The watchkeeping officer’s principal duties include:
- Implementing and managing the cargo handling plan and maintaining a log;
- Being the principal point of contact with the shore terminal;
- Controlling and verifying the performance of the following:
- The correct functioning of tank level gauges and tank level alarms;
- The operation of cargo pumps and valves;
- Controlling the distribution of ballast;
- Operation of the inert gas system;
- Ensuring that safety and fire-fighting equipment is ready for immediate use;
- Ensuring that all watchkeepers are using appropriate PPE; and
- Ensuring that there are no unplanned activities being carried out.
Cargo loading is an operation not fully under the control of the ship because the transfer of cargo to the ship is managed by the shore terminal.
Commencement of loading should be at a slow rate until it has been verified that the cargo is being loaded into the correct tanks, that there are no leaks in the system and that all monitoring systems are functioning correctly.
Checks during loading
At regular intervals throughout the operation, checks should be made to ensure that the cargo is not leaking and that tanks are being loaded according to the agreed transfer plan. Remote read outs from tanks should be checked for accuracy by utilising the closed gauging equipment.
High level alarms and tank overflow control alarms are safety critical items, and loading should bestopped if it is suspected that either is not working correctly.