5 steps to ensure your vessel tank lining delivers

5 steps to ensure your vessel tank lining delivers

It is important to ensure you are utilising a tank lining suitable for the intended cargo carriage and any other attributes you require. Tank linings are applied on tank internals to offer protection of the tank substrate (most commonly from corrosion), and protect the purity of the cargo. Other attributes a lining can offer are rapid return to service and cargo carrying flexibility.

Once you have selected a suitable tank lining for your vessel how the lining is applied will determine whether the lining delivers the performance and earning potential you are expecting

5 steps to ensure the application quality of your tank lining:

  1. Project Planning Meeting

  2. Choose the relevant application process for the steel tank

  3. Prepare the tank

  4. Surface preparation

  5. Application of the lining

Here are our 5 steps to ensure your tank lining is correctly applied and you can optimize your earning potential.

Step 1: Project Planning Meeting

The Project Planning Meeting should include all stakeholders in the application of the lining, including but not necessarily limited to the contracting company’s project manager, third party inspectors, site HSE officials and the lining manufacturer’s representative.

In the meeting the lining application process should be agreed and documented.  The Standards to be followed in the project should be agreed along with all inspection hold points, who will be present and the measurements (frequency and number) and information that will be recorded throughout the project. The latest revision of the lining’s Application Guidelines is a key document to be reviewed and particular attention should be paid to the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) of the products to be applied to ensure the operators are suitably protected from any potential hazards in the linings products.

Step 2: Choose the relevant application process for the tank

There are numerous procedures for grit-blasting and applying coatings in a cargo tank. The following four procedures represent the most commonly used, but may not be suitable for all linings.  The selection of the appropriate coating procedure will be influenced by:

  • The size (m2 area) of the tank to be coated

  • The prevailing substrate temperatures (in relation to the minimum and maximum overcoating intervals of the lining product(s) being applied)

  • The equipment and manpower the yard/contractor have available

Step 3: Prepare the tank

For new buildings after final tank testing, the tanks must be fresh water washed and dried, especially if they have been in contact with seawater. All grease and oil must be removed from all surfaces and all hot work in the tank must be completed. Furthermore:

  • Heating coils (if fitted) should be masked

  • All cargo lines should be fitted and tested

  • Cargo suction strums (if fitted) should be removed in order to give total access,

When conducting tank repairs, it is important to ensure that the tanks are clean and gas free.

  Other factors to consider:

  • Scale, debris and cargo residues must be removed from the tanks

  • Any damaged lining must be prepared back to a firm edge or completely removed.

  • Any damage to the steel (e.g. pitting) may need to be rectified e.g. by welding and/or grinding.


Step 4: Surface preparation

Again the lining Application Guidelines will stipulate the surface preparation requirements.  Key areas to control include:

  • Surface Profile - measurement on site should be undertaken by profile gauge or other instrument.

  • Surface Cleanliness – the cleanliness Standards ensure that the substrate is clean and ensure a good adhesion of the lining

  • Residual salt - If the surface salt contamination level is above the maximum that is permissible for the particular lining being used, further fresh water washing, blasting and cleaning will be required.

From the start of surface preparation to the final cure of the lining the environment in the tank should be maintained and monitored. Measurements should be taken in a variety of locations in a tank as factors such as the outside conditions may affect the environment in the tank such as direct sunlight on the outside of the tank raising the temperature of localised areas within the tank. Variables to monitor include:

Temperature Control – maximum and minimum air and steel substrate temperatures

Humidity Control – maximum and possibly minimum humidity levels

Ventilation Control – air change frequency and set-up inside the tank to avoid dead spots


Step 5: Apply the coating

The lining should be applied in accordance with the specific Application Guidelines and/or product Technical Datasheet, as provided by the lining product manufacturer.

Stripe coating is an essential part of good painting practices in cargo tanks. Typical areas where stripe coats should be applied include:

  • Backs of stiffeners

  • Cut outs i.e. scallops

  • Welds

  • Areas of difficult access (corners)

  • Ladders and hand rails

For optimum performance of cargo tank linings, close control of film thickness is essential. Over application may result in slow cure and solvent entrapment, whereas under application can lead to a poorly coalesced film and reduction in protection of the steel. Ensure strict adherence to the minimum and maximum thicknesses of both each coat and the overall scheme as stated in the Application Guidelines.

Once dry, the coating film thickness should be measured and rectified in accordance with the specification.  The lining should also be checked for any holidays (non- continuous film) by either water testing or  low voltage (wet-sponge) or high voltage (spark) testing as appropriate for the lining product/scheme applied (the lining manufacturer should be consulted).  Any holidays identified should be addressed.

Some linings require a secondary heated post cure to achieve full cure and this should also be carried out according the manufacturer’s Application Guidelines and monitored to confirm that the required temperature has been achieved for the corresponding full period of cure.

By ensuring that all the above steps have been followed you will greatly increase the chance of successful application of your chosen tank lining and so deliver the performance and earning potential you are expecting

Learn more about the International range of Cargo Tank Coatings.

Contact us if you would like more information or contact our sales representatives in your local area here.

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