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Bulk liquid cargo handling - Ship to shore safety checklist

Oil tanker at sea

Ship - shore bulk liquid cargo transfer operation involved numerous hazards and careful consideration will need to be made for safe planning and execution.

We summarized here some basic check points for safe handling. These procedures are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship


Physical Checks Prior Operation

1. There is safe access between the ship and shore.

2. The ship is securely moored.

3. The agreed ship/ shore communication system is operative.

4. Emergency towing-off pennants are correctly rigged and positioned

5. The ship’s fire hoses and fire- fighting equipment are positioned and ready for immediate use.

6. The terminal’s fire-fighting equipment is positioned and ready for immediate use.

7. The ship’s cargo and bunker hoses, pipelines and manifolds are in good condition, properly rigged and appropriate for the service intended.

8. The terminal’s cargo and bunker hoses or arms are in good condition, properly rigged and appropriate for the service intended.

9. The cargo transfer system is sufficiently isolated and drained to allow safe removal of blank flanges prior to connection.

10. Scuppers and save-alls on board are effectively plugged and drip trays are in position and empty

11. Temporarily removed scuppers plugs will be constantly monitored.

12. Shore spill containment and sumps are correctly managed.



13. The ship’s unused cargo and bunker connections are properly secured with blank flanges fully bolted.

14. The terminal's unused cargo and bunker connections are properly secured with blank flanges fully bolted

15. All cargo, ballast and bunker tank lids are closed.

16. Sea and overboard discharge valves, when not in use, are closed and visibly secured.

17. All external doors, ports and windows in the accommodation, stores and machinery spaces are closed. Engine room vents may be open.

18. The ship’s emergency fire control plans are located externally.



If the ship is fitted, or is required to be fitted, with an inert gas system (IGS), the following points should be physically checked:

19. Fixed IGS pressure and oxygen content recorders are working.

20. All cargo tank atmospheres are at positive pressure with oxygen content of 8% or less by volume.



Handling Bulk Liquid Cargo - Verbal Verification

21. The ship is ready to move under its own power.

22. There is an effective deck watch in attendance on board and adequate supervision of operations on the ship and in the terminal.

23. There are sufficient personnel on board and ashore to deal with an emergency.

24. The procedures for cargo, bunker and ballast handling have been agreed.

25. The emergency signal and shutdown procedure to be used by the ship and shore have been explained and understood.

26. Material Safety Data Sheets ( MSDS) for the cargo transfer have been exchanged where requested.

27. The hazards associated with toxic substances in the cargo being handled have been identified and understood.

28. An International Shore Fire Connection has been provided.

29. The agreed tank venting system will be used.

30. The requirements for closed operations have been agreed.

31. The operation of the P/V system has been verified.

32. Where a vapour return line is connected, operating parameters have been agreed.

33. Independent high level alarms, if fitted, are operational and have been tested.

34. Adequate electrical insulating means are in place in the ship/ shore connection.

35. Shore lines are fitted with a non- return valve, or procedures to avoid back filling have been discussed.

36. Smoking rooms have been identified and smoking requirements are being observed.

37. Naked light regulations are being observed.

38. Ship/ shore telephones, mobile phones and pager requirements are being observed.

39. Hand torches (flashlights) are of an approved type.

40. Fixed VHF/UHF transceivers and AIS equipment are on the correct power mode or switched off.

41. Portable VHF/UHF transceiver are of an approved type.

42. The ship’s main and other radio transmitter aerials are earthed and radars are switched off.

43. Electric cables to portable electrical equipment within the hazardous area are disconnected from power.

44. Windows type air conditioning units are disconnected.

45. Positive pressure is being maintained inside the accommodation, and air conditioning intakes, which may permit the entry of cargo vapours, are closed.

46. Measures have been taken to ensure sufficient mechanical ventilation in the pumproom.

47. There is provision for an emergency escape.

48. The maximum wind and swell criteria for operations have been agreed.

49. Security protocols have been agreed between the Ship Security Officer and the Port Facility Security Officer, if appropriate.

50. Where appropriate, procedures have been agreed for receiving nitrogen supplied from shore, either for inerting or purging ship’s tanks, or for line clearing into the ship.



If the ship is fitted, or is required to be fitted, with an inert gas system (IGS) the following statements should be addressed:

51. The IGS is fully operational and in good working order.

52. Deck seals, or equivalent, are in good working order.

53. Liquid levels in pressure/ vacuum breakers are correct.

54. The fixed and portable oxygen analyzers have been calibrated and are working properly.

55. All the individual tank IG valves ( if fitted) are correctly set and locked.

56. All personnel in charge of cargo operations are aware that, in the case of failure of the inert gas plant, discharge operations should cease and the terminal be advised.

56. All personnel incharge of cargo operations aer aware that, in case of failure of the inert gas plant, discharge operations should cease and the terminal be advised.



If the ship is fitted with a Crude Oil Washing (COW) system, and intends to crude oil wash, the following statements should be addressed:

57. The Pre-Arrival COW check-list, as contained in the approved COW manual, has been satisfactorily completed.

58. The COW check-lists for use before, during and after COW, as contained in the approved COW manual, are available and being used.



If the ship is planning to tank clean alongside, the following statements should be addressed:

59. Tank cleaning operations are planned during the ship’s stay alongside the shore installation.

60. If ‘yes’, the procedures and approvals for tank cleaning have been agreed.

61. Permission has been granted for gas freeing operations.



Bulk Liquid Chemicals- Verbal Verification

• Material Safety Data Sheets are available giving the necessary data for the safe handling of the cargo

• A manufacturer’s inhibition certificate, where applicable, has been provided.

• Sufficient protective clothing and equipment (including self-contained breathing apparatus) is ready for immediate use and is suitable for the product being handled.

• Countermeasures against accidental personal contact with the cargo have been agreed.

• The cargo handling rate is compatible with the automatic shutdown system, if in use.

• Cargo system gauges and alarms are correctly set and in good order.

• Portable vapour detection instruments are readily available for the products being handled.

• Information on fire-fighting media and procedures has been exchanged.

• Transfer hoses are of suitable material, resistant to the action of the products being handled.

• Cargo handling is being performed with the permanent installed pipeline system.

• Where appropriate, procedures have been agreed for receiving nitrogen supplied from shore, either for inerting or purging ship’s tanks, or for line clearing into the ship.



Bulk Liquefied Gases – Verbal Verification

• Material Safety Data Sheets are available giving the necessary data for the safe handling of the cargo.

• A manufacturer’s inhibition certificate, where applicable, has been provided.

• The water spray system is ready for immediate use.

• There is sufficient suitable protective equipment (including self-contained breathing apparatus) and protective clothing ready for immediate use.

• Hold and inter-barrier spaces are properly inerted or filled with dry air, as required.

• All remote control valves are in working order.

• The required cargo pumps and compressors are in good order, and the maximum working pressures have been agreed between ship and shore.

• Re-liquefaction or boil-off control equipment is in good order.

• The gas detection equipment has been properly set for the cargo, is calibrated, has been tested and inspected and is in good order.

• Cargo system gauges and alarms are correctly set and in good order.

• Emergency shutdown systems have been tested and are working properly.

• Ship and shore have informed each other of the closing rate of ESD valves, automatic valves or similar devices.

• Information has been exchanged between ship and shore on the maximum/minimum temperatures/ pressures of the cargo to be handled.

• Cargo tanks are protected against inadvertent overfilling at all times while any cargo operations are in progress.

• The compressor room is properly ventilated, the electrical motor room is properly pressurized and the alarm system is working.

• Cargo tank relief valves are set correctly and actual relief valve settings are clearly and visibly displayed. (Record settings below.)








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