RECALLING Article 15(j) of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization
concerning the functions of the Assembly in relation to regulations and guidelines concerning
NOTING that the Maritime Safety Committee adopted a recommendation in the danger of the
use of low flashpoint cargo oil as fuel (MSC/Circ.347),
NOTING ALSO that this practice contradictory to regulation II-2/15.1 of the International
Convention for the Safety of Life as Sea, 1974, as amended,
RECOGNIZING the urgent need for such practice, whether illegal of accidental, to be
HAVING CONSIDERED the recommendation made by the Maritime Safety Committee at its
1. ADOPTS the Recommended Procedures to Prevent the Illegal or Accidental Use of Low
Flashpoint Cargo oil as Fuel, the text of which is sit out in the Annex to the present resolution;
2. REQUEST all Governments concerned to bring the Recommended Procedures to the notice of
shipowners and seafarers, as well as to surveyors and control officers concerned.
1 For some time an irregular and unsafe practice has existed whereby low flashpoint cargo oil has
been transferred to bunker systems where it was used as fuel. This is a serious source of danger to
ships and persons both at sea and in port and also to shore installations.
2 In some known cases, this transfer had been carried out by means of cross connection made
between the cargo and bunker piping systems.
3 In this connection it should be noted that a casualty occurred aboard a tanker where crude oil
leaked from a cargo tank into an adjacent bunker tank. The crude oil was then transferred together
with the fuel oil into a heavy day tank and subsequently into a double bottom tank. As the tank
was under repair the flame of an oxyacetylene torch being used for repair work ignited the
hydrocarbon vapours which had escaped into the machinery space.
4 Member Governments should take note of the possibility of either deliberate or accidental
contamination of the bunkers by oil cargo with the consequential risk to persons, ships and shore
5 The Guidelines on Surveys Required by the 1978 SOLAS Protocol, the International Bulk
Chemical Code and the International Gas Carrier Code (resolution A.560(14)) require the
examination of cargo and bunker piping systems (paragraph 184.108.40.206.4). Member Governments are
urged to instruct their nominated surveyors or recognized organizations to give special attention
during surveys to the possibility of cross connections being made between the cargo and bunker
6 Member Governments are also urged to advise shipowners and crew members of the need to
carry out routine checks on the flammability of bunker spaces and to further advise shipowners and
ship repairers that such a check should always be carried out before any "hot-work" is started in the
region of bunker spaces.
7 Random sampling of bunker will act as a deterrent against the deliberate use of crude oil cargo
to supplement the fuel oil. Member Governments are urged to incorporate this into their survey
procedures under the 1978 SOLAS Protocol (resolution A.560(14)). Additionally, wherever there
are clear grounds to believe (due to the odour or hydrocarbon vapours in the machinery space,
irregularities in the cargo or bunker pipework or otherwise) that a ship may be using cargo oil as
fuel, consignees, cargo officers, surveyors or inspectors should test the percentage of the lower
flammable limit of the vapour in the bunker or bunker tanks by the use of an appropriate
combustible gas indicator. If the percentage of the lower flammable limit is above 50, a sample
should be taken of the liquid contents of the bunker tank and analysed by a laboratory recognized
by the Administration of the flag State or port State concerned to ascertain the flashpoint using the
closed cup method.
8 If the flashpoint is below 60°C, except when authorized under regulation II-2/15 of the 1974
SOLAS Convention as amended, the flag State Administration should be notified and cargo
operations and / or bunkering stopped. In consultation with parties concerned (master, port
services and ship inspectorate, consignee, shipowner, classification society as appropriate, etc.) a
plan for measures to be taken is to be drawn up with the objective of removing the contaminated
fuel, washing and gas-freeing the tanks and associated piping.