Working in the maritime industry, you’ll come to understand that leaks on board a vessel are collected in bilge tanks, which are located in the engine room. However, what is often overlooked is the importance of bilge management.
Keeping your vessel’s engine room clean, clear, and free of bilge is a top priority when working on board private and commercial charter yachts. Preventing mould and bacterial growth and corrosion of the bilge tank is imperative since failure to do so can result in lost time and money, and can even land you with a sizeable fine if your bilge is polluting the ocean. Dirty engine room bilges are also one of the biggest offences when it comes to port state inspections, but such accidents are easily preventable with adequate bilge management processes in place.
With both a maintenance plan and support from a professional tank cleaning company, a poorly managed engine room can be resolved before a Lloyds or ABS insurance inspector mandates a total replacement.
That’s why we’re sharing our top tips for effective bilge management, so we can help you prevent any unnecessary issues and keep your yacht as environmentally friendly as possible. Even if your bilge tank has already begun corroding, we have the solutions at hand to return your engine room to its former glory.
When it comes to bilge management for superyachts, prevention is key.
It’s vital to have a maintenance plan in place to keep on top of your engine room’s bilge tank, to prevent both environmental consequences and damage to your superyacht. Regular inspection of your superyacht’s bilge can also help you prevent issues such as a build-up of water. Therefore, creating a plan to regularly check and clean your bilge tank is the key to preventing corrosion and the rusting of equipment in your superyacht’s engine room, and can also help to eliminate the foul odours that are often associated with bilge tanks.
Cleaning the bilge
If you’re looking to tackle bilge cleaning yourself, we recommend investing in a top-quality bilge cleaner – biodegradable bilge cleaners are one of the best options to avoid any long-term residue on your superyacht.
How do they work?
Bilge cleaners are designed to emulsify oil and water into one homogeneous liquid that can be pumped out of the vessel. They can also contain a detergent to loosen grime and dirt from the bilge surfaces at the same time, as well as an aromatic to reduce any unwelcome odours.
Oil in the bilge?
It’s important to remember that any oil in the bilge tank is always unwelcome. So, not only should you avoid purposefully putting any excess oil in the bilges, but you also need to ensure thorough checks are being conducted to maintain a bilge tank free of oil or any other pollutant such as discarded chemicals.
Although it is not illegal to have oil in the bilge, pumping the contaminated liquid back into the ocean is, and it can have serious implications on the environment and your wallet when you receive a hefty fine!
Pumping soiled water into the ocean is an offence in most regions, so it’s best to have a comprehensive process in place when disposing of any unwanted substances in your bilge. The best practice is to simply drain the oily bilge water and dispose of it offshore. Oil often finds its way into the bilge due to leakages, so it’s important to place drip trays underneath these leaks in order to start rectifying this problem from the source.
Clearing the bilge tank
Once the liquid in the bilge tank is cleared, you can begin applying the cleaner to the tank by uncovering the bilge compartment and applying it to all surfaces. We recommend leaving the bilge cleaner to sit for at least a few hours to thoroughly penetrate the dirt before you can return and scrub the surfaces with a rough sponge or scouring pad. Once you’ve scrubbed all those hard-to-reach areas, rinse the cleaner off with a small amount of water.
Alternatively, the process of keeping your bilge tank clean is made simpler with Protank. We provide comprehensive bilge cleaning solutions to take the matter out of your hands, and we even have the capability to complete the job whilst the yacht is at sea.
As bilge cleaning specialists, we provide our customers with a warranty to ensure your bilge is free from any preventable bilge-associated deterioration – keeping your superyacht’s engine room healthy.
What can you do if your bilge tank has been neglected for too long?
If you’re already spotting signs of corrosion or rust due to the coating or interior lining failing, it’s not too late for it to be fixed. Don’t delay the repairs, unless you are willing to risk insurance inspectors demanding a total replacement.
Simply, give our team a call at +1 619-371-9378 to discuss your requirements today – our expert team is always on hand to support private and commercial vessels worldwide.
How can we support you?
Firstly, we can clear the interior tank by using a high-pressure steam cleaner and degreaser to cleanse away any potential contaminants. We then begin surface preparation, whereby steel or aluminium tank surfaces are abrasive blasted to successfully remove any existing coating, rust and corrosion pits. These self-contained blasting systems have been specifically designed for confined spaces such as a bilge tank, and are a far more eco-friendly alternative to sandblasting. We can also wet blast and/or slurry blast to minimise dust if required. We then paint your bilge tank, sealing it with a 2-part epoxy tank lining to prevent any further deterioration.
Finally, we will provide you with an oily water pump out manifest for your records – this is a requirement for USCG Inspections.
At Protank, we want to keep the process of bilge management simple, cost-effective and stress-free. We understand the importance of keeping on top of your superyacht’s bilges, to keep your vessel in top-quality condition. Don’t leave it too late and neglect your superyacht’s bilge tank – we’re here to keep your superyacht in charter-worthy condition with our comprehensive services for yachts.