Walvis Bay is known for its fish factories and all of them have a fleet of boats. Due to cost of docking it is important for the boats to spend as little time as possible in the harbour. Bunkering is the transfer of product between a road tanker from the harbour wall to a ship.
Pipes are connected to the truck and the product is extracted from the tanker and then pushed via a transfer pump to the tanks on the boat. With bunkering, it gives the fish companies the option of refuelling while offloading its cargo. This reduces the time in the harbour a lot so the oil companies prefer to do it this way.
Unitrans Africa Namibia has three bunkering trollies that are each equipped with a diesel motor that can transfer product at the rate of 800 to 1000 litres per minute. Two of our trollies is for diesel transfer and the third is for HFO (Heavy furnace oil). The HFO is for the ships that has boilers which need HFO.
We have two 4 man bunker teams. Each crew has a senior who handles the paperwork with the ship and make sure all goes according to the procedures. Bunkering is very high risk as any pipe burst or spill will result in a pollution into the sea. This is very costly so you need to be sure your crew and equipment is up to spec.
Safety is not negotiable and for this reason we have a senior person present with each delivery. So when we receive an order for a ship it can range from 50 000 litres to 300 000 litres. The bunker team will be first on site to make sure the ship is at the correct place and that there is sufficient alluage. When this is done the pipes are connected and the transfer starts.
Unitrans Africa is one of two companies that offer this service in Walvis Bay and we pride ourselves with our safety record on this operation. The two senior crew supervisors have got over 10 years of experience in bunkering and is the best in the business.