Greetings and salutations, Anna again. Thursday was a busy day for me, not only did I visit the tank farm, I was also lucky to visit the Airport Depot and observe the refueling of airplanes as well as the bunkering of vessels, two activities that contribute a lot of revenue to SEYPEC.
7 sharp, I was at the airport entrance, with the view of the three tanks of the Airport Depot. They contain Jet A1 at the capacity of 4637 CBM. Mr. Basil Scholastique, Airport Deport Manager, brought us; armed with safety helmets and earplugs to view the refueling of Emirates Boeing 777 200LA on a specialised truck, which has an elevated deck that allows the pipe and the operative to reach the plane’s wing where the fuel storage tank is. The truck actually filters Jet A1 before it reaches the airplane fuel tank, as well as takes a sample of the product while it is being uplifted for the visual check, which ensures that Jet A1 is bright and clear from solid contaminants, and a water check to ensure that it is free of water. Water’s presence in Jet A1 is very dangerous as water would freeze in high altitude and could potentially block the pipes and engine. Product from the vehicle’s slop tank goes through a standard quality check and is transferred to the recovery where it is filtered and then transferred back into the storage tanks. The truck also has a meter to monitor the supplies given, so it is similar to a moving service station. Equipped with two fire extinguishers, a yellow wire for earthing (to prevent the creation of static from the high flow rate of about 2600l per minute which can cause sparks) and lanyards to ensure minimum incidents could be caused.
Passing underneath the plane (which was pretty cool), we were off to get a tour of the Airport Depot. First sight that piqued my interest was the multitude of silver pipes labeled receipt and service that were inter-connected. Mr. Scholastique explained this was another set of filters, and that the product is filtered four times in total – flowing from Victoria to the Airport Depot, entering and exiting the storage tanks as well as from the trucks to the airplane fuel tank. Passing by the slop tanks (fuel that has been contaminated with water) we head on to the workshop where mechanics checkup on the trucks. Don’t worry; the slop as I have been told is sent back to Victoria terminal where it is re-used by downgrading it to another fuel grade (i.e. fuel oil). The last site we visited was the source of the 8km pipeline from Victoria to the Airport, and when asked about the maintenance of the pipeline, I’ve learnt that rust is prevented by cathodic protection. Overall, a great insight to the functions of the airport depot as a science geek it’s refreshing to hear scientific concepts applied in real life.
In the afternoon, I went to go view bunkering, the process of transferring fuel into vessels, which was done obviously on the port. The process is quite simple, the operatives connect one end of the pipe to a bunkering point then connect the other end to the fuel tank onboard the vessel, which you can see on the pics below.