Posted by: Mel Crane | February 15, 2008

Integral fuel tanks (built as a part of the hull) vs tanks that are built separately and bolted in place.

Some designers don’t recommend integral tanks as they are not approved by classification societies. Some other designers indicate a preference for integral tanks on steel vessels with diesel engines. ABYC, ISO and the Canadian Small vessel regulations all allow integral tanks.
From my point of view:

1. Fuel tanks in passagemaking trawlers are large. If not integral they are very difficult to move and would at least require removal of the engine to enable under the tank inspection of the hull interior. With an integral tank inspection ports in the tank would allow visualization of the portion of the tank that is in common with the interior of the hull.

2. With non-integral tanks, the area of contact with the hull is one of the areas most prone to failure of the epoxy coatings and corrosion in a steel vessel.

3. If the contact between the hull and the non-integral fuel tank becomes loose, there is a potential for catastrophe in rough water.

4. Diesel fuel will prevent corrosion on the interior of a steel tank. With proper fuel conditioning water will not be available for deposit on the bottom of the tank to cause corrosion.

5. Integral tanks can be built with larger capacity and greater range than removable tanks.

This is a question where we could all benefit from some input from you.



  1. Integral tanks for diesel fuel are approved for EU Certification.

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