CHAPTER 7

Deep Tank Cargoes

The Carriage of Vegetable Oils such as Coconut oil, palm oil, wood oil,
cottonseed oil, olive oil, Soya bean oil, peanut oil and rapeseed oils has
of recent years, grown largely that many modern cargo vessels are
fitted with a number of deep tanks suitable for the bulk carriage of these
liquids.
Liquid cargoes are carried in limited quantities but earn a high freight
rate. They require careful preparation and monitoring on the voyage.

ANNEX 20
RESOLUTION MEPC.148(54)
Adopted on 24 March 2006
REVISED GUIDELINES FOR THE TRANSPORT OF VEGETABLE
OILS IN
DEEPTANKS OR IN INDEPENDENT TANKS SPECIALLY DESIGNED
FOR THE
CARRIAGE OF SUCH VEGETABLE OILS IN GENERAL DRY CARGO
SHIPS
GUIDELINES FOR THE TRANSPORT OF VEGETABLE OILS IN
DEEPTANKS
OR IN INDEPENDENT TANKS SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR THE
CARRIAGE
OF SUCH VEGETABLE OILS IN GENERAL DRY CARGO SHIPS

1.

Preamble
1.1

The Guidelines have been developed to allow general dry cargo
ships, which are currently certified to carry vegetable oil in bulk, to
continue to carry these vegetable oils on specific trades.
These Guidelines only apply under the following conditions:

88

.1 the vegetable oils are carried in deep tanks or independent
tanks in general dry cargo ships specifically designed for the
carriage of such oils under an NLS Certificate issued before 1
January 2007;
.2 the products allowed to be carried are restricted to those
unmodified vegetable oils (primarily triglycerides) which are listed
in the IBC Code, identified by a footnote (k) in column e; and
.3 the ship complies with all discharge requirements under Annex
II to MARPOL 73/78.
1.2

2.

3.

The Guidelines have been developed in accordance with the
provisions set forth in regulation 11.2 of Annex II to MARPOL
73/78 and in recognition of the need for standards, which provide
an alternative to the International Code for the Construction and
Equipment of Ship Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk.

Carriage in deeptanks
2.1

An Administration may grant a relaxation for the carriage
requirements, as required by the IBC Code, when vegetable oils
are carried in deep tanks in general dry cargo ships between
States for which it is demonstrated that, as a result of their
geographical location, the transport of vegetable oils from the
exporting State to the receiving State would not be viable using
NLS tankers as required by Annex II to MARPOL 73/78. This
relaxation shall be endorsed on the ship’s Certificate. Such
relaxation shall be communicated to the IMO by the
Administration.

2.2

Every general dry cargo ship, falling under paragraph 2 of the
Guidelines, shall be subject to Annex II to MARPOL 73/78
regarding the discharge requirements and the carriage of a
Manual and shall be certified to carry vegetable oils by means of
the issue of a certificate under regulation 10.1 of that Annex.

2.3

Before granting a relaxation, the Administration shall receive a
confirmation in writing that both the Government of the country of
loading and the Government of the country of unloading concur
with the proposed relaxation. These confirmations shall be
retained on board.

Carriage in independent tanks
89

3.1

An Administration may grant a relaxation for the carriage
requirements as required by the IBC Code when vegetable oils
are carried in independent tanks in general dry cargo ships
specially designed for the carriage of these vegetable oils. This
relaxation shall be endorsed on the ship’s Certificate. Such
relaxation shall be communicated to the IMO by the
Administration.

3.2

The following criteria on construction and trade for such relaxation
shall apply:
.1

the independent tanks shall be situated at least 760 mm
from the shell plating; and

.2

such carriage of vegetable oils shall be restricted to
specifically identified trades.

3.3

Every general dry cargo ship falling under paragraph 3 of the
Guidelines shall be subject to Annex II to MARPOL 73/78
regarding the discharge requirements and the carriage of a
Manual and shall be certified to carry vegetable oils by means of
the issue of a certificate under regulation 10.1 of that Annex.

3.4

Before granting a relaxation, the Administration shall receive a
confirmation in writing that both the Government of the country of
loading and the Government of the country of unloading concur
with the proposed relaxation. These confirmations shall be
retained on board.

***

Objective
To understand the construction of deep tanks
To explain the procedures for the carriage of liquid cargoes in general
cargo ships.
Deep tanks
Deep tanks are fitted on some general cargo ships for the carriage of
liquid cargoes such as tallow, vegetable oils (coconut oil, palm oil, olive
oil, Soya bean oil to name a few) but these deep tanks if need be can
also carry ballast water.
90

In older type ships one or two deep tanks were fitted, but in modern
cargo vessels a number of deep tanks are fitted suitable for dedicated
carriage of bulk cargoes.
These tanks vary in capacity from 500 to 1000 cum and are subdivided
by longitudinal bulkheads, which provide for the carriage of different
types of oils in separate tanks during the same voyage. Deep tanks are
smaller than a cargo hold and generally extend from the ship’s shell
plating or a double bottom of the ship up to the lowest deck
When constructed, a deep tank has a greater structural strength then a
conventional cargo hold to take account of the concentrated weight of
the cargo. Wash plates or centre line bulkheads are fitted to prevent the
free movement of oil from side to side (surging) and thus the loss of
stability due to free surface effect. They are especially effective when
the deep tank extends from side to side.
Conventional stiffeners are positioned on the outside to facilitate and
make cleaning of the cargo tanks easier for liquid cargoes that require
the tanks to be thoroughly cleaned.
The entrance to the deep tanks from the deck is often via a large oil
tight hatch cover, which can also allow the loading of general cargo or
bulk cargoes when necessary. The large cover includes a manhole for
allowing loading and discharge of oil cargo.

Figure: - Deep Tank

Aft

Forward

Tank Access
Deep Tank

91

Deep tanks are normally tested by a head of water equivalent to their
maximum service condition or not less then 2.44mtrs above the crown
of the tank.
The carriage of edible oils involves a strict standard of cleanliness and
is of prime importance to avoid heavy claims. In these trades the
cleanliness and tightness of the deep tanks are subjected to supervision
prior loading, during and after completion. A final survey is carried out
and appropriate certificates as to seaworthiness and cleanliness are
issued/obtained. If oil such as lubricating oils is carried in the previous
voyage and subsequently vegetable oil are to be loaded, the tanks are
scrupulously cleaned to remove all traces of the previous cargo to avoid
contamination and heavy claims.
Deep tanks are not normally provided their own piping and pumping
arrangements for handling liquid cargoes. Such cargoes are loaded by
shore pumps and discharged by using submersible pumps provided by
the shipper. Heating coils are fitted at the bottom of the tank and
sometimes at the top, as some oils have to be maintained at a certain
level of temperature either prior discharging or during the voyage
To eliminate any contamination or any possibility of a foreign matter
entering via ducts or piping (e.g. from air pipes, sounding pipes) entire
lengths of these pipes, made of portable sections, are removed after the
tanks are certified clean. The end of these pipes or openings are
blanked off and inspected by a surveyor, similarly all other accesses are
also blanked off.
Cleanliness of tanks
The carriage of an edible oil involves a. strict standard of cleanliness
and cargo officers should pay due attention to this very important point.
In all trades the cleanliness and tightness of the tanks are subject to
supervision and final surveying by both Classification and Shipper's
surveyors. Appropriate certificates as to seaworthiness and cleanliness
are necessary before ship and shippers should take their respective
responsibility.
To avoid any possibility of foreign matter entering the tanks, the
ventilators serving the deep tanks should be fitted with portable
sections, preferably in the tween deck spaces immediately above the
deep tanks and blank flanges fitted to the ventilator pipes. Most
92

shippers require that the blank flanges be fitted at the lower and upper
extremity of the air vent in view of the possibility of damage to the pipe
from the weather or from cargo working within the 'tween deck space.
The sounding pipe extensions to the tanks should be removed and the
remainder of the pipe blanked off and any steam or gas fire
extinguishing pipes, which enter the tanks, should be plugged or
disconnected at the deck. It is advisable to ensure that provision has
been made for blanking off the bilge suction pipes if they are not fitted
with non-return valves.
There is no objection to the carriage of any of these vegetable oils in
tanks, which on a previous voyage, have been filled with dirty oils such
as lubricating oils or fuel oils. However particularly with the latter oil, the
tanks will need exceedingly careful attention to ensure that they are
scrupulously clean. Any trace of bitumen content will dissolve in the
vegetable oil with consequent contamination. Claims for contamination
of vegetable oils are very high.
The cleaning of the tank is a much-specialised task and is performed by
cleaning gangs. The tanks are scraped clean and washed with
detergents to ensure removal of all traces of previous oil or other
residues. At each stage a surveyor may inspect the tanks. Just prior to
loading, the tanks would be given a rub down by the cargo being loaded
to ensure that dissolvable residues are not left. The surveyor carries out
the final inspection throughout the tank by rubbing with white cloth. Only
thereafter the cargo shall be loaded. The quality of the cargo is also
important and the ship should retain bottles of certified samples to
compare the out turn of the cargo.
Cleaning of Tanks
If fuel oil has been carried in a deep tank, preliminary cleaning of the
tank will be necessary in order to remove as much of the fuel oil as
possible, after which the tank should be steamed out for at least twentyfour hours. On completion of the steaming and whilst the tank is still
warm, it is necessary to wash the tank down with a hose under
pressure.
This early cleaning should be completed either at sea before the vessel
arrives at the port of loading or at a specified anchorage so that the

93

discharge of the residue will not contaminates the harbour. Discharging
at sea is normally avoided unless permitted by MARPOL requirements.
The tank is now filled with water and tested for tightness, to the
satisfaction of the surveyor. Some shippers require a further steaming
of the tank to ensure complete removal of any traces of oil fuel. In some
ports the tanks are subject, after water testing, to a very thorough
cleaning with caustic soda and steam. In the port of Manila very
satisfactory results were obtained by cleaning down with caustic soda
and sand, using scrapers and stiff coir broom heads. This latter
operation for an 800 ton tank takes the better part of twenty-four hours.
The surveyors will then inspect the tank and if satisfied as to cleanliness
will issue the certificate ‘that the tank is in fit condition to carry Oil in
bulk'. No master should allow loading to commence before receipt of
this certificate, duly signed. It is very unlikely that any question in this
direction will arise for the shippers are very particular in ensuring that
the tanks are fit before commencement of loading the oil.
Arrangements for Heating the Oil
Certain vegetable oils are liable to solidify at ambient temperatures and
provision needs to be made in order to facilitate easy and quick
discharge of the oil.
Heating elements, in the form of steam coils, are fitted in the bilges of
the tanks and on the tank tops. These coils are arranged in sections so
that they may be easily and quickly removed when loading general
cargoes. They are of 2.5 cm in diameter and raised off the tank top by
brackets to a distance of about 5 cm.
In many vessels it has been found to be of great advantage to fit
independent heating coils in the upper park of the tanks, as for
example, at the deck head.
Very frequently, with only a lower heating coil system, the upper layers
of the oil remain in a solid state, leaving large fatty deposits on the top
portions of the tank beams and frames as the oil level recedes in the
tank during discharge.
The upper coils warm the upper layers of oil so that as the level falls it
leaves a comparatively clean tank. This certainly results in a better
discharge and considerably reduces cleaning costs.
94

The heating arrangement for the lower part of the tank should be such
that the steam enters first through the coils situated in the bilges. In this
way the maximum heat will be given to that part of the tank, which is
naturally colder because of contact with the cold outside water.
The carrying temperatures of vegetable oils differ somewhat with the
class of oil. It is usual for the shippers to specify the temperature at
which they require the oil to be kept and the temperatures at which it is
to be discharged.
Palm nut oil and palm kernel oil may be successfully carried at
temperatures of 78-86º F, whilst palm oil suffers no deterioration at
temperatures of 105º F. The shipper, however, will stipulate the
maximum temperature, and the oil should only be brought to this
temperature about four days prior to discharge. Experience in the
carriage of these oils teaches that due regard must be given to the
season of the year during which the vessel arrives at port of discharge,
winter months necessitating a gradual rise of the maximum
temperature, possibly more than the four days mentioned above.
Shore plants affect discharge of the oil either in the form of independent
steam pumps operating at the tank top flat or by a combined suction
and discharge pump, which may be lowered into the tank.
Before discharging commences it is a requirement that official forms be
completed showing ullages, temperatures, specific gravity and draughts
of the vessel fore and aft, and list, if any.
Deep tank use
Many vessels are fitted with' deep tanks' - employed as ballast tanks or
for the carriage of specialized liquid cargoes such as vegetable oils - i.e.
coconut oil, bean oil, cotton seed oil, linseed oil, palm oil or mineral oils.
Other cargoes include 'tallow' or bulk commodities like grain, molasses
or latex.
The specialization of such cargoes often requires rigid temperature
control of the cargo and to this end most cargo deep tanks are fitted
with 'heating coils' which may or may not be blanked off as the
circumstances dictate
Preparation of deep tanks
The need for absolute cleanliness with deep tanks is paramount and
95

Cargo Officers are advised that they are virtually always subject to
supervision and survey prior to loading example cargoes. Claims for
contamination of these cargoes are high and meticulous cleaning of the
tank itself and the pipelines employed for loading and discharging must
be a matter of course.

Note: All precautions for the entry into an enclosed space must be taken
prior to carrying out maintenance inside 'deep tanks' under a permit to
work scheme.

To enable the Classification Surveyor to certify that the tank has watertight integrity and is clean, Chief Officers should, depending on the
previous cargo, ensure that:
After the carriage of a general cargo, the tank is swept down completely
and any waste removed
In the event of a liquid cargo (assuming of a non-hazardous nature),
puddle any residual fluids to the suction and allow the tank to dry.
If the tank is uncoated (they are often coated in epoxy covering), the
bulkhead's decks and deck head should be inspected for rust spots.
These should be scraped and wire brushed, and all traces of corrosion
removed.
Heating coils should be rigged and tested. These coils may be 'side
coils' or bottom coils or a combination both.
Hat boxes should be cleaned out and the suctions should be tested
The tank should be filled with clean ballast and the tank lid pressure
should be tested (tanks are to be tested to a head of water equal to the
maximum to which the tank will be subjected but not less than 2.44 m
above the crown of the tank).
The tank should be emptied to just above the heating coils, a cleansing
agent added and the residual water heated by means of the coils. A
wash down using a hose and submersible pump then to be carried out.
After cleaning, the heating element should be turned off and the tank
sluiced down with fresh water, pumped dry and allowed to dry, with any
residuals puddles being mobbed up.
96

Finally, bilge suctions need to be cleaned and blanked off.

Note: Personnel so involved should be provided with protective clothing
and footwear, together with goggle eye protection. Breathing apparatus
may also be a requirement. A risk assessment would be carried out
prior to commencing the above task.

Deep tank cargoes
Vegetable oils - when shipped in bulk, the tank must be thoroughly
cleaned and all traces of previous cargoes must be removed. Tank
suctions will be blanked off, and a Cargo Surveyor will inspect the
overall condition. The tank itself would be tested for oil tightness prior to
loading. Heating coils will probably be in operation depending on the
required shipping temperature. Some oils solidify at O°C, others like
palm oil or palm nut oil, solidify at between 32°C and 39°C, cotton seed
oil and kapok seed oil solidify at about 10-13°C. Chief Officers could
expect to be supplied with relevant shipping criteria for the oil.
Care must be taken that the heating is not too fierce or applied too
quickly as the cargo could scorch. Such an occurrence would be
noticeable by some discolouration of the oil, which could result in a
cargo claim being filed.
Contamination is avoided by use of shoreside cargo pumps when discharging, while monitoring on passage is conducted by taking ullages
and temperatures at least twice per day for oils kept in the liquid state.
Following discharge of the cargo, the tank would probably be steam
cleaned and washed with a caustic soda type solution to ensure
cleanliness. Latex - is the 'sap' from rubber trees which rapidly solidifies
when exposed to air. It is retained in liquid form by added chemicals,
usually ammonia, and shipped in bulk. Note: Ammonia attacks brass
and copper metalwork and latex tanks should not have such metals as
part of their construction.
Prior to loading latex, the tank would be tested and inspected to be thoroughly clean. All steelwork would be coated with hot paraffin wax. The
heating coils would be removed as they are not needed for the carriage.
Ventilators, air pipes and sounding pipes are all sealed to prevent
97

ammonia loss due to evaporation. Fire extinguishing pipes if fitted
should also be plugged. Gas relief valves are fitted to ease any
pressure build up inside the tank.
Discharge of the cargo is carried out by shoreside pumps and the tank
would then be washed down with water to remove all traces of
ammonia. The wax coating is often left in place unless the tank is to be
used immediately for another cargo.
Molasses syrup is obtained from the manufacturing process of sugar
and Carried in deep tanks similar to vegetable oils, with heating coils
operational to retain the cargo in a liquid state. It is discharged by
shoreside pumps and the tanks would be scrubbed and washed down
with plenty of water as soon after discharge as is practical. Most
contamination claims develop from dirty pipelines. Note: Specially
designated vessels are employed for the carriage of molasses so the
use of deep tanks has diminished with this type of cargo.
Rancidity
The possibility of products turning rancid is always present, especially
with fatty oils and fats, which contain strong flavours and odours. These
elements become developed by being exposed to light, moisture and
air, and move towards a condition we know as rancidity. A by-product
following excessive exposure and subsequent chemical reaction is the
production of fatty acids. These then decompose and form other
compounds which are dramatically increased by temperature rise. Such
action means that less refined, pure oil is recoverable.
Note: Fats are considered as products which are solid at ordinary
temperatures, e.g. 15°C. Fatty oils are those which are liquid at that
temperature. The difference between fats and fatty oils is that fatty oils
are more chemically reactive than fats

Hides - may be shipped in either a wet or dry condition, either in
bundles or in casks, or even loose. They are often carried in deep
tanks, usually because there is not enough of them to fill a tween deck
or lower hold space. Another factor that is against stowage in a tween
deck is that wet hides require adequate drainage which would be
difficult to achieve in exposed stow. Pickling Handling precautions
and/or brine fluid can expect to find its way to the bilges, which will
98

necessitate pumping probably twice daily at the beginning of a voyage
with hides in the cargo.

- Hides must only be handled with gloves as there is a high risk of
contracting anthrax, which could prove fatal. Neither should stevedores
use hooks in the handling, because of damage to the product. In the
case of dry hides these are often brittle and any person being scratched
or cut should receive immediate hospital treatment

The stowage of hides must be away from dry goods and ironwork. They
have a pungent odour and should be stowed well away from other
goods that are liable to spoil. They should not be overstowed.

99