The pumping facilities of the modern tankship, together with the increased shore facilities, allow for the loading or discharge at the average rate of 3000 to 5000 barrels of cargo an hour. In some instances, where special equipment is installed for rapid receipt of cargo ashore, as high as 18,000 barrels an hour have been discharged. This requires the crew to be alert at all times, especially in loading, as at this rate a ship's tank fills very rapidly, and if the crew is not careful a spill will occur which may result in heavy penalties, as the Coast Guard and the U. S. Army Engineers are very strict regarding pollution of the harbors. This is especially necessary due to the fire hazard of oil on water, as a barrel of gasoline will cover a wide area on the surface and will burn with an intense flame. On the other hand, black oil coats the piling and understructure of docks and creates a very grave fire hazard. The tanker operators and crews have become so expert and careful, however, that a spill in loading very seldom occurs.
The tanker's bridge is equipped with all the modern aids to safe navigation.
One of the main differences between the operation of the dry cargo ships and oil tankers is the fact that the dry cargo ships have stevedores load and unload their cargoes, while the ship's crew does this on tankers, and the necessity for having the ship's crew, who are familiar with the ship and its valves and pipelines, do this is readily evident when you consider the rapidity with which the
cargo is put aboard.
Usually if more than one commodity is loaded two hoses are used, but on occasion a greater number are used. The hoses through which cargo is loaded or discharged are reinforcedrubber with synthetic rubber lining, and operate at a pressure not to exceed 100 pounds per square inch. Prior to the war the average time that a tanker was in port for either loading or discharging was 36 hours. However, this has been somewhat increased due to war regulations, congestion in the ports, and in some instances convoy delays. Due to this short stay in port, sea watches are not broken while in port and, consequently, port liberty for tanker men
is considerably less than for dry cargo ship crews, which break watch on arrival in port and turn over the cargo handling to stevedores.
As a tanker's operation is ordinarily based upon one leg loaded and the return in ballast, one of the major problems in quick turnaround is the disposal of contaminated ballast. This is somewhat overcome with the use of the high pressure Butterworth System, which uses high pressure hot water pumped through revolving spray nozzles, which are lowered into the cargo tanks for washing them down. If the return voyage is long enough, all of the tanks can be cleaned sufficiently so that the ballast water can be pumped overboard without polluting the harbors, but, in any case, at least leaving the contaminated ballast water confined to one cargo tank. A tanker always tries to eliminate most of its ballast water at sea before reaching port, but, of course, under certain conditions of the weather this is not possible.
Close cooperation between the tanker owners, the governmental agencies, and the crews themselves, has resulted in bringing down the dangers of carrying a very inflammable and highly explosive cargo ( which, strangely enough, is more dangerous when the tanks are empty than when full ) to a position where it is safer to be a member of the crew on a tanker than on a dry cargo vessel.
This is borne out by the records of the National Safety Council during the last three years, where the rates for tankers for severity of accident were 1.83 % as compared with those for cargo ships of 2.03 %; and for frequency - for tankers 17.34 % as against 21.91 % cargo ships. This is an enviable record, and the operators and the terminals where the tankers dock, as well as the tanker crews themselves, deserve a great deal of commendation.
As an incidental sidelight of tanker operations, it might be interesting to note that transportation of oil by tankers is the cheapest method of transporting oil. As a comparison on cost per ton mile basis:
This recapitulated: Truck transporition cost is 3 times that of rail; rail transportation in turn costs more than 3 times that of the pipelines; while the pipeline cost is over 8 times that of tanker water transportation.
Use of Tankers in the War
The United States tanker fleet has been supplying the Allied Forces throughout the world - the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific - and if it weren't for the efficient operation of these vesels it would be impossible to maintain the great fleet of airplanes in all of these theaters, or the motorized transports. Neither would the navies be able to carry out their
far-flung operations. The WSA has announced that the tanker fleet of the U. S. has moved 9.3 million long tons into the various theaters of war during the first 6 months of 1944, as compared with 6.7 million during the first half of 1943. The transportation of such tremendous quantities to ports scatered throughout the world calls for organization and administration of the first order, and has only been achieved by full cooperation and tecamwork between management and labor.
Tankers have not only been used for transporting petroleum products but have been used as floating storage at the very edge of the battle areas. The quick turnaround of the tanker fleet has enabled the great continued operations of our Pacific fleets, which have been able to carry on continuous operations without having to return to their bases. In fact, most all commercial tankers have occasion to fuel other ships, as well as warships, at sea, which is something beyond the usual training of a tanker crew, and, notwithstanding, this has been accomplished with great success.
The tankers have also with the use of light so-called Meccano decks, been able to transport tremendous quantities of airplanes, PT boats, landing craft, trucks and other materiels of war to the various theaters of operation. The magnitude of this cargo can he realized from the statement of Admiral Land in his report to the President regarding the activities of WSA, disclosing that during
1944, in one month alone, 15 million cubic feet of additional dry cargo was carried out of the Port of New York, and that an additional 5 million cubic feet was shipped from the Pacific ports, in addition to the ordinary oil cargoes carried.
At the outset of the war the whole oil industry, which includes the great majority of the tanker owners, by pooling their resources and their personnel, made for a smooth-running operation for supplying both the domestic requirements and the overseas
requirements of the Government and the civilian population. One of the major contributions of the tanker owners to the war effort has been the loaning of their expert personnel as Tanker Expediters, distributed throughout the various ports of the world. The improvement in the turnaround of tankers at these ports abroad, as the result of the aid rendered by these expediters, has played
an important part in the prosecution of the war. When the whole story has been told, after the war is over.
I hope that they will be given the appreciation which they so well merit.
As there are approximately the same number of tankers now as there were before the war, and as they are now being built at a tremendous rate, it is inevitable, when the increased size and speed of the present fleet is taken into consideration, that there will be a great surplus of tanker tonnage. A whole lot will depend upon the policies of the Federal Government as to the disposition of these ships, and as to their return to private ownership, as to what the outlook for the tanker industry will be. However, when it is considered that a number of Swedish concerns have offered large 16,000- to 18,000-ton motor tankers for long-time charter at a rate of $2.10-$2.50 per dwt. per month, and it is realized that it will cost us almost twice this much, with efficient operation, to operate one of our T2's in foreign trade, it will require all the ingenuity and enterprise of the American tanker industry to maintain its present position in oil transportation after the war.
However, if we can have the same united effort between Government, management and labor in the postwar period as we are having during the war, I believe we can surmount our difficulties and keep our place in the world tanker trade.
The efficient steam generators odf tankers are usually governed by automatic combustion ans feed water control as shown here.