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Rollover effects onboard a liquefied gas carrier

Rollover is a spontaneous rapid mixing process which occurs in large tanks as a result of a density inversion, stratification develops when the liquid layer adjacent to a liquid surface becomes more dense than the layers beneath, due to boil-off of lighter fractions from the cargo. This obviously unstable situation relieves itself with a sudden mixing, which the name rollover aptly describes. Liquid hydrocarbons are most prone to rollover, especially cryogenic liquids. LNG is the most likely by virtue of the impurities it contains, and the extreme conditions of temperature under which it is stored, close to the saturation temperatures at storage pressures.

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Gas products If the cargo is stored for any length of time and the boil-off is removed, evaporation can cause a slight increase in density and a reduction of temperature near the surface. The liquid at the top of the tank is therefore marginally heavier than the liquid in the lower levels. Once stratification has developed rollover can occur. No external intervention such as vibration, stirring or introducing new liquid is required to initiate rollover. The response to a small temperature difference within the liquid (which will inevitable occur in the shipboard environment) is sufficient to provide the kinetic energy to start rollover, and release the gravitational driving forces which will invert the tank contents. The inversion will be accompanied by violent evolution of large quantities of vapour and a very real risk of tank overpressure. Rollover has been experienced ashore, and may happen on a ship that has been anchored for some time. If such circumstances are foreseen the tank contents should be circulated daily by the cargo pumps to prevent rollover occurring. Safety awareness Rollover can occur if similar or compatible cargoes of different densities are put in the same tank. For example, if tank pressure is maintained by boil-off reliquefaction, the condensate return may be of slightly different temperature (and hence density) from the bulk liquid, and likewise if condensate from two or more cargoes is returned to one tank. In such circumstances, rollover may be prevented by returning condensate that is less dense thank the bulk liquid to the top of the tank, and condensate that is denser to the bottom of the tank. Rollover may also occur when two part cargoes are loaded into the same tank (e.g. propane and butane). In this case there will be a large boil-off (up to 3% of the total liquid volume) due to the temperature difference between the two. For this reason, the practice is considered unsafe unless a thorough thermodynamic analysis of the process is undertaken, and the loading takes place under strictly controlled conditions.

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Rollover in a ship on passage is most unlikely. Essentially, stratification and the subsequent rollover process are confined to shore LNG storage. However, if the use of LNG carriers for floating storage were to be introduced, personnel manning such vessels would need to be as aware of the problem and as vigilant to avoid rollover as their counterparts managing shore based storage.

after Ammon Cargoes

Preparation fo Cargo Transfe

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External links :

1. International maritime organization

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