Wall Wash and Tank Clean in Virtual Reality

August 1, 2019 10:21 am

Each vessel type has its own particular challenges and vital issues to deal with. Chemical tankers are perhaps unique when it comes to the potential dangers of cargoes following each other, and so the tank cleaning and testing which follows each discharge is one of the most important aspects for the crew onboard.

ABOUT THE NEXT CARGO

The primary focus of tank cleaning and wall wash tests is the next cargo. The tank has to be ready to receive and must be kept in a safe condition while doing so. Chemicals are volatile, and the carriage of the previous load can massively impact the next if the right processes are not followed.

In preparing tanks, it is vital to have an understanding of how cargoes behave and/or react with the various coating types. So, there are three key pieces of information needed: the last cargo, the tank coating material and the next cargo.

This allows crew to build a picture of how cargo is likely to have been absorbed into or adsorbed onto the surface. Meaning it will behave differently when it reacts with different cargo. Knowing this will allow the right, effective and time appropriate manner for cleaning, preparation and testing.

It is a complex operation to ensure that tanks are ready to receive their next cargo, and it is a vital part of the safe operation of chemical tankers. So, crew need to be skilled, knowledgeable and practiced in the art and science of ensuring their ship can safely load and carry.

ALL IN THE PREPARATION

All tank cleaning procedures are basically a logical sequence of events that will ultimately allow any vessel to change from one grade of cargo to another. Each step cleans and prepares, maintains safety and then allows testing and confirmation.

Now of course, with so many different cargo types, the precise nature of the cleaning process can be very different. This is specifically determined by the chemical and

physical properties of the cargo being cleaned from, the type of lining inside the cargo tanks, the size and dimension of the cargo tanks and the pre-loading specifications of the next nominated cargo.

No part of the chemical tank washing cycle can be considered in isolation, the whole process is about the flow and all parts need to be considered, as they are equally vital.

Explosions can happen, and not only does the process have to be completed properly with little room for error. The process also means there can be a delay inerting tanks, and this increases the danger of ignition or explosion.

TESTING IS VITAL

When the tanks are cleaned, then it is about testing and analysis. Looking clean isn’t enough when we are looking at potential chemical reactions, and serious safety considerations and potential risks.

The effectiveness of tank cleaning operations is assessed by wall-wash inspection, which involves applying solvent to selected areas of the tank. The solvent is allowed to run down the surface and is collected into a clean bottle using a truncated funnel.

The sample is then analysed, and a range of results are tested. These range from the colour of the sample, a check for suspended matter in the test tube. While there are also tests for hydrocarbons, impurities, non-volatile matter and chloride.

A poorly taken wall wash sample can cause serious problems. Not just from a safety perspective, but they can also lead to claims and costs as a vessel can be rejected and tanks have to cleaned again. It is important therefore to get the basics right, and wall- wash equipment should be chemically clean. It is vital to avoid contamination by contact with skin, clothing and sweat.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a great way to safely and effectively engage with seafarers. VR training gives the ability to immerse seafarers in dangerous situations without putting them in harm’s way and allows complex tasks to be tried and tested again and again.

PRACTICE AND LEARNING

Knowledge is key when it comes to chemical tank preparation, but so too is practice in cleaning and testing techniques. Obviously with safety concerns paramount, it means that all too often crew are not able to fully learn or test their skills. Which is where virtual reality can make all the difference.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a great way to safely and effectively engage with seafarers. VR training gives the ability to immerse seafarers in dangerous situations without putting them in harm’s way and allows complex tasks to be tried and tested again and again.

Crew members don’t need to worry about making mistakes or trying out new techniques, because they are learning in a safe environment. This kind of training is ideal for tasks such as tank cleaning and wash wall tests, as VR allows seafarers to perform under pressure, but without the risks of things going wrong.

There can be no chances taken when it comes to the cleaning, preparation and testing of chemical tanks. So here at Videotel we are extremely pleased to be able to take the risks of training away, while ensuring that crews are trained and tested thoroughly.