Standards regarding Watchkeeping on Merchant Ships, Part II

Bridge Equipment and Watchkeeping LinkinBio Nautical Watchkeeping

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Read Standards regarding Watchkeeping on Merchant Ships, Part I here

Principles to be observed in keeping a Radio Watch

General provisions

Administrations shall direct the attention of companies, masters, and radio watchkeeping personnel to comply with the following provisions to ensure that an adequate safety radio watch is maintained while a ship is at sea. In complying with STCW Code, account shall be taken of the Radio Regulations.

Watch Arrangements for Radio Watch

In deciding the arrangements for the radio watch, the master of every seagoing ship shall:

  • ensure that the Radio Watch is maintained in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Radio Regulations and the SOLAS Convention;
  • ensure that the primary duties for radio watchkeeping are not adversely affected by attending to radio traffic not relevant to the safe movement of the ship and safety of navigation; and
  • take into account the radio equipment fitted onboard and its operational status.

Performing the Radio Watch

  • The radio operator performing radio watchkeeping duties shall:
    • ensure that watch is maintained on the frequencies specified in the Radio Regulations and the SOLAS Convention; and
    • while on duty regularly check the operation of the radio equipment and its sources of energy and report to the master any observed failure of this equipment.
  • The requirements of the Radio Regulations and the SOLAS Convention on keeping a radiotelegraph or radio log, as appropriate, shall be complied with.
  • The maintenance of radio records, in compliance with the requirements of the Radio Regulations and the SOLAS Convention, is the responsibility of the radio operator designated as having primary responsibility for radiocommunications during distress incidents. The following shall be recorded, together with the times at which they occur:
    • a summary of distress, urgency and safety radiocommunications;
    • important incidents relating to the radio service;
    • where appropriate, the position of the ship at least once per day; and
    • a summary of the condition of the radio equipment including its sources of energy.
  • The radio records shall be kept at the distress communications operating position, and shall be made available:
    • for inspection by the master; and
    • for inspection by any Authorized Official of the Administration and by any duly authorized officer exercising control under article X of the Convention.

Watchkeeping In Port

Principles applying to all watchkeeping

On any ship safely moored or safely at anchor under normal circumstances in port, the master shall arrange for an appropriate and effective watch to be maintained for the purpose of safety. Special requirements may be necessary for special types of ships’ propulsion systems or ancillary equipment and for ships carrying hazardous, dangerous, toxic or highly flammable materials or other special types of cargo.

Watch Arrangements at Port

  • Arrangements for keeping a deck watch when the ship is in port shall at all times be adequate to:
    • ensure the safety of life, of the ship, the port, and the environment, and the safe operation of all machinery related to cargo operation;
    • observe international, national and local rules; and
    • maintain order and the normal routine of the ship.
  • The Master shall decide the composition and duration of the deck watch depending on the conditions of mooring, type of the ship and character of duties.
  • If the Master considers it necessary, a qualified officer shall be in charge of the deck watch.
  • The necessary equipment shall be so arranged as to provide for efficient watchkeeping.
  • The Chief Engineer, in consultation with the Master, shall ensure that engineering watchkeeping arrangements are adequate to maintain a safe engineering watch while in port.
  • When deciding the composition of the engineering watch, which may include appropriate engine-room ratings,
  • the following points are among those to be taken into account:
    • on all ships of 3,000 kW propulsion power and over there shall always be an officer in charge of the engineering watch;
    • on ships of less than 3,000 kW propulsion power there may be, at the master’s discretion and in consultation with the chief engineer officer, no officer in charge of the engineering watch; and
    • officers, while in charge of an engineering watch, shall not be assigned or undertake any task or duty which would interfere with their supervisory duty in respect of the ship’s machinery system.

Taking over Watch

  • Officers in charge of the deck or engineering watch shall not hand over the watch to their relieving officer if they have any reason to believe that the latter is obviously not capable of carrying out watchkeeping duties effectively, in which case the master or chief engineer shall be notified accordingly.
  • Relieving officers of the deck or engineering watch shall ensure that all members of their watch are apparently fully capable of performing their duties effectively.
  • If at the moment of handing over the deck or engineering watch, an important operation is being performed it shall be concluded by the officer being relieved, except when ordered otherwise by the master or chief engineer officer.

Taking Over Watch at Port (Deck)

Prior to taking over the deck watch, the relieving officer shall be informed of the following by the Officer in charge of the deck watch as to:

  • the depth of the water at the berth, the ship’s draught, the level and time of high and low waters; the securing of the moorings, the arrangement of anchors and the scope of the anchor chain, and other mooring features important to the safety of the ship; the state of main engines and their availability for emergency use;
  • all work to be performed onboard the ship; the nature, amount and disposition of cargo loaded or remaining, and any residue on board after unloading the ship;
  • the level of water in bilges and ballast tanks;
  • the signals or lights being exhibited or sounded;
  • the number of crew members required to be on board and the presence of any other persons on board;
  • the state of fire-fighting appliances;
  • any special port regulations;
  • the master’s standing and special orders;
  • the lines of communication available between the ship and shore personnel, including port authorities, in the event of an emergency, arising or assistance is required;
  • any other circumstances of importance to the safety of the ship, its crew, cargo or protection of the environment from pollution; and
  • the procedures for notifying the appropriate authority of any environmental pollution resulting from ship activities.

Relieving officers, before assuming charge of the deck watch, shall verify that:

  • the securing of moorings and anchor chain are adequate;
  • the appropriate signals or lights are properly exhibited or sounded;
  • safety measures and fire protection regulations are being maintained;
  • their awareness of the nature of any hazardous or dangerous cargo being loaded or discharged and the appropriate action to be taken in the event of any spillage or fire;
  • no external conditions or circumstances imperil the ship and that it does not imperil others.

Taking Over the Engineering Watch at Port

Prior to taking over the engineering watch, the relieving officer shall be informed by the officer in charge of the engineering watch as to:

  • the standing orders of the day, any special orders relating to the ship operations, maintenance functions, repairs to the ship’s machinery or control equipment;
  • the nature of all work being performed on machinery and systems onboard ship, personnel involved and potential hazards;
  • the level and condition, where applicable, of water or residue in bilges, ballast tanks, slop tanks, sewage tanks, reserve tanks and special requirements for the use or disposal of the contents thereof;
  • any special requirements relating to sanitary system disposals;
  • the condition and state of readiness of portable fire-extinguishing equipment and fixed fire-extinguishing installations and fire detection systems;
  • authorized repair personnel on board engaged in engineering activities, their work locations and repair functions and other authorized persons on board and the required crew;
  • any port regulations pertaining to ship effluents, fire-fighting requirements and ship readiness, particularly during potential bad weather conditions;
  • the lines of communication available between the ship and shore personnel, including port authorities, in the event of an emergency, arising or assistance is required;
  • any other circumstance of importance to the safety of the ship, its crew, cargo or the protection of the environment from pollution; and
  • the procedures for notifying the appropriate authority of environmental pollution resulting from engineering activities.

Relieving officers, before assuming charge of the engineering watch, shall satisfy themselves that they are fully informed by the officer being relieved, as outlined above, and:

  • be familiar with existing and potential sources of power, heat and lighting and their distribution;
  • know the availability and condition of ship’s fuel, lubricants, and all water supplies; and
  • be ready to prepare the ship and its machinery, as far as is possible, for standby or emergency conditions as required.

Performing the Deck Watch at Port

The Officer-in-Charge of the deck watch shall:

  • make rounds to inspect the ship at appropriate intervals;
  • pay particular attention to:
    • the condition and securing of the gangway, anchor chain and moorings, especially at the turn of the tide and in berths with a large rise and fall, if necessary, taking measures to ensure that they are in normal working condition,
    • the draught, under-keel clearance and the general state of the ship, to avoid dangerous listing or trim during cargo handling or ballasting,
    • the weather and sea state,
    • the observance of all regulations concerning safety and fire protection,
    • the water level in bilges and tanks,
    • all persons on board and their location, especially those in remote or enclosed spaces, and
    • the exhibition and sounding, where appropriate, of lights and signals;
  • in bad weather, or on receiving a storm warning, take the necessary measures to protect the ship, persons on board and cargo;
  • take every precaution to prevent pollution of the environment by the ship;
  • in an emergency threatening the safety of the ship, raise the alarm, inform the master, take all possible measures to prevent any damage to the ship, its cargo and persons on board, and, if necessary, request assistance from the shore authorities or neighboring ships;
  • be aware of the ship’s stability condition so that, in the event of fire, the shore fire-fighting authority may be advised of the approximate quantity of water that can be pumped on board without endangering the ship;
  • offer assistance to ships or persons in distress;
  • take necessary precautions to prevent accidents or damage when propellers are to be turned; and
  • enter in the appropriate log-book all important events affecting the ship.

Performing the Engineering Watch at Port

Officers in charge of the engineering watch shall pay particular attention to:

  • the observance of all orders, special operating procedures, and regulations concerning hazardous conditions and their prevention in all areas in their charge;
  • the instrumentation and control systems, monitoring of all power supplies, components, and systems in operation;
  • the techniques, methods, and procedures necessary to prevent violation of the pollution regulations of the local authorities; and
  • the state of the bilges.

Officers in charge of the engineering watch shall:

  • in emergencies, raise the alarm when in their opinion the situation so demands, and take all possible measures to prevent damage to the ship, persons on board and cargo;
  • be aware of the deck officer’s needs relating to the equipment required in the loading or unloading of the cargo and the additional requirements of the ballast and other ship stability control systems;
  • make frequent rounds of inspection to determine possible equipment malfunction or failure, and take immediate remedial action to ensure the safety of the ship, of cargo operations, of the port and the environment;
  • ensure that the necessary precautions are taken, within their area of responsibility, to prevent accidents or damage to the various electrical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical systems of the ship; ensure that all-important events affecting the operation, adjustment or repair of the ship’s machinery are satisfactorily recorded.

Keeping Watch in Port on Ships Carrying Hazardous Cargo

  • The master of every ship carrying cargo that is hazardous, whether explosive, flammable, toxic, health-threatening or environment-polluting, shall ensure that safe watchkeeping arrangements are maintained.
  • On ships carrying hazardous cargo in bulk, this will be achieved by the ready availability onboard of a duly qualified officer or officers, and ratings where appropriate, even when the ship is safely moored or safely at anchor in the port.
  • On ships carrying hazardous cargo other than in bulk, the master shall take full account of the nature, quantity, packing and stowage of the hazardous cargo and of any special conditions on board, afloat and ashore.

Did you read the Part- I of this post? Here it is

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