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Ships departure check item - Matters that require attention at port

Apart from ship structural failure or poor machinery conditions, inadequate sailing preparation may also lead to a fatality at sea. To improve deck safety, crew, therefore, need to be well prepared before proceeding to sea. Sailing preparations may include many complexities, and this is the reason why a bunch of things should be considered and prepared carefully, to ensure a smooth voyage passage and safe navigation. Any prudent master will arrange and guide his crew to prepare the vessel for a sail out in safety from one port. Summarized below are some essential check items. These procedures are only indicative, not exhaustive, and must always be guided by practices of good seamanship.

containerships operational matters
Oil Tanker Safety Guide
  1. Prior departure make sure all crew present on board : Deck dept., Engine dept. & Catering dept.
  2. Replenishment of bunkers, lubes, stores and spares
  3. Replenishment of provisions and freshwater.
  4. Confirmation of draft , stability and hull strength as per "Procedures for Confirming draft , stability and hull strength
  5. Confirmation of water tightness of openings as per "Procedures for Confirming Closure of Openings
  6. Confirmation of necessary legal documents, trading certificates and port clearance
  7. Completion of cargo and related work including lashings
  8. Disembarkation of labors/ stevedores/ terminal personnel / agent etc
  9. Confirmation of securing or lashing of movable objects
  10. Completion of repairs and disembarkation of workers/ contractors/ technicians etc
  11. Disembarkation of all visitors & collection of passes issued to visitors, any missing passes reported to SSO
  12. Stowaway search carried out (as per SSP search cards)
  13. Engine Room given adequate (at least 1 hour) notice for preparing M/E / Bow Thruster
  14. Confirmation of readiness for main engine trial (condition of gangway, bow and stem, manifolds, and others)
  15. Stations for departure planned & crew advised of Stand-By time
  16. Confirmation of power supply & operation of winches and windlass
  17. Passage Plan for intended voyage prepared and signed
  18. All charts and publications for voyage up to date and courses laid
  19. Latest weather forecast and navigational warnings for area at hand
  20. Tidal calculations for departure ready
  21. Main Engine tried out ahead and astern, correct print-out on telegraph logger (where fitted)
  22. Container ship loaded condition

    Fig :Container ship loaded condition

  23. Confirmation of binoculars and daylight signal lights
  24. Preparation of Pilot card and information exchange and bell book
  25. Ships clocks checked and synchronized, including with E/R
  26. Steering gear tested individually and as per SOLAS V/26
  27. AIS correctly set to sea mode (transmission power, etc) & ship data updated. SVDR status checked - NO ALARMS
  28. Bow Thruster tried out (where fitted)
  29. Compass repeaters aligned (incl. in strg flat where fitted)
  30. Gyro error checked and magnetic compass illuminated
  31. Whistle tried out (unless prohibited)
  32. Radars on standby (operational only when permitted by port), speed input set for ARPA through water
  33. Echo sounder switched on / Zero alignment done / annotated
  34. Confirmation of VHF channel in use
  35. Navtex receiver set to correct station & information checked
  36. "Course Recorder checked for paper and time/course synchronization, and annotated"
  37. GMDSS equipment switched on and functional
  38. Navigation lights switched ON and tested
  39. Other equipment checked
  40. Confirmation of meeting with the Pilot about passage plan
  41. Sailing report required by Port Regulations including notification to VTS if applicable
  42. Confirmation for watch schedule
  43. Fire detection system operational

Related articles

Collecting Information and Data for Passage Planning

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

Confirming stability & hull strength prior sailing

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