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Maintain a Safe Navigational Watch


Keeping a Watch in Port


Watch keeping in port

Principles applying to all watch keeping


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

Arrangements for keeping a deck watch when the ship is in port shall at all times be adequate to:

.1 ensure the safety of life, of the ship, the port and the environment, and the safe operation of all machinery related to cargo operation;

.2 observe international, national and local rules; and

.3 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 watch keeping.

Taking over the 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 watch keeping 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 the deck watch

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:

.1 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;

.2 all work to be performed on board the ship; the nature, amount and disposition of cargo loaded or remaining, and any residue on board after unloading the ship;

.3 the level of water in bilges and ballast tanks;

.4 the signals or lights being exhibited or sounded;

.5 the number of crew members required to be on board and the presence of any other persons on board;

.6 the state of fire-fighting appliances;

.7 any special port regulations;

.8 the master’s standing and special orders;

.9 the lines of communication available between the ship and shore personnel, including port authorities, in the event of an emergency arising or assistance being required;

.10 any other circumstances of importance to the safety of the ship, its crew, cargo or protection of the environment from pollution; and

.11 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:

.1 the securing of moorings and anchor chain are adequate;

.2 the appropriate signals or lights are properly exhibited or sounded;

.3 safety measures and fire protection regulations are being maintained;

.4 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;

.5 no external conditions or circumstances imperil the ship and that it does not imperil others.

Performing the deck watch

The officer in charge of the deck watch shall:

.1 make rounds to inspect the ship at appropriate intervals;

.2 pay particular attention to:

.2.1 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,

.2.2 the draught, under-keel clearance and the general state of the ship, to avoid dangerous listing or trim during cargo handling or ballasting,

.2.3 the weather and sea state,

.2.4 the observance of all regulations concerning safety and fire protection,

.2.5 the water level in bilges and tanks,

.2.6 all persons on board and their location, especially those in remote or enclosed spaces, and

.2.7 the exhibition and sounding, where appropriate, of lights and signals;

.3 in bad weather, or on receiving a storm warning, take the necessary measures to protect the ship, persons on board and cargo;

.4 take every precaution to prevent pollution of the environment by the ship;

.5 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 neighbouring ships;

.6 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;

.7 offer assistance to ships or persons in distress;

.8 take necessary precautions to prevent accidents or damage when propellers are to be turned; and

.9 enter in the appropriate log-book all important events affecting the ship.