Thursday, May 5, 2011

Top 10 Tank Barge Deficiencies—Part II

Excerpted from “Top Ten Deficiencies Found on Vessels.” Full text available on Navigate to missions/investigations/safety reports.

See Part I here.

Cargo Pump 46 CFR 32.50
Before inspection, owners/operators should look for (and repair) common deficiencies. Checklist:

  • Besides checking for obvious leakage, check the pump’s discharge pressure gauge.

  • The diesel’s water temp and oil press gauges must be in good working order.

  • Be sure the lagging on the diesel’s exhaust pipe is in good condition and its fan belt protective guard is in place.

  • Ensure that there’s a guard covering the reduction gear shaft assembly between the diesel and the pump.

  • Operating personnel must be prepared to demonstrate emergency shut-down procedures.

Vapor Control Components 46 CFR 39.20-1
Common deficiencies:

  • cracks and pinhole leaks in the vapor piping,

  • the half-inch diameter permanent stud on the vapor connection flange is often broken or missing.

Vessel Response Plan 33 CFR 155.1030, 1040 & 1060
The most common items that are either lacking from or not sufficiently addressed in the response plan are:

  • certification that response resources are able to respond to a “worst-case discharge,”

  • volume and type of oil that would be discharged in a worst-case discharge,

  • responsibilities of the qualified individual for immediate communication with the NRC,

  • vessel-specific information and the captain of the port zone information for the areas in which the barge will operate.
Owners/operators must use the “Homeport” web portal,, to submit a response plan for approval. Click “help” and navigate to the “vessel response plan submitter.”

Cargo Control and Gauging Devices 46 CFR 38.10-20, 39.20-3 & 39.20-9
Owner/operator checklist:

  • If the barge is equipped with magnetically coupled rising-stick gauges, ensure that the sticks aren’t bent and that the markings on the sticks are legible.

  • If equipped with automatic-float continuous-reading tape gauges that are fitted with sight-glasses, ensure that no glass piece is cracked and that the assemblies are vapor-tight.

  • Be prepared to test the high-level alarms in the inspector’s presence.

Hull and Deck Plating USCG NVIC 7-68

  • Hull Plating. Inspectors typically find breaches in the hull plating as well as wastage of structural members. Occasionally an inspector notices a temporary repair that had not been previously documented.

  • Deck Plating. A common defect is a crack where a cargo tank’s main access trunk meets the deck.
Cargo Tanks

  • Leaking welds are sometimes found along the perimeters of bulkheads.

For more information:
For more information, contact your local Coast Guard Sector/Inspections Division. For a listing of sector offices, click on “Sector Map” on

Stay tuned for:
Top 10 Cargo Vessel Deficiencies