It really feels good to be back writing articles on this blog again after about 5 months. It has been a busy period as I had to handle a site analysis and site set up job for reclamation work somewhere in the southern part of Nigeria. Also, a difficult decision making period too as I was also offered a job contract by a Qatari dredging firm based in Qatar, but due to some personal reasons, I was unable to honour that particular contract. I hope we can still work together sometime in the future.

With that out of the way, let's go to the business of the day.
  • Are you spending more than you should on diesel for your equipment?
  • Do you suspect any shady dealings with regards to the diesel consumption level of your equipment?
If yes, then going through this questions and some answers I put together with my experience as a dredge engineer on board dredgers and as site and project supervisor some years back will help you arrive at a certain solution to your diesel consumption issues.

I can categorically say that in this industry, we have two causes of high rate of diesel consumption. They are; 

  1. Mechanical factors/causes  
  2. The human factors/causes.

When yours is as a result of the mechanical factors, then you are on the safe side for it is quite easy to solve or rectify the issue. The human factors are the diciest, complicated and most painful. I will talk on it extensively in the next post.

The Mechanical Factors/Causes

a) How many engines are mounted onboard your dredger and how many are simultaneously working?

Some dredgers have more than one engine, which is the auxiliary and main engines, others even have more than one main engine.
In most dredgers, the auxiliary engine serves for the controls and lightings while the main engines are for sand pumping. They work simultaneously thus consuming more diesel.
Some dredgers come with automatic diesel consumption gauges but you have to understand the physics and the working principles of the dredger to be able to interpret it into litres or gallons. If not, you are on your own. While for those that do not have gauges, there are ways to accurately determine the consumption rate manually irrespective of the number of engines simultaneously in use. You can contract a dredge consultant to help you with this.

b) How accurate is your tank and diesel sounding stick calibration?

It is important to have your tank properly calibrated so as to ascertain the actual capacity of your tank. In case you do not have the dredge manual or if the measurement is not been stated therein, a certified diesel sounding stick corresponding to this measurement should be produced.

Most diesel suppliers are so greedy that they look for every opportunity to cheat and supply you with incomplete diesel, sometimes to the tune of thousands of litres and they sell it to other buyers which amount to extra profit for them to your detriment.

When your tank is properly calibrated with a corresponding diesel sounding stick, you care less about whatever their haulage tank metre reads but pay more attention to what you receive in your tank as that will give you the exact quantity of diesel supplied. Just as there are filling stations with bad (manipulated) fuel pumps so it is with the haulage trucks.

It will surprise you to know that sometimes these diesel suppliers haulage tank metre reads 20,000 litres supplied whereas the actual quantity supplied will be about 17,000 litres. That is a shortage of about 0.15 litre per litre amounting to 3,000 litres.

Note, make sure you measure what you have left in your tank before the supply and show the measurement to the supplier for transparency and accuracy on your part. After the supply, take the measurement again, subtract the initial balance from the current quantity to determine what was supplied. That is, if you are to be supplied 20,000 litres of diesel, and you have had 3,000 litres left in the tank before supply. After the 20,000 litres must have been bunkered, you should both measure it to see that you now have 23,000 litres if their metre is correct and diesel complete.


The current supply of diesel= Total qty of diesel in the tank - the initial balance of diesel before supply.

c) Are there any leakages in the fuel line( supply and return hoses) of the dredger?

If there is a leakage in the supply hose of the fuel line, the engine will not function properly as it will keep going off when engaged and in some cases will not start because it sucks air thereby cutting the fuel supply to the nozzles. So leakage in the supply hose in the fuel line does not lead to high diesel consumption rate.
Consequently, when there is a considerable amount of leakage in the return hose of the fuel line, the diesel consumption rate becomes very high because the unused diesel that was supplied to the engine which is meant to return to the tank via the return hose leaked away maybe into the engine room or on the deck and into the river, lake or sea as the case may be.
The engineer should always make sure that all hoses are checked and properly tightened as some loose due to vibration.

d) What distance is the equipment pumping?

The line configuration of the discharge pipes can either save you cost or put a hole in your pocket. When the line configuration of your discharge pipe is not done properly, it becomes too long and makes the engine discharge with a higher RPM(engine speed) and in turn consumes more fuel because the quantity of fuel consumed is directly proportional to the engine RPM (speed). That is the higher the RPM the higher the quantity of diesel consumed.

I will talk further on the human factors in my next post. For more information or any question contact the dredge consultant on or


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