RNLI – Fuel Tank & Pipeline Maintenance

Since 2018, Merkland Tank – working on behalf of the RNLI Coastal Maintenance Team – have been responsible for the annual servicing of fuel tanks at 24 of the RNLI’s Scottish lifeboat stations.

The works, covering annual servicing of the fuel tanks and dispensing equipment, as well as pressure testing of underground fuel lines, play a crucial role in ensuring the stations operate effectively, at all times.

The initial 2-year contract saw Merkland Tank carry out on-site fuel tank servicing from Aith in Shetland, to Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway – and another 22 stations in between.

The tanks range from 10,000 litre horizontal, cylindrical steel bunded tanks, to bespoke 2,000 litre rectangular steel tanks. The bespoke tanks are housed in tank chambers within the station building, alongside purpose-built electric driven hose reels (with up to 40m hose), which allow safe refuelling of RNLI vessels.

Our team of highly experienced engineers attended each site to carry out a thorough service on the tank and associated equipment, and complete any remedial works required. Detailed written reports were provided by site, which included fuel tank samples and pressure pipeline testing results.

Effectively managing the logistics of visiting 24 sites across the length and breadth of Scotland, took some planning – particularly given a number of sites could only be reached by ferry and so, were subject to rough weather disruptions and cancellations.

Additional travel and site planning was also required due to the COVID pandemic, as it was essential we prioritised the safety and wellbeing of our own team and the RNLI staff.

In March 2021, Merkland Tank were successful in retaining the servicing contract for a further two years.

Founded in 1824, the RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Every day of every year, people of all backgrounds get into danger in the water. The charity, powered primarily by donations and with 95% of the organisation being volunteers, aims to end preventable drowning through youth education and water safety work.

Their 24/7 search and rescue lifeboat service operates a fleet of over 400 lifeboats from 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, while the seasonal lifeguard teams look after people on busy beaches.

To date, RNLI crews and lifeguards have saved over 143,000 lives.

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