When i was a young Chief officer , I was on a ship with boiler flue INERT GAS , in 1980. In those days, none of the tankers had inert gas.
You may be surprised to know, that my first VLCC with IG was in 1976. My friends visited the ship from other tankers and were very surprised to see a funny looking thing on deck called deck seal and IG plant room.
As late as 1975, My ship a OBO used to load at Kharg Island ( Iran ) and Rastanura ( Saudi Arabia ) with a tape with wooden bob for ullaging. Topping up used to be with a T stick. Walkie talkies were NOT intrinsically safe. There were NO oxygen analysers and explosimeters.
So, the IG tank entry valves used to be Key Stone valves, which was basically a butterfly valve, operated by a lever, using a smooth 90 degree turn. There was NO spring loaded locking in click groove. This means that if the valve flap came under IG pressure, it would open by itself.
In 1983, as a young Master, I wrote to certain important organisations, that the IG tank entry valves , must have a SPRING LOADED LOCKING ARRANGEMENT both in fully open and fully shut position, to avoid accidental opening by gas pressure.
And I recommended that the swing type Key Stone valves must be replaced by a screw type butterfly valve, which can never be opened by gas pressure on the valve flap.
Till then we had a locking arrangement retro installed , which could only be opened by a T shaped key, basically a spanner with socket, which we hung on the CCR bulkhead - tagged as the IG tank valve key.
The STUPID powers that be in IMO and OCIMF had taken this on the literal meaning. This means, if a form had to be filled in CAPITAL letters or upper case letters, these jokers would take a flight to the capital city of their country, to fill it up.
Now , let me jump fast forward to 2007.
--after delivery of a brand new chemical tankers, built to Euro standards , with epoxy and zinc tanks, also designed for Crude oil and COW, we had to do 3 oil major vetting inspections. My European Chief officer was an Annex 1 man ,and it was his first Annex 2 ship. On his own he got 24 numbers padlocks fitted on all IG tank entry butterfly valve wheels with steel link chains. The 24 keys were kept in CCR.
When i say 24 nos strange keys hanging on the CCR bulkhead , I asked him " why have you LOCKED all IG valves with padlock and key? It is dangerous to do that "
He said " For the Oil Major Vetting , we require this or it will become a deficiency!"
I said " But we already have a locking arrangement with a orifice and a spring loaded pin, in addition to these valves being rotary NOT swing , why do we need to lock it ? Remove it!"
So my Chief officer removed all the padlocks-- all the time telling me ( he told me 4 times ) that it would be a deficiency, and that he has previous experience .
So , within a week I had an experienced and aged European nationality Vetting inspector for the No 1 Oil major of this planet , on board for the Vetting inspection.
To my surprise, he put down a deficiency ( there were only 3 total )-- IG TANK ENTRY INLET VALVES ARE NOT LOCKED , TO PREVENT UNAUTHORISED OPENING, --VIDE RULE SECTION NUMBER BLAH BLAH.
My red faced Chief officer smiled at me , in vindication-- as a sort of silent " I told you so!".
I felt like a piece of s#it !!
There was NO way I could convince the STUPID vetting inspector, that locking with padlock and key is dangerous during cargo work at a Annex 1 or Annex 2 Terminal, in dim light at night or rain or snow .
There was NO way i could convince this A$$HOLE, that the IG inlet gas butterfly valves are worm spindle rotary valves, exactly like the liquid ones at the manifold.
There was NO way I could convince this IDIOT that the manifold liquid valves are subject to liquid hammer at 1000 times more pressure , than on a gas IG line , even then it is NOT required to lock these manifold valves.
There was NO way I could convince this MORON , that during cargo work on a tanker at an oil terminal there are NO unauthorised people like ship chandler or telephone card lady or barber , who will merrily go around opening valves , far away and below the catwalk like swinging monkeys.
There was NO way i could convince this NOT TOO BRIGHT inspector, that locking is NOT to prevent deliberate sabotage.
There was NO way i could convince him that Annex 2 men do NOT make tank entry for squeegeing or repairs , unless the IG pipeline spool is removed and blanked with 2 blanks --we do NOT trust valves or 2 valves or 3 valves in line, with Nitrogen plant.( as per enclosed spaced entry checklist )
Why should a saboteur deliberately turn only gas valves and give liquid valves step motherly treatment .
Cant a OOW turn a wrong liquid tank valve in CCR by inadvertent mistake?
I am NOT gonna say, how we got rid of this observation-- or if we got rid of this observation at all.
We deserve these oil major Vetting inspectors , who think that they are gold medallists in a technical cum IQ exam, in which we sailors all got zero marks - and were banished to sea enmasse as a divine retribution !!
spread this around--
CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL ( 28 YEARS IN COMMAND )