Ships cargo handling at port and watchkeeping procedures involve many complexities and careful consideration will need to be made for all aspects of loading and unloading.
Summarized below are some basic check items that need to be complied. Cargo watchkeepers should also bear in mind the procedures discussed here are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship.
Watchkeeping duties at ports
The duty Deck Officer (OOW) and the crew of the watch shall carry out their duties in compliance with the below procedures:
1. All relevant rules, regulations and laws must be observed at all times
2. The OOW shall observe the weather and report any drastic changes to the Master or the Chief Officer.
In one of the following cases, the OOW shall call the Master :
Excessive wind velocity
If any other abnormal condition has arisen or is expected to arise.
3. Gangway watch and patrols shall be carried out in accordance with the vessels Ship Security Plan. All restricted areas must remain secured or manned.
4. The OOW and the crew of the watch shall periodically monitor the water surrounding the vessel, for marine pollution, especially during de-ballasting and oil transfer operations.
5. While moored at a shore facility, the OOW shall periodically check and tend the gangway and moorings, and take any action necessary to ensure the safe mooring of the vessel, considering local changes in weather and tide, as well as changes in draft due to cargo transfer operations, ballast operations or bunker fuel transfer operations.
6. The vessel must always provide safe access, well illuminated and with a gangway net .
7. In case severe weather is expected, frequency of Mooring checks should be increased, and the possibility of passing extra lines considered. At certain berths, surge caused by passing vessels can cause ropes to part and the deck crew should standby at stations when vessels are scheduled to pass by at close range
8. While at anchor, the OOW shall periodically check the vessels position and immediately notify the Master if dragging suspected. He shall also pay attention to the movement of other vessels in the vicinity and notify Master if any causing concern.
9. Rat guards are to be always in place on mooring ropes while at berth.
10. Deck scuppers are to remain plugged at all times except briefly opened to drain rain water
11. Ballast is not to be overflowed and all DB tanks on containerships must be filled by gravity.
12. Bilges are not to be pumped out
13. The OOW and the crew of the watch shall monitor the emission from the vessels funnel and immediately report any signs of black smoke, soot or sparks to the duty Engineer.
14. Whether at anchor or moored at a shore facility, the OOW shall ensure that all lights, shapes and flags are displayed and sound signals ( at anchor , in fog) used in accordance with the Rules of the Roads (COLREGS).
15. For Tankers and Gas Carriers, the safe operating envelope of the shore arms / connections should be always noted. The deck watch shall initiate Emergency Stop procedure, if the risk of pollution is expected.
16. Prior to taking over the deck watch the relieving officer shall be informed of the following by the OOW as to:
The depth of the water at the berth, the ships draught, tidal data; the securing of the moorings (or anchoring details), the availability of main engine.
All work to be performed on board the ship; the nature, amount and disposition of cargo loaded, discharged or remaining, and any ballast operations
The crew members required to be on board and the visitors on board;
Any other circumstances of importance to the safety of the ship, its crew, cargo or protection of the environment
Any ongoing operations and specific port regulations.
17. The OOW shall immediately notify the Master or the Chief Officer if he has any doubt for whatever reason, whether the relieving Deck Officer is physically or mentally fit for duty.
18. In un-manned machinery operation, the OOW shall carry out arrangements for patrol of the Engine Room
19. The OOW shall make a periodical inspection according to the Check List for Watch in Port.
20. When an incident or accident has occurred onboard resulting in any injury, death or damage, the Master is to be notified.
21. These standing orders may be supplemented by additional orders from the Master and the Chief Officer, if required.
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