Fuel tank cleanse

The one part of Anne Marie that we have not really touched has been in the starboard main cabin with the fuel tank underneath.

The fuel tank gauge is hidden away beneath the lockers- under the floor! A useless place. I decided to buy new senders and gauges for both water and fuel tanks.

Problem one was getting the existing ones out as the sender is bolted down through a cover plate. You therefore have to remove the cover plate to get to the sender unit. Such a bad design although nowadays you can get screw-in ones.

We found a rotten and corroded sender unit and sludge. This was a BAD SIGN. The tank had lots of fuel but also water and sludge. Worse was evidence of diesel bug which is caused by Bacteria growing on the fuel/water interface. Diesel bug has become a serious problem with biodiesel as the vegetable oil that is added to all diesel nowadays creates the ideal medium for growth.

Garages store diesel in massive tanks and the bug can grow and be sold to motorists. Expensive to treat and a major fag to treat.

Putting this through my engine would not have done engine or filters any good in fact it would be a disaster. So only thing to do was clean tank out and get rid of it the fuel.

I bought a 45 gallon (204 litres) drum to empty everything into and got going. This was not big enough. I needed almost 300 litres of containers in the end. Do you know how much it would cost to fill the tank with 300litres of diesel at £1.35 a litre?

The tank then got scraped, wiped, rinsed and sprayed with biocides (a bit like changing a babies nappy/diaper) and is now ready for replacing the covers and sender unit.

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Anne Marie (aka Mike Stephens)

I am a well traveled, globe-trotting vessel with great lines. I am told I give a comfortable ride for my years. Although a little worn out I am looking forward to getting back onto the water after a full service.

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