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Bunkering Permits

Sri Lankan Waters

Approved Bunker Supplier A bunker supply company approved by the MEPA to supply oil to vessels within the Sri Lankan waters.
Bunkering The transferring of oil, oil fuel or any oily mixture in the marine environment
Bunker Operations
Any operation related to supply of bunkers to & from a vessel to vessel, land vehicle or any other installation
Bunker Receiving Vessel A ship, which receives bunkers or other oils covered by Annex I of MARPOL 73/78
Bunker supply Vessel A ship, which delivers bunkers to a receiving ship.
Hot work Work involving sources of ignition or temperatures sufficiently high to cause the ignition of a flammable gas mixture. This includes any work requiring the use of welding, burning or soldering equipment, blow torches, some power driven tools, portable electrical equipment which is not intrinsically safe or contained within an approved explosion proof housing, and internal combustion engines.
Responsible Person A person who is authorized by the owner/operator to supervise bunkering operation
Ship As defined in marine Pollution Prevention act no. 35 of 2008


These Guidelines are intended for execution of bunkering operations safely without spillages and leakages in line with MEPA regulations & requirements for protection of marine pollution and apply to cover all bunkering operations and ship to ship  transfer of oils as cargo subject to Annex I of MARPOL 73/78, which take place within the Sri Lankan Waters.

The scope of this guideline covers all bunkering operations only among ships within the Sri Lankan Waters regardless of the quantity being transferred but excluded transfers to and from ships & land operated vehicles & installations.

Approval Process for Bunker Suppliers

General Requirements

Only valid permit holder who obtain permit from MEPA shall deliver bunkers to vessels within the Sri Lankan Water.

Any company wishing to deliver bunkers within the Sri Lankan waters shall first obtain necessary permit from MEPA.

The following documents shall be submitted to MEPA for review and necessary approval and permits.
Copy of certificate of insurance for pollution liability (Including cost of cleaning up and consequential damage)
Copy of Bunker Procedure Manual
Copy of Emergency Response Manual
Copy of Provisional or Initial Trading License issued by the DMS

Bunker Procedure Manual which includes standard operating procedure, equipment standards, Pressure Test Certificates, Contingency Procedure, Oil Transfer Procedure and other necessary elements that would provide an adequate level of protection from unsafe acts, unsafe conditions and risk of pollution.

Emergency Response Manual shall contain the following minimum requirements:
List of oils to be handled
A line diagram of the vessel’s oil transfer piping with clearly marked location of each  valve, pump, control device, vent, emergency stop of the pump and  overflow;
Deployment of spill containment
Minimum number of personnel required with their roles and responsibilities. (Personnel must be familiar with their duties)
Emergency shut-down procedure;
Normal and emergency communications procedure;
Incident Reporting Procedure
Contact details of the Management Representatives
Details of the Bunker vessel which includes vessel particulars, copy of the Statutory certificates etc.
Preliminary Approval notification shall be sent to the bunker supplier once the above documents satisfy the MEPA.
Final Approval Process

After notification of preliminary approval, Bunker Supply Vessel shall make available for inspection by an officer of MEPA or Surveyor designated and authorized by the MEPA. The MEPA should be given 7 days notice in writing prior to the date proposed intimating that the bunker supply vessel is ready for inspection at an area designated by MEPA with concurrence of the DG DMS.

After the survey of BSV by the MEPA, final approval shall be given by the issue of a permit within 14 days. Every approved bunker supplier shall renew their permit annually by submitting written request for renewal to the MEPA with duly filled application and necessary document. MEPA shall carryout regular and mandatory annual survey on bunker vessels as prerequisite for renewal.

Training Requirements

The Master of the bunker supply vessel shall ensure that crew and officers engaged in bunkering operations are adequately trained to carryout bunkering safely and training record shall be made available to MEPA officer, as a mandatory requirement if and when necessary on request by MEPA such records should be presented.

Bunker Notification

Bunker vessels should notify to MEPA details of bunker operation carried out on last month on or before fifteenth day of each and every month of the bunker service carried out for a particular month.

Bunker notification form given in Appendix 1 shall be sent to: MEPA: Info@ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Fax: 011 2556505

Distribution of Responsibility

The person onboard the BRV in charge of bunkering shall, prior to commencing bunkering operation, appoint a responsible officer who has the authority or empowered to order the pumping and to stop if necessary.

The person onboard the receiving ship who is responsible for the bunkering operation and the master of the bunkering vessel is obliged, within their respective areas of responsibility, to take all necessary precautions to prevent the release of bunker oil into the water or onto the shore and to ensure that no hot work is undertaken on deck and around the vessels.

BSV (bunker vessel personnel) shall ensure that pumping rates & line pressures will be maintained as agreed and shall remain on duty close to the hose connection in order to oversee the safe bunker operation and to be able to respond to an emergency throughout the delivery.

Master/Chief Engineer of the BRV shall ensure that the pumping rates and line pressures will be maintained as agreed and the ship’s engineers in charge of the receiving operation will not close any valve which will restrict the flow of the product without adequate notice to the bunker supply personnel and their vessel crew will remain on duty close to the hose connection in order to oversee the safe bunker operation and to be able to respond to an emergency throughout the bunkering operation.

Safety Checklist

The Master of the BSV and Master of the BRV shall complete the appropriate “Bunker Safety checklists”.

These checklists shall provide adequate level of protection against spillages, leakages, any other unsafe act and unsafe conditions. Model checklists are given in the Appendix 2 Bunker checklist shall be checked by MEPA officers where the bunkering operations to be taken place.

Bunkering Precautions


All bunkering operations shall be carefully planned and executed in accordance with requirement of MEPA and Applicable International Requirements.

The Master of a vessel involved in BRV shall ensure that the conditions described in the above paragraphs remain fulfilled during the entire bunkering Operation referred to at Para 3.procedure.

The Master of the vessel involved in BRV shall ensure that a constant visual watch is maintained throughout the whole transfer operation.

Both the Master of the BSV & BRV shall ensure that all scuppers are closed and that sufficient absorbent materials are available in case of an accidental spillage.

If it cannot be ensured that the requirements laid down in this Notice are fulfilled, during the entire bunkering operations should be immediately suspended.

Hose shall conform to the recognized standard specifications, or confirmed by recognized hose manufacturers. Hose shall be of a grade and type suitable for the service and operating conditions in which it is to be used.

Hose shall be hydraulically pressure tested regularly at intervals not exceeding six months. A record shall be kept of the service history of each hose.

Precautions to be taken by all BRV
Further to stipulations in the B.P. of vessel owner/mandated/company, Master of all BRV shall ensure that:
Scuppers are firmly closed.
Vessel is securely moored or safely at anchor
Bunker lines which are not in use are effectively blanked.
Bunker lines are pressure tested and stenciled.
Bunker hoses have sufficient play and are adequately supported.
Bunker hose connections have been provided with good seals.
There is a well-tightened bolt in every bolt hole in the bunker hose connection flanges; the bolts should be of standard size.
Bunker flanges should be of approved type as per international guidelines.
There is a sufficiently large overflow container under the bunker hose connection (s) Cargo-handling or other operations in progress will not hazard the bunker operations or vice-versa
There is an agreed communication system established between the BSV and BRV.
Internationally mandated signals to be prominently displayed while engaged in the process of receiving, transferring and pumping of bunker fuels. Flag code B to be hoisted during daylight hours and a red flashing light, visible all round, prominently displayed at the masthead or highest point of vessel.
SOPEP kit placed near the bunkering point.
Pressure gauges calibrated and in working condition near the bunker point.
Bunkering point always manned during bunkering.
Bunkering Plan should be prepared at least 2 hrs before the start of bunkering and discussed among the bunkering team. Master should ensure that the bunkering tanks are having sufficient space.
Ship’s bunkering procedure posted nearby the bunkering point.
Any special instructions issued by the MEPA have been complied with.
Precautions to be taken by BSV
The Master of a BSV is not to begin bunkering unless it has been ensured that:
Scuppers are firmly closed;
Bunkering vessel is securely moored;
Bunker hoses are properly maintained and in good condition;
Bunker hoses have sufficient play;
Bunker flanges should be of approved type as per international guidelines.
Bunker connection has been provided with a good seal;
There is a well-tightened bolt in every bolt hole of the bunker hose joining flanges
Bunker lines pressure tested and stenciled.
The pipelines and valves to tanks and pump are correctly set; and There is an agreed communications system established with the vessel being bunkered.
Adequate numbers of fire fighting appliances such as fire extinguishers are placed close to the bunkering points.
Special instructions issued by the MEPA have been complied with;
Precautions before Bunkering Operation
Before commencement of bunkering, Pumping rate shall be agreed between bunker supplier & receiver.
Safe communications shall be established between the receiving ship and the bunkering vessel. Where hand held radios are used, they are to be intrinsically safe.
Communications shall be maintained until the bunkering operation is completed and the bunkering hose (bunkering arm) is disconnected.
Bunker checklist shall be filled up appropriately and conditions specified in the checklist shall be followed strictly.
Precautions during Bunker Transfer
Hose-connections shall continuously be checked for leakage.
A responsible officer/ crew of the BSV & BRV vessel shall be in attendance during the entire bunkering operation. He shall stay in such a place that he can immediately order an interruption of the pumping, should this be called for due to overfilling or otherwise.
The oil level in the tanks shall be carefully checked. The greatest caution shall be exercised during the “topping up” of tanks.
Precautions after Completion of Bunkering Operations

Prior to blowing out hoses with air, the responsible officer shall ensure there is adequate space in the tank being filled to receive its contents.

The hose of the bunkering vessel shall be disconnected in such a way that oil is not spilled. Drip trays, with their capacities clearly marked and adequately plugged, shall be used. The hose shall be blinded before being brought back to the bunkering vessel.  New gaskets and a complete number of bolts shall be used when mounting blind flanges.

Oil Spill Response Equipment Requirements

Each bunkering  vessels shall carry on board  adequate oil spill response equipment as per Shipboard Oil pollution Emergency Plans (SOPEP) which shall include sufficient quantities of oil dispersants, of  types approved by the MEPA, adequate quantity of special reusable high absorbent materials and adequate quantity of disposable absorbent and cleanings materials.
Bunkering vessel shall be equipped with sufficient length of boom so as to form containment enclosure with vessel receiving bunkers at both fwd and aft of the vessels.

Actions during Oil Spills Emergencies

In case where oil is spilled following actions shall immediately be taken:
Pumping  be stopped.
The valves onboard the BSV and BRV shall immediately be closed.
Person in charge of BSV vessel shall immediately report to MEPA and Habour Master/ SLPA if it is in port limits.
The following information shall be specified while reporting:
Spill location & time
The name of the vessel receiving bunkers;
The nature of the incident;
The quantity and the type of oil spilled into the water or on the berth area.
Resource at risk
Contact details
Contact at incident site
The circumstances of the spill
Any action taken or proposed to be taken in relation to the spill incident

Activate the spill contingency plan. Any oil spill on deck or berth shall be dealt with immediately and all available resources deployed in cleanup operation

All clean up waste shall be transported and disposed as per approved manner by MEPA.

Monitoring of Bunker Operations by MEPA

MEPA Officers or any designated person from MEPA shall monitor all bunker operations on a regular random basis depending on the discretion of MEPA.

Every bunker supplier shall provide all the necessary documentation relating to bunkering operations, approval permits including, testing, inspection, maintenance and operation etc, at any time if it is requested by the MEPA Officers.

If the MEPA Officers were denied any of the documents as referred to in paragraph 1.2, all bunker operations shall be stopped immediately and shall not proceed until the MEPA grants approval to recommence.

The presence of any representative of the authority shall not in any way relieve the responsibility of the personnel involved in the bunkering operations.

The authority may impose an appropriate penalty for any violations of the aforesaid these bunkering requirements


Appendix 1: Bunker Notification Form

Appendix 2: Ship To Ship Bunker Safety Checklist

Last Updated ( Monday, 30 March 2020 06:16 )  

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