provide a more effective COW operation
and require less motive pressure to adequately operate the machine. However, a smaller nozzle
does suggest less COW medium is used in the COW operation and this will therefore have an impact
upon the extent of solvency available to remove the precipitated sludges.
The final major difference between the types of COW equipment is the manner in which the machines
and their nozzles rotate. The different approaches are described in the following paragraphs:
Programmable machines
The machine head rotates horizontally, with the nozzle being set at the programmed angle. With
each completed horizontal rotation, the angle of the single nozzle is either lifted or depressed in a
vertical direction by the programmed number of degrees. This movement of the machine head and
nozzle creates a form of helical pattern with tighter rotation tracks closer to 0' (vertically below the
machine). The speed of rotation of the head is determined by either the crude oil supply pressure or
a compressed air-driven motor attached to the machine's control mechanisms.
Non-programmable machines
These machines have both a horizontal rotation of the machine head and a near vertical rotation of
the twin (directly opposing) nozzles. As the head of the machine rotates horizontally, the twin nozzles
rotate in the near vertical plane, thereby creating a form of hatched lattice type wash pattern for both
butkheads, deckhead and tank floor simultaneously. Such machines have no method of control, save
for the supply valve for crude oii and the supply pressure that controls the rate of rotation.
The number of machines in each cargo tank varies and is dependent upon the extent of internal
structure within the tank and the size of the tank. Typically, the "effective" jet length from a nozzle,
operating at its correct supply pressure, would be about 40 metres. Therefore, nonnally each tank is
provided with 2 or 3 machines so that the extent of shadow area (non-contact or impingement area)
is limited and meets the requirements of the MARPOL requlations.
  - A Guide to Crude Oil Washing and Cargo Healing (>te,.ia . May 2004 Page 24
7.2  COW  pipeline  systems 
Figure  5 shows  a simplified schematic plan of a pipeline  system  used to deliver crude  oil to the COW 
machines. An  examination  shows  the following  three  sources of crude  oil supply: 
(1)  Directly into the main crude oil wash  line on deck via a crossover on deck  from the main crude  oil 
discharge pipelines.  This  is achieved  by opening  the  relevant  valves  connecting the  main  crude 
oil  pipelines with  the main  COW  pipeline  on the  crossover pipeline. 
(2)  By isolating  one cargo  pump from  the bulk discharge for the purpose  of taking  suction  on a crude 
oil volume  in a specific  cargo  tank . This is achieved by opening  the  relevant  valve  on the COW 
pipeline  crossover  (e.g.  connecting  the  green  crude  oil  line)  to  the  COW  main  and  closing  the 
main  green  crude  oil  block  valve  on  deck. 
(3)  By  isolating  one  cargo  pump  (e.g.  the  green  pump)  from  the  bulk  discharge  for  the  purpose  of 
taking  suction  on  a  prepared  and  designated  crude  oil  wash  stock  located  in  the  vessel's  slop 
tanks.  This  is achieved  by the  same method as above  but taking  direct  suction  on the  slop tank 
using  the green  pump. 
- GOW  Mall' 
- Red c aroo Line 
- Blue Cargo Une 
- Gw en Cargo  Line 
- Slop   e n ~ Suction  lines 
- COW Machines 

=--------------- Cargo
Figure  5 Outline of a COW  pipeline  system 
These  differing crude  oil supply  methods allow flexibility when  compiling  a specific COW  programme 
in order to achieve  optimum effect iveness and  cleanliness in the  cargo  tanks  to be washed . 
The  crude  oil supply  is delivered  into  a main fore  and  aft pipeline  running  the full  length  of the ship's 
cargo  tanks  space;  this  is  the  crude  oil  wash  main  pipeline.  At  suitable  locations  along  the  length 
of  this  main  pipel ine  smaller  diameter transverse  pipelines  <=Ire  connected  to  enable  delivery of  the 
crude  oil supply  to specific COW  machines.  The  COW pipeline  system , as required  by the  MARPOL 
regulations,  is  a  fixed  system .  In  contrast,  prior  to  the  use  of  COW,  the  water  washing  systems 
employed  onboard  tankers  were  based  on the  use of  portable  hoses  and  machines . 
Page   ~ ~ r 'A· .I .' ) J ' .
IJ  . l  J JIlin  il  .1'.  'ill.  I  J. I  ut •. .  I  . 
7.3 Stripping systems 
COW  performance  and  its  effectiveness  also  depend  on  a  well-designed  and  efficient  stripping 
system. This  is  used for  the  removal  of the  crude oil  wash medium  from  the  washed  tanks together 
with  any  recovered  oil/sludges.  There  are  two  basic  types  of stripping  system,  namely  the  main 
cargo  pump  "vac strip"  or similar system and  the  cargo eductor,  sometimes referred  to  as  "ejector". 
Vac-strip  systems  operate  by  applying  a  partial  vacuum  to  the  "suction"  side  of the  vessel's  main 
centrifugal pumps in order to  evacuate any  gases or vapour in the  pump and  aid  the  pump in gaining 
or maintaining suction on the  residue liquids within the  relevant tank' . Alternative systems to the  vac-
strip  approach generate a column  or head of  liquid  in a chamber close to  the  cargo pump,  ensuring 
that the  pump  is  "primed"  at  all  times.  This  type  of stripping  system  uses  the  main  cargo  pipeline 
system  and  suction,  which  may  be  located  as  much  as  150  mm  above  the  tank  floor.  However, 
certain  pipeline  designs also  have a  separate stripping  suction  connected  to  the  main  pipeline that 
is  only  about  50  mm  above  the  tank  floor.  With  a  suitable  trim  this  type  of  stripping  system  will 
efficiently drain a tank of  liquid  leaving only small amounts of liquid residues in the  aft  bay of the  tank 
as  allowed for  under paragraph 4.4.4.  of the  tanker's COW Manual. 
The  eductor obtains  a  very efficient  form  of  suction  using  Bernoulli's principle.  The  principle  of  an 
eductor  is  that  a  fluid  is  pumped  past  a  restriction  somewhere  along  the  length  of the  pipeline, 
thereby causing  the  rate  of  flow to  increase. At  the  point of  the  restriction  an  alternative pipeline is 
inserted such  that its open end  is in the  direction  of flow of the  liquid. At  the  open  end  of the  inserted 
pipeline a vacuum  is generated, thereby creating a suction within the  pipeline. Crude oil,  supplied by 
one of the  main  cargo pumps, is used  as the driving fluid  for the operation of the  eductor. When using 
an  eductor,  it is essential that  the  pressure of  the  driving  liquid  entering the  eductor is  high  enough, 
i.e.  normally about 11  kg/cm
, to  create the  design  suction. 
This system  differs significantly from  the  action  of  a centrifugal  pump  as  it  supplies a  suction  to  the 
stripping system. Contrary to  popular belief, cargo pumps do  not  have any  suction capacity and  only 
apply additional energy to the  liquid  entering the  pump. Therefore, the  liquid  entering the  pump must 
flow there due to an external head (energy source) overcoming the  net positive suction head  (NPSH) 
of the  suction pipeline systems. 
Eductors have two additional  major advantages over a  conventional  pumping/stripping system,  i.e. 
(1)   Even  though  suction  from  a  tank  may  be  lost or  the  eductor begins  drawing  in  vapour or  gas, 
the  eductor will  continue to  operate without danger or  the risk of  damage.  The eductor has no 
moving parts  and  does not have to  be  transferred  immediately to  an alternative tank  containing 
(2)   The  suction supplied  by an  eductor system operating in  its  design mode is very efficient and  will 
draw not only liquids into  the  system  but  also higher viscosity substances that  are  very near to 
the  tank suction  point. 
7 Reference:  "An Explanation  and  GUideline for Pumping  Calculations" -INTERTANKO, March  2001. 
B Reference:  "An Explanation  and  Guideline  for  Pumping  Calculations" - INTERTANKO,  March  2001. 
INTERTAW<O - A Guide to  Crude  Oil \Nashing  and  Cargo  He8ting  Criteria  - MaV 2004   Page  26 
Having  briefly  discussed  the  main  COW  equipment,  it is necessary to  discuss  the  commonly  used 
COW  techniques.  In broad  terms there  are two  very  dissimilar techniques,  i.e.  concurrent  washing 
(with discharge)  and closed cycle washing. 
7.4 Crude oil washing concurrent with cargo discharge
COW  concurrent  with  cargo  unloading  is  undertaken  during  the  main  discharge  programme.  The 
method  utilises  the  crude  oil  stream  being  discharged,  together with  its  associated  back  pressure, 
to  supply  the  COW  pipeline  with  crude  oil.  It can  be  achieved  either  by  a  "bleed-off'  system  from 
the  main  crude  oil  discharge  pipelines  for  supply  to  the  COW  pipeline  (see  Figure  5 and  the  deck 
crossover  to the  COW  pipeline)  or by separate  supply  using  a designated  cargo  pump.  If supply  is 
achieved by the bleed-off from the bulk discharge, then sufficient back pressure  has to be maintained 
at  all  times.  The  normal  minimum  back  pressure  required  for  the  operation  of  the  COW  guns  is  8 
This procedure cannot be properly used by tankers equipped with non-programmable COW machines 
if a full crude oil wash programme involving all the vessel's tanks is required. This is due to the lack of 
controllability of the nozzle and the inability of a non-programmable machine to wash selected areas of 
the cargo tank to be washed. The programme will commence when the first tanks to be washed are at 
about one-half to two-thirds discharged. This will represent the top or side wash in the relevant tank. 
Advantages  of the COW  concurrent with  cargo discharge  method  are as follows: 
(1)  It does  not  necessarily  require  a designated  pump  to  supply  the  COW  system  and, therefore, 
it  does  not  significantly  slow  the  overall  discharge  rate  unless  one  main  cargo  pump  is  re-
designated  for the wash  programme. 
(2)  It utilises "clean" crude oil throughout the programme as the crude oil is used only once in the crude 
oil  wash  programme.  Thus,  any  recovered  sludge  or  tank  washings  are  more  homogeneously 
mixed with the bulk discharge  rather than consolidated  for discharge  at the end of the discharge 
programme  as a high  Pour Point temperature mixture. 
NOTE: High Pour Point temperature crude oil mixtures can block pipelines/COW systems  in adverse 
temperature environments. 
(3)  As the crude oil is used only once in the programme,  the "solvency" effect of the crude oil and its 
lower  kinematic viscosity  assists  the  potential  for  the  removal  of precipitated  paraffinic sludges 
(see further  discussion  below). 
However, COW  concurrent  with cargo discharge  is not without  its disadvantages,  as follows: 
(1)  The   programme  requires  a  significant  amount  of  planning  and  discipline  to  ensure  that 
sufficient  crude  oil  is present  to complete  the  required  COW  programme  without  stopping  the 
bulk discharge. 
Page 27   INTERTANKO • A Guide  to  Crude  Oil Washing and  Cargo  Heating  Criteria- May 200 
(2)   The  programme requires continuous  monitoring  of tank levels,  particularly slop tanks,  to  avoid 
overfilling.  Slop  tanks  receiving  the  stripped washing  medium and  recovered  sludge  should  be 
discharged ashore at  reasonable time intervals to  avoid  significant loss  of  safe/spare Ullage. 
(3)   The efficiency of the  COW system and  the  satisfactory operation of the  COW cleaning  machine 
nozzles  rely  upon  the  COW  pipeline  pressure.  If  the  shore  back  pressure  is  below  8 kg/cm', 
then  increased  back  pressure  on  the  main  discharge  pipeline  delivering  to  the  COW  pipeline 
would  have  to  be  achieved  or  the  COW  programme  must  be  stopped  as  required  Within  the 
COW Manual guidelines. This  is normally undertaken by "throttling", or partially closing, the  deck 
pipeline master/block valve  to  increase the  pressure at the  "bleed off' position to the  COW main 
(see  Figure  5 above).  However,  the  action  of throttling  may  cause  damage  to  the  valve  or  its 
seating  if it is not  designed for  such purposes. 
(4)  This   type  of  programme  produces  more  volumetric  loss  of  hydrocarbon  vapour  from  the 
cargo,  because  of  the  continuous  use  of  "fresh"  crude  oil.  Therefore,  an  apparent increase  in 
retained  vapours  onboard  may  be  recorded,  particularly  for  the  more  volatile  types  of  crude 
oil, i.e.  those  with  a  Reid  vapour  pressure  (RVP) in  excess  of  6 psia"  , thereby generating  the 
possibility of an  increased  outturn  loss  of volume. 
(5)   When  heated  wash  material  is  required  in  order to  comply  with  guidance  notes  in  Section  9 
of  the  revised  COW  Manual  and  to  assist  with  the  removal  of precipitated  sludqes,  then  this 
method may not be  usable if the  cargo is transported and  discharged unheated. 
7.5 "Closed cycle" crude oil washing 
The  closed  cycle  COW method utilises a fixed  and  prepared  (de-watered) volume or stock of crude 
oil  washing  liquid,  usually  contained  within  the  vessel's  slop  tank(s).  One  of  the  tanker's  main 
cargo  pumps  is  used  both  to  supply  this  oil  to  the  main  COW  pipeline  and  to  drive  the  eductor 
for  the  simultaneous  stripping  of  the  washed  tanks.  The  tank  strippings  are  returned  back  to  the 
slop  tank COW stock and  this  standard stock, together with  washing  recoveries,  is continuously re-
used  throughout the  total  COW programme, or  for as  long  as washing  efficiency is  maintained,  in a 
closed  cycle.  The  content of the  slop  tank/s  is finally discharged ashore at the end  of  the  discharge 
The  advantages of  closed  cycle  COW are  as  follows; 
(1)  The  programming  of  the  crude  oil  washing  is  very  much  simplified  and  does  not  require 
judgement  regarding  the  rate  of  discharge  in  order  to  be  sure  that  sufficient  crude  oil 
wash  stock  remains  within  the  bulk  to  be  discharged  in  order  to  complete  a  required  COW 
programme.  The  exception  is  when  the  existing  wash  stock  needs  replacing  due  to  a  drop  in 
efficiency of the COW performed. This  is mainly due  to the  extent of "contamination" of the  wash 
stock by  recovered  sludges. 
Reference:  T J Gunner, "The  Physical  Behaviour  of Crude  Oil influencing  Its Carriage by Sea",  ISBN 82·7860-042-2.  It was found  by 
analysis of data  that  vapour  loss expectancy increased  when a crude  oil had  an RVP over  6 psia. 
INTERTANKO  - A Guide to  Crude  Oil Washing and  Cargo  Heating Criteria  - May  2004  
Page  28 
(2)  Overfilling  of the vessel's slop tanks is much less likely, subject to the  extent of residue  recovery 
from  the COW  programme. 
(3)   Given  that  a  vessel's  pump  is  designated  as  the  motive  power  for  sole  delivery  to  both  the 
COW system and for the eductor drive, closer control over delivery pressures can be aintained  for 
optimum  efficiency of the  COW programme and eductor drive  pressure  (stripping  efficiency). 
(4)  The time allowed by the charter party for COW can be cioselyadhered to and thewash programme 
modified  or stopped  at any time. 
(5)  Less vapour  loss will be created  from the cargo volume  because the volumetric vapour  loss will 
be mainly  from the  COW stock  only and  not the  bulk cargo volume. 
(6)  Pre-treatment of the COW stock can be accomplished  if heating  of the crude  oil over  its ambient 
temperature  is required for an efficient  COW programme. This condition  is subject to the  proper 
functioning  of the  heating  coils  in the slop tank(s). 
There are  disadvantages to the use of closed  cycle COW, as follows: 
(1)   Because  one  cargo  pump  is  dedicated  to  the  COW  programme,  the  tanker's  full  pumping 
capacity  is not available.  Therefore,  the overall  discharge rate will  be reduced,  particularly when 
undertaking "top washing"  using this technique. 
(2)   If the  fixed  stock  of  crude  oil  is  required  for  an extensive wash  programme and  particularly for 
the  recovery  of  large  amounts  of  paraffinic  sludges,  then  its  efficiency,  both  as  a  solvent  and 
for retaining  the sludges  in suspension, will  be quickly reduced. 
(3)  The  crude  oil  wash  stock   may  become  very  wax-rich  and  have  an  associated  high  Pour 
Point  temperature.  In  cold  environments,  therefore,  there  is  a  risk  that  the  COW  pipeline  and 
machines could  become  blocked  with  precipitated  sludges,  impairing  the  efficiency of the COW 
(4)  The efficiency of the  fixed  COW  stock  may  be reduced  by its "saturation"  with  sludges,  and the 
last  tanks  to  be  washed  might  not  benefit  from  the  COW  operation.  In  such  circumstances  it 
will  be necessary  to obtain  a fresh "charge"  of crude  oil. There  could  be associated  delays  in its 
preparation,  especially if it is required  to be heated,  before  COW can  be resumed. 
8 Crude oil washing of sludges
8.1 The theory and background
The  primary  objective when  removing  deposited  sludge  is to  reduce  the  viscosity  of the  sludge  to a 
pumpable  state  that  is also  capable  of adequate flow  to the  suction  positions  within  the  tanks.  The 
Page 29   INTES:TANKO - A Guide to  Crude  O:l  \Nashing  and  Cargo Heating  Criteria  - May  200 
controlling parameter in seeking to achieve this goal is the crude oil's kinematic viscosity that is used
to blend and dilute the sludges to an acceptable viscosity for pumping. In order to strip the cargo
tank of sludge efficiently, the sludge's viscosity has to be reduced to below 600 cSt. This is roughly
equivalent to the viscosity of a heavy fuel oil at a temperature of about 40"C.
To assist in achieving the objective of effective tank cleaning, the concept of "solvency" of the crude
oil wash medium upon the sludges and "dilution" of the sludges by the COW medium should be
considered. This is the primary way to reduce the sludge's viscosity to an acceptable level to enable
its collection from the cargo tank for ultimate discharge.
The "solvency" powers of the COW medium upon sludges depend upon the crude oil retaining an
adequate quantity of its lighter, more volatile components. These lighter components act as solvents
on the heavier components to be found within the precipitated sludges, reducing the viscosity of the
overall mixture. For example, tanker men know that kerosene is a good medium for cleaning greasy
or "oil-caked" instruments. More volatile hydrocarbon liquids, such as "white spirit", make even better
cleaning fluids. However, the volatility of the components in a crude oil which make good solvents
demands care and attention, especially when the crude oil wash medium is heated in preparation
for its use. Under such conditions, the highly volatile components may escape as vapour, reducing
the solvent powers of the crude oil wash medium and, hence its effectiveness as a cleaning agent.
Therefore, it is important that, when planning the proposed COW programme and pre-treating/
heating the COW stock (assuming a "closed cycle" programme), a balance is obtained between the
benefits of heating the COW medium and the potential loss of solvency of the medium. It should be
noted that the application of heat may melt the paraffinic waxes binding the sludge mass, but once
the heat energy is dissipated throughout the sludge mass, then the waxes will reform. Under such
circumstances, there is generally little to be gained by overheating the COW medium, say beyond
45"C, as a loss of solvency of the COW medium will ensue. However, with certain specific crude oils,
due to their characteristics, this general "rule of thumb" does not apply.
The concept of "dilution" is more closely related to the physical reduction of the viscosity of the
sludge rather than the dissolving of the paraffinic waxes in the context of "solvency". In the crude oil
washing of sludges dilution should be considered in two different ways. By introducing liquid phase
crude oil under pressure into a tank containing precipitated paraffinic studqes, the yield stress of
the sludges in way of the crude oil jet will be exceeded due to the force of impact of the jet upon the
sludges. This action starts the movement and break-up of the sludge mass and its form.
Having achieved "movement" of the sludge mass, the next objective is to "stir up" the precipitated
sludges into the crude oil wash volume, as introduced by the COW jet, and allow the combined
slurry, which is now of reduced viscosity, to flow aft to the tank suction pipeline. However, given the
viscosity of the crude oil wash medium, the amount of crude oil required to undertake this "blending"
can be significant, depending upon the volume of sludges in the tank. Further information regarding
this aspect will be discussed below when suggested alternative techniques for the crude oil washing
of sludges are considered.
INTERTANKO - A Guide to Crude Oil \Jilashing and Cargo Heating Criteria - May 2004 Page 30
8.2 Practical circumstances affecting the crude oil washing of sludges
The  two  sets  of  circumstances  in  which  dilution  may  assist  with  the  crude  oil  washing  of  sludges 
relate  to the  potential delays before  COW can  be undertaken in a specific tank.  Such  delays may  be 
caused, for example, when  the stripping suction  shares the main pipeline system to the cargo  pumps. 
Thus,  if the  main cargo  pipeline is used for bulk discharge from  alternative tanks  in the same  pipeline 
group of tanks,  it would  not  be  possible to  use the  stripping suction for the  tank  to  be washed. 
(1)   If significant volumes of sludges are  believed to exist  in a tank due to the  cargo  temperature and 
the  calculated  Cloud  Point  temperature  of  the  cargo,  the  sludge  volume  can  now be  estimated 
using  the  equation  given  earlier.  If the  tanker  operator  expects  large  volumes  of  sludge  to  be 
generated,  contrary to  the  general  advice  given  in a  COW manual,  the  tank  bottom  should  not 
be stripped dry  prior to  commencement of COw. A volume of the original cargo  should  be left  in 
the tank  to assist with  the  slurrifying  of the  precipitated  sludge  phase. 
(2)   If  there  are  likely  to  be  significant  delays  before  COW  is  commenced,  e.g.  because 
of  a  two-port  discharge  schedule,  then,  given  the  high  Pour  Point  temperatures  of  typical 
paraffinic type  sludges as shown  above,  it would  be more  beneficial,  particularly in a cold  water 
environment,  if  the  relevant  cargo  tanks  are  not  stripped  to  dryness  in  the  primary  discharge 
programme  as  normally  suggested  in  a  COW  manual.  A  volume  of  the  original  cargo  should 
be  left  in  the  tank  to  maintain  a  slightly  higher  overall  Pour  Point  temperature  for  the  mixture 
contained  in the  tank.  This  will  be beneficial and  limit the  time  required  to  undertake an efficient 
COW programme in the tanks. 
The motion of a crude oil wash  machine will  not always assist with the objective of removing sludges. 
The  motion of a programmable crude  oil wash  gun  operating  in a tank,  especially when  undertaking 
a  bottom  wash,  is best  described as  helical.  As  the  machine rotates  through  its  horizontal  arcs,  for 
50%  of  the  arc  the  applied  force  from  the  crude  oil  wash  jet  upon  the  sludges  pushes  the  sludges 
away from the desired position,  i.e. the suction  pipeline position in the aft  bay of the tank.  This  action 
decreases  the  effectiveness  of  the  operation  and  needs  to  be  considered  when  designing  a  COW 
programme for  the  removal  of  extensive sludges. 
Sludge's behaviour will  vary  with  its temperature. As  paraffinic wax  is a  relatively good  temperature 
insulator, the  behaviour of sludge is not constant throughout the depth  of a sludge volume.  Within  the 
vertical  profile of the  sludge,  the  closer  the sludge volume is to the colder outside surface of the tank 
the  more  viscous the  material will  become. The  surface of the  precipitated sludge in contact with the 
liquid  phase  oil  will  be only slightly viscous  and  can  be  removed  by one  cycle  of crude oil  washing. 
This  observation  applies  to  roughly  80%  of  the  depth  of  a  precipitated  sludge  volume,  the  actual 
percentage depending upon  the  environment temperature and the  temperature of the  original  crude 
oil cargo.  The  remaining 20%  of the sludge volume close  to the  external  surface of the tank,  which  is 
in contact with  either the sea  in single-hull tankers or  ballast water double-hull tankers, will  have the 
highest  viscosity.  Therefore,  a  precipitated  sludge  volume  is  not  a  homogenous  volume  exhibitinq 
standard  behavioural characteristics throughout its  depth. 
Page 31     - A Guide  to  Crude  Oil Washin[J and  Cargo  Heating  Criteria  - May  200  . 
With a normal set of operating parameters for a programmable COW machine on a large crude oil
carrier, in one second of operat ion the crude oil jet will be directed at approximately 1 m
of tank
surface and approximately 30 litres of oil will be used in the cleaning of that area. Calculations were
undertaken based upon the crude oil washing equipment operational criteria to establish the rate of
input into a tank per machine per second . These calculations established a possible maximum dilution
of 19% for a depth of sludge of 15 centimetres for each transit of the washing jet over an area of 1
m .
Given the foregoing calculated dilution, the effects of solvency of fresh crude oil upon the sludges
were visually observed during laboratory testing when creating differing dilutions/blends of the sludges
with fresh crude oil. The blends constructed were for 10%, 20%, 40% and 60% at a temperature of
60·C in order to represent the dilution of sludges for 1, 2 and 3 washing cycles . The blends were ,
thereafter, cooled at a rate of 1' C per hour to just above the prevailing ambient sea temperature of
13°C (a possible sea temperature at the time of COW). The viscosity of the mixtures was thereafter
continuously measured within the temperature range 10
'C. The results of this work can be seen
in Figure 6.
It was observed that, during the slow cooling programme, the sludges precipitated from the fresh
crude oil. This was to be expected when the crude oil reached a saturation temperature for the
additional types of hydrocarbons introduced into the mixture . At the lower test temperature of 10°C
the fresh crude oil used in the testing provided little , if any, solvency effect.
The dynamic viscosit ies of the three dilutions/blends showed , in the main, significant variation for
flow and pumpability purposes from those measured for the unblended sludge. The results ranged
from 7,000 mPa s to 100 mPa s at 13'C, depending upon the extent of dilution. It was concluded that
even the tested blends, if created in the vessel 's tanks, would not flow to the pump suct ion position
after one or two washing cycles .
: .nl o; t.qm t 10% ,-Nr 180, Jl O DO
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12 J.. "a. g;-- 16,( 11
NI. 180. J l0 /II;£}wn E:a: UD 0% . Nr 180 Jl 0
13.C::!.97. 08 39
V1iCl:lCai.... Vt::t : o:>lty
Ar:i!l bl.Rf ' E:&! l lto l lY-li. , Nr' ro Jl ::: Arb oll E. n;. Lq !'f;4, 60% Nr. l HO, .110
  15 1:: s; ":2.::'7, '16..4,2
Figure 6 Sludge from Forozon/Arabian Extra Light (AEL) crude oil, diluted with A.E.L.
IN [RTAN n , Ul d 1.1 .. Il . . I... -
Using  the  data  from  this  investigation , the  expected  extent  of  dilution  of  fresh  crude  oil  needed  to 
generate a pumpable slurry with the precipitated sludges that would  reasonably flow in a tank with the 
tanker  trimmed  8 metres  by the stern  was  between  60 and 70%. This is supported by additional  and 
subsequent dilutions of an alternative crude  oil  to sludges  of  up to 40% subject to two  wash  cycles . 
The resulting  dynamic viscosities were found to be about 8,000 mPa s. It should  be remembered  that 
the final objective of COW  is to reduce  the viscosity of the  combined  mixture  of oil and sludges  to a 
maximum  of about 600 mPa  s or approximately 600  cSt. 
3 5000
3 0000
2 000 0
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Figure  7 Yield  stress 
An  investigation  and  analysis  for  the  sludqe 's  yield  stress  was  undertaken.  Figure  7  shows  the 
measurements of yield stress, i.e. the force required to move the sludge , over a range of temperatures 
for a particular slucqe  sample.  The results  revealed  a typical  yield stress of approximately 1,400,000 
mPa. When  the results  were  compared  with the impact  force of the crude oil wash jet , it showed  that 
the jet's  force  easily  exceeded  the  yield  stress  of the  sludge  and would  irnpinqe/penetrate to the  full 
depth  of 15 cm for the  type of sludge  tested . However, it is believed  that  the sludge , given  its nature , 
would  be  pushed/displaced  to  one  side  of  the  jet  impingement  area/track  and  create  "furrows"  in 
the  sludge  mass.  Indeed, on  inspection  of  vessel 's  tanks  after  a  COW  operation , this  pattern  was 
The  "furrowing"  of the  sludge s causes much  of the Wash  medium  to drain  through  the furrow s aft to 
the suction  position  within  the tank. This  clearly  impacts  the theoretical  dilution  of tho crude  oil wash 
medium  with  the  extent  of  sludqes, As  a  result,  the  foregoing  theoretical  calculations  are  only  best 
estimates  of  efficiency.  Further,  with  the  loss  of  the  majority  of  the  crude  oil  wash  medium  in  this 
way  the  impact of  solvency  of  the  wash  medium  upon  the  precipitated  sludges  is also  reduced . In 
fact, it is believed  that  the wash  medium  only erodes  the boundary sludges  within  the  furrows.  It was 
predicted  in one  such circumstance that  only about  5% of the  sludges  would  have  been  removed  in 
one wash  cycle  due  to the observed  physical  nature  of the  sludge . 
P 9 . 3 I J l..  ' ..  1 ' J ..  . .' 11 II - I 
. r 
8.3 An alternative, practical programme for the crude oil washing of sludge 
A typical COW programme will accommodate the  possibility of all the  machines in one  tank operating 
at the same time.  In practice such  a scenario would  have to take into account the number of machines 
that  can  be  operated  simultaneously  in  a  safe  manner,  given  the  supply  pressure  and  the  size  of 
the  eductor used  for  the  stripping  of the  tank during the  washing  programme. The programme used 
could  be  based  on  either  the  "concurrent"  or  "closed  cycle"  method,  or  even  a  mixture  of  the  two 
The  use  of  all  the  tank  cleaning  guns  in  one  tank  simultaneously may  not  be  the  optimum  way  of 
removing sludges due to,  amongst other reasons,  the  action of the  guns on the  precipitated sludges. 
There is a  possibility that they would  push the  sludges  away from  the  tank suction  location for 50% 
of a programmable machine's cycle. 
When confronted with sludging of the cargo tanks,  particularly in colder climatic conditions, a departure 
from  the typical or standard  procedure of crude oil washing has  been  found  to be more effective in the 
removal of sludges. A suggested procedure can  be described  on  a step-by-step basis,  as  follows: 
(1)   Utilise a closed cycle wash  system and  load  both  slop tanks to the  60%  full  level  with  dewatered 
crude oil wash stock.  Pre-treat the  crude oil wash stock by  heating, if possible,  up to  10'C above 
the  oil's  Cloud  Point temperature.  Shut the  equalisation  line  valve  between  the  slop  tanks  and 
cycle  back  to  the  first  slop  tank used  for  the  COW programme. 
(2)  Assuming that programmable machines are available and unless required to employ an alternative 
approach,  carry out  only a bottom wash  in each  tank using a 5'_40'_0' cycle.  By  commencing at 
0', a significant cumulative time is used  "spot washing" the  arc  0' _5' due to the  helical movement 
of the  gun. 
(3)   Programme  the  discharge so  that two  tanks  may  be  washed  together.  It  is  assumed  that  each 
tank  has  two  COW  machines,  and  a  maximum  of two  machines  may  be  operated  at  anyone 
time.  It is further assumed  that  the  vessel  is equipped  with  at  least  one  eductor and  it may take 
suction on every cargo tank with  its delivery directly back to either slop tank.  The  cargo tanks to be 
washed  need  not  be stripped  completely dry  before commencement of  COW and,  subject to  the 
external environment/sea temperatures and the  nature of the  sludge, i.e. how  "sticky"  it is, oil to a 
depth  of about 30  cm  can  be at the  aft sounding  location  in the  tank before commencing COw. 
(4)   Commence the  COW in the  designated  pair of cargo tanks  by  opening  the  aft  machine in  each 
tank to  wash  and  clear the  aft  bay.  Depending  upon  the  nature  of  the  sludge and  the  status  of 
the  washing  medium (see below for further discussion),  one  cycle of washing with  the  warm  oil 
should  be  sufficient.  For  efficient  draining  of  the  cargo  tank  washings,  the  aft  bay  of the  tank 
around  the  stripping  position  must  be  cleaned  first  and  kept  clear  of  any  accumulated  wash 
material throughout the  programme. 
(5)   Start the forward two machines in each tank with the remaining machines stopped. This procedure 
has  two  primary advantages,  i.e. 
INTERTANKO - A Guide  to Crude  Oil  Washing  and  Cargo  Heating  Criteria  - May  2004   Page 34 
(a)  The  jet  of  crude  oil  wash  medium  projected  by  the  COW  guns  does  not  push  the  sludge 
forward  as  it is constrained  by the  tank's  forward  bulkhead.  Indeed,  deflected  "splash" will 
start to direct the  sludges  aft without  any contrary  interference/forces from the  operation  of 
the aft machine  had it been in operation. 
(b) The sludges remaining in the middle bays of the tank will force the warm wash oil to percolate 
through the  sludges  in order to be stripped from the tank. The warmer  oil will also warm the 
unwashed sludges  and  use all its remaining  "heat energy" more effectively. 
The  length of time  required  for this wash will  again depend  upon the  nature and amount  of sludges 
in the tank.  However,  previous  use of this technique  suggests  that  a maximum  of two cycles would 
be adequate to clear the forward  bays. 
(6)   Due to the  importance  of keeping the suction  position  clear, it may be necessary to  rewash the 
aft bay. This is not always necessary and will depend upon the nature and degree of degradation 
of "solvency"  of the washing  medium. 
(7)  The  final  section  of  the  washing  programme  requires  the  washing  of  the  centre  and  aft  bays 
of the tank  with the  aft  machine  in the  pair  of tanks.  This  final  stage  of the  programme  should 
remove  the  bulk  of  the  sludges  from  the  tank,  provided  their  viscosity  has  been  adequately 
reduced to render them  pumpable. 
(8)  Upon  completion  of the  final  stripping  period  after  closing  the  aft  machine,  the  tank  shouid  be 
checked  for its cleanliness  by sounding  in the  prescribed  four  locations  (paragraph  4.4.4  of the 
COW  Manual).  If  residue  sludges  are  found  in the  tank  at  certain  locations,  "spot"  washing  to 
remove them  may be considered. 
After a period oftime, asthis process is repeated inother pairs of cargo tanks, the efficiency ofthe crude 
oil wash  medium will be reduced  due to its saturation  with the  recovered  sludges.  This will  become 
evident when the expected effectiveness  of a crude oil wash in a pair of cargo tanks is not apparent. 
At this time the contents of the slop tank being used for the storage of the COW medium and recovery 
sludges and oil should be immediately  discharged.  The already  heated and prepared COW medium 
in the alternative slop tank should thereafter be used. If there is excessive  sludging onboard and a full 
COW programme  is required, then it may be necessary to recharge the original slop tank after it has 
been discharged  with fresh  crude  oil and  prepare  it in readiness  to continue  the  COW  programme. 
Page 35  
!NTERTANKO - A Guide  to  Crude  Oil  Washing and  Cargo  Heating  Criteria  May  200  . 
9 Closing remarks
All tanker operators and seagoing officers will have at some time in their career encountered sludging
problems onboard crude oil tankers. At the time it may not have been immediately clear either how
or why this problem had occurred or exactly what the impact of the sludging was. The aim of this
Guide is to help resolve some of these questions. By exploring the normal washing procedures used
onboard tankers, it is further hoped that some guidance and recommendations have been provided
on how best to avoid the sludging problem and, when sludging does occur, to minimise its effects on
tanker operations.
INTERTANKO - A Guide 10 Crude Oil Washing and Cargo Heating Criteria - May 2004 Page 36
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Compl ete
range of
Sw ed
o e n ta k elea ing tee 010 y
with ag etlc tran i slon ,
ank cleaning monitoring system
combining Scanjet's tank cleani ng
machines with Saab TankRadar
from Saab Rosemount Marine.
Tank clean ing mon itoring systems are
recommended by INTERTANKO.
P.o. Box 13051
SE·402 51 GOTEBO G
Tel. +46-3·1 84 93 30
Fax +46-31 84 93 50
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