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Ships navigation - preparation for departure- Damage to fixed and floating objects- mitigating claims

Oceangoing cargo vessels preparations for departure ports involve many complexities and careful consideration will need to be made for safe unberthing.
Summarized below are some basic check items that need to be complied with. Watch officers should also kept in mind the procedures explained here are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship. Also specific ship will have her own characteristics.

The Master shall announce the estimated time of departure by having the sailing notice board updated soon after berthing. He shall ensure that “Departure Checklist” has been completed and that all items in the checklist have been complied with, prior departing.

Safety station for engine trial on a berth

The Master shall arrange Deck Officers and Deck Ratings at the following stations at Main Engine Trial after ensuring it is safe to do so.
Confirmation for preparation for departure

The Master shall ensure that the vessel is seaworthy in all respects before departing from a port.

When incidents ocurred

Damage to fixed and floating objects usually occur when a vessel is entering or leaving a port. If damage occurs when a vessel is entering a port, the Master should report the incident as soon as possible to owners. If possible, the Master also should contact the local P & I representatives and request them to attend and assist.

If damage occurs when the vessel is leaving a port, the Master should resist any temptation to ignore the incident in the hope that the damage will be minimal and there were no witnesses. Owners should be notified as soon as possible in order that enquiries may be made to ascertain the extent of the damage.


Evidence by the master

In cases of substantial damage, owners and their insurers will appoint expert surveyors to assess the extent of any damage and repairs. In order to assist the surveyors, who may not arrive at the scene immediately, it is essential that the Master assembles as much contemporaneous evidence as possible.

However, the Master should note that it is not only major incidents which require vigilance. Minor contacts with fixed and floating objects can lead to substantial claims by local authorities, unless the owners and their insurers are able to produce contemporaneous evidence from the vessel to refute the allegations and minimise the extent of any claim.

The Master should ensure that the report of the incident which he prepares includes the following information:
  1. The date, time and location of the incident- The information should be as precise as possible, for example, if the vessel comes into contact with a pier, the Master should note the number of the pier.
  2. The conditions prevailing at the time- The Master should note whether it was day or night, the weather conditions, visibility, sea state, the incidence of swell and the state of tides and currents.
  3. Details of the vessel"s manoeuvres- The Master should note whether the vessel was entering or leaving a port or locks, berthing, assisted by tugs, or whether there was a pilot on board the vessel.
  4. Names and addresses of al crew members, pilots, tug crews, shore workers or any other persons who witnessed the incident- If time allows the Master should attempt to obtain from the witnesses their account of the incident.
  5. Details of the damaged object- The Master should note whether the damaged object was old or new, whether it was well used, whether it was well illuminated and marked, whether there were any signs of damage or defects to the object other than that caused by the vessel if possible, the Master should ensure that photographs or sketches of the damage are taken.




Related procedures and rules

The Master and crew shall make preparations for the departure in compliance with the following related procedures in addition to these procedures:
  1. Securing arrangement for cargo ships - Design ,stack weight distribution & Metacentric height (GM)


  2. Procedures for securing for sea


  3. Procedures for Confirming Stability and Hull Strength


  4. Procedures for cargo securing and causes of lashing failure


  5. Procedures for Confirmation of Closure of Openings


  6. Procedure for pilotage


  7. Procedures for Smuggling Prevention


  8. Procedures for Robbery and Stowaway Prevention


  9. Procedures for Navigational Watchkeeping


  10. Measures to prevent drug trafficing


  11. Procedures for GMDSS Communication


  12. Local laws and port regulations ( also CFR, etc.)


  13. Ship Security Plan (SSP)


Related forms

“Departure Checklist”
“Passage Plan”
”Stability and Hull Strength Checklist”
“Stevedore and Cargo Security Statement” (as required)
“Visitor’s Record Book” (control of Visitors’ pass)
“Crew Shore Record Book”
“Ship Search Checklists”
“Stevedore No Injury Report”





More information


Cargo ships checklist for Departure

Deck officers guideline for watchkeeping in port

Passage planning guideline for oceangoing ships


More shipboard operation and safety matters

Safe anchoring - planning and operational guidance for cargo ships

Anchor watch check item - deck officers guideline ....

How to deal with a damaged anchor? ....

How to recover a lost anchor ? ....

What is stranding ? Investigation of possibility of self-refloating and urgency of danger ....

What are the emergency procedures for loss of anchor and chain? ....

In case of damage to anchor and chain when to claim for '' general average"? ....

Ships arrival in ports - check item prior entry

Ships navigation in restricted visibility check items

Rules of ships navigation in restricted visibility

Ships navigation in confined water - matters that require attention

Securing your vessel for sea passage - when to check and what to check

Collecting Information and Data for Passage Planning








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Environmental issues How to prevent marine pollution
Cargo & Ballast Handling Safety Guideline
Reefer cargo handling Troubleshoot and countermeasures
DG cargo handling Procedures & Guidelines
Safety in engine room Standard procedures
Questions from user and feedback Read our knowledgebase
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