FROM NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER SIGONELLA PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Sigonella successfully completed a fuel tank return to service evolution on Jul. 31, an event that occurs about once every 10 years per tank.
The five-day return to service operation for a bulk fuel tank at Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella commenced on Jul. 27 and was led by NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Fuels Officer Lt. Rosanne Witt and her team of 18 Sailors.
Department of Defense fuel tanks undergo a formal inspection program called the American Petroleum Equipment Standard 653 to ensure the integrity of tanks and compliance with all U.S. and host nation environmental standards, and to strive to be good stewards of the environment.
During a fuel tank inspection, a tank is drained so all structural components are visible. A certified tank inspector conducts the inspection and upon completion, the inspector will provide a statement listing necessary repairs. Once the required maintenance is complete, the inspector will certify that a tank is suitable for return to service.
Throughout the inspection and return to service process for the NAS Sigonella bulk fuel tank, Capt. Chris Parker, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella commanding officer, certified that all federally mandated paperwork was thoroughly reviewed and approved all standard operating procedures.
Witt’s team returned the NAS Sigonella bulk tank to full operational service over a five-day period, Jul. 27-31. They filled the tank daily with defined increments of fuel and observed for eight hours. The team also maintained a 24-hour watch bill to observe the tank for any potential leaks.
The Sailors kept vigilance during the procedures and completed the operation successfully despite temperatures higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the evolution, the NAVSUP FLC Sigonella fuel department continued to supply fuel support to aircraft at the facility. Even while experiencing a three-fold increase in normal fuel demand, the team maintained operational support. On average, NAS Sigonella demands about one million U.S. gallons of fuel per month.
In May, NAVSUP Global Logistic Support Commander Rear Adm. James McNeal issued a new fuel tank return to service policy in order to better assess contract work completion and provide another set of eyes to review the return to service operating procedures. This policy requires commanding officers are involved in the process and ensures that operations are carried out safely with minimal risks to personnel and the environment.