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Purging nitrogen - required safety guides for chemical tankers

Nitrogen is used on Chemical Tankers as the primary Inert Gas for cargo quality control and / or for safety reasons. The requirements for the use of nitrogen, in respect to cargo handling, are either dictated by the IBC/BCH Codes for tank environment control or when the cargo quality / customers require it.

Prior to loading certain chemical cargoes, it may be necessary to purge the tank(s) with Nitrogen, either to reduce the O2 level or in order to displace vapours from the previous cargo(s).

Extensive structural damage can, and has, occurred to cargo tanks due to shore nitrogen being supplied at too high a flow rate or at too great a pressure. Great caution is therefore necessary.

The following are the general procedures for carrying out this operation, however some differences may exist depending on the number of tanks to be purged onboard and the Terminal and its facilities.

A ship specific Critical Operations checklist is to be created for such an operation on board.






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