Every compartment capable of carrying water should be carefully inspected and sounded, allowing
Sufficient time for fluctuations in levels due to the removal of the sounding caps. When at an exposed berth the movement of the vessel may create errors. To overcome this problem several soundings should be taken and the average value assumed to be the correct one. The sounding tape must be checked that it reaches the bottom of the tank. If the tape is marked at the ship’s full depth it can act as useful guide and the consistency of the depth of the different tanks are be checked. It should be remembered that the vertical tank height at the length of sounding pipe may be different. Full tanks may have air pockets especially when the ship is trimmed. Topside tanks can be overflowed from forward and aft air pipes until steady flow through both is unmistakable, the sounding pipe extension may prove useful for this operation. However care should be taken ensure that the overflowing ballast water causes no other problems for wetting of cargo waiting to be loaded, soaking the electric power boxes or the quashed or washing debris or other pollutants over the side. For a stern trim the position of the forward air pipe relative to the forward tank bulkhead should be checked to determine any possible remaining void spaces and where necessary this factor should still be allowed. Other full tanks should be sounded and the trim correction allowed. The ballast discharged from tanks may leave residual liquid in pipes and in areas of poor drainage. THIS WATER IS DIFFICULT TO DETECT AND TIME SHOULD BE ALLOWED FOR DRAINAGE PURPOSES BEFORE TAKING SOUNDINGS. Empty tanks will probably have residual water even at zero soundings these indeterminable quantities can be ignored at both before and after surveys, provided that all parties are satisfied that no changes have taken place during the interval between surveys. In other circumstances it may be necessary to assume a small percentage (1% or 2%) of the tanks total capacity as additional weight to cover all remaining draining. If the ballast soundings are outside the maximum range of the calibration tables then ballast should be run out until the level is suitable. The duct keel, pipe tunnels, peak tanks and swimming pool should not be forgotten and soundings taken as usual. The bilges should be checked and any pumped out during the ship’s stay must be recorded. When a vessel loads a dry bulk cargo, which has been wetted, a record of bilge’s pumped during the whole voyage could prove very useful as evidence, to explain any apparent loss of cargo between successive surveys. Ballast holds often cause problems due to poor tank calibrations and hull deformation. These should be empty of ballast prior to arrival at the loading port and visually inspected if possible. Bunker tanks need note be inspected and sounded during a draught survey, unless a bunker survey is also required.
The water within the sounding pipe may not be properly mixed and therefore not be representative of the liquid in the whole tank, if in doubt the sample should be taken at the bottom of the pipe using a suitable sampling can which can be opened at the appropriate depth. Sufficient sample densities can be obtained from the tanks down one side of the ship only, unless major variations occur. Variations could be caused by the ballasting, taking place at different times and location. The ballast tank dipper or hand pump down the sounding pipe may be used to obtain a sample where the water is well mixed. The sample jar should be rinsed out with the first sample and then the Zeal hydrometer used to obtain the apparent density of the water, as with the seawater density, a temperature correction is not necessary. A ballast hold should be sampled at different levels with the water sample bucket and checked for any major variations. The measurement of density, the hydrometer to use and the readings obtained can cause problems, the density sections should be read carefully to avoid these problems.