When people started use petroleum as a source of energy in 1850s, the big question was:
How we can carry this “black gold” to far places for selling, using?
Engineers answered this questions by making first oil tankers with sails in 1860s. 17 years later, Zoroaster was the first modern tanker that Alfred Nobel’s brothers’ oil company built.
Today we have two groups of oil tankers:
crude oil tankers
They are larger and carry raw oil from wells to refining plants.
product oil tankers
They are smaller and carry petrochemicals to factories and markets.
Oil tankers are very good for companies because they are cheap to use. Oil tankers are great helps for industry and progress of civilizations, but they also have big problems. The biggest problem is environmental and human disasters of tanker accidents.
More About Tankers
Now we know that oil tankers are two big groups, but there are more types of tankers under these big groups with different names and uses:
They carry fuel to ships at sea and refuel them.
Floating Store Houses
Sometimes, if big tankers get too old or too expensive to use, we use them as floating storage units.
New tankers have this design. These ships have two hulls, one inside another for more protection against damage in accidents.
It stands for ore-bulk-oil. These ships, for making more money, can carry oil to a place and, when they return, carry other things ,usually iron ore.
Large Range 1 and Large Range 2 can carry 49,604 and 176,369 tons of oil or oil products.
Very Large Crude Carriers or supertankers can move 176,370 and 352,739 tons of petroleum or petrochemicals.
Ultra Large Crude Carriers are the largest boats on the ocean with the capacity of 352,740 tons and above . They are as big as some largest buildings of the world.
Oil Tanker Accidents & Laws
In 1989, the world biggest tanker accident happened to Exxon’s tanker because of tiredness, environmental reasons and bad decision-making.
The tanker hit the rocks and spilled about 42 million liters of oil into water. Many many birds, sea animals and plants died because of this disaster and there was bad smell in an area as big as 310 square kilometers.
Only one good thing came from this deadly accident and that was better laws, ship designs and standards. One example is the newly designed tankers with double hauls. Nearly all countries are replacing old tankers with safer double hull ones these days.
If tanker accidents can cause lots of damage to the environment, animals and plants, explosions on tankers can kill the crew members on the ships. Even a single spark on and empty tanker can turn the boat into a hell! For this reason big tankers have systems that carry the gas from ships engines to oil tanks, so that there will be no oxygen for the fire to start.
As we read above, oil tankers are getting safer and safer against accidents. But what if some people want to do some harm to the ship or steal it? Yes, I mean pirates!
The oil (product) in a tanker is worth millions of dollars and that’s good for pirates to get control of the ship and the crew and then ask for money or even sell the oil on the black market!
To avoid pirates, there are some important things that crew members on oil tankers must follow while travelling in high-risk waters. Some of them are:
- Move fast! When the ship moves as fast as 27 kilometers per hour or faster, no pirate can attack it successfully.
- Be more careful early in the morning and late at night, because these are the best times for pirates to attack.
- Have emergency plans for the time of attack to escape or keep the criminals away from the tanker.
- Move with other ships and stay in touch with military forces and patrols.
- and if the pirates get control of the ship ,It’s better that crews listen to pirates completely to avoid violence.
Bon Voyage ! 😉