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Dangers in Bunkering Operation - Hydrogen Sulphide

Updated on July 13, 2013
Monitor and Adjust Mooring Line Tightness if Required
Monitor and Adjust Mooring Line Tightness if Required

Hydrogen sulphide is flammable gas which is highly toxic and corrosive. It has an odour of rotton eggs and a low odour threshold. Hydrogen sulphide is heavier compared to air, soluble in water and colourless, hence it is not detected by bare eyes, and settle down and difficult to disperse in the atmosphere. There is a chance of accumulation of the gas at the open deck where so many operations are carried out.

Sources of Hydrogen Sulphide

Un-stabilized crude oil and some refined products such as fuel oil, bitumens, bunker fuel, gasoline, even naphtha may contain benzene also other than hydrogen sulphide. Before commencing bunkering operation all the available information about the bunker fuel to be collected from the bunker supplier such as Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), rate of bunker supply, temperature, special requirements, presence of unusual stabilizers or inhibitors in the bunker fuel, etc.

Stay away from the open deck to avoid exposure to dangerous gases during bunkering operation
Stay away from the open deck to avoid exposure to dangerous gases during bunkering operation

Exposure Limit

The TLV-TWA (Threshold Limit Value - Time Weighted Average) for H2S is 5 ppm for a period of eight hours. This means any personnel can stay safely in an atmosphere containing hydrogen sulphide concentration 5 ppm (5 parts in a million parts of air) for a time period of eight hours. But, keeping safety in mind it is not advised to do so. Exposure time and limit to be reduced during working as a safe working practice.

Keep good watch on engine room machinery and fulfill power requirements for operations on deck
Keep good watch on engine room machinery and fulfill power requirements for operations on deck

Procedures for Handling Bunkers Containing Hydrogen Sulphide

  1. Concentration of H2S to be monitored before commencing, during and after bunkering operation using vapour monitoring system. Portable multi gas detectors are advised to use since they are easy to carry.
  2. If H2S is detected keep monitoring frequently.
  3. If required forced ventilation must be used to lower gas concentrations in the collected area.
  4. Portable gas measuring instruments to be set at a value of 5 ppm and an alram to be activated at the set value.
  5. Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is to be worn.
  6. During bunkering gases are expelled out through tank vents and these gases normally spread around the deck. Try to avoid these areas. Periodical tank content measuring is important and in such cases emergency breathing apparatus can be used.


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    • jabelufiroz profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from India


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      interesting...i think i can use for my seminar...

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 years ago from Dubai

      The hub is very intereting and with lot of vital information. More information could have been added.


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