Bridge Team work Weather Routeing      


Maintain a Safe Navigational Watch


Keeping a Watch in Port (Hazardous Cargo)


Watch in port on ships carrying hazardous cargo

Hazardous goods are those that fall into one of the categories of the IMDG code and are mentioned in the Dangerous Cargo List. These cargoes may be clubbed as explosive hazard, flammable hazard, toxic hazard (vapour as well as contact as liquid) and pollution hazard. The hazard need not be only to humans but also to the environment.


The master of every ship carrying cargo that is hazardous, whether explosive, flammable, toxic, health-threatening or environment-polluting, shall ensure that safe watch keeping arrangements are maintained. On ships carrying hazardous cargo in bulk, this will be achieved by the ready availability on board of a duly qualified officer or officers, and ratings where appropriate, even when the ship is safely moored or safely at anchor in 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.

Depending if the cargo is liquid the scuppers would have to be effectively blocked to prevent any leakages from going overboard. Adequate clean up material should be available with required man power capable of restricting the outflow of the hazardous liquid. Any special precautions that may be required as per the shipper or the IMDG should be adhered to.

General information prior loading/ discharging

The duty officer entrusted with the loading of the dangerous goods should have all the relevant data regarding the dangerous goods that would be loaded, these would include:

Copy of the document from the shipper regarding the cargo

Classification of the DG

Quantity to be loaded

Proposed stowage

Type of packages

Shipping name – that is the correct technical name

Segregation required from other cargo as well as from other DG

MFAG and EmS requirement for the safe handling of the cargo

Any fire hazard as per IMDG

Any temperature/ wetness restriction for the loading of the cargo

UN Numbers and Proper Shipping Names

General fire precautions

The prevention of fire in a cargo of dangerous goods is achieved by practicing good seamanship, observing in particular the following precautions:

I. Keep combustible material away from ignition sources;

II. Protect a flammable substance by adequate packing;

III. Reject damaged or leaking packages;

IV. Stow packages protected from-accidental damage or heating;

V. Segregate packages from substances liable to start or spread fire;

VI. Where appropriate and practicable, stow dangerous goods in an accessible position so that packages in the vicinity of a fire may be protected;

VII. Enforce prohibition of smoking in dangerous areas and display clearly recognizable “NO SMOKING” notices or signs; and

VIII. The dangers from short-circuits, earth leakages or sparking will be apparent.  Lighting and power cables, and fittings should be maintained in good condition.  Cables or equipment found to be unsafe should be disconnected.  Where a bulkhead is required to be suitable for segregation purposes, cables and conduit penetrations of the decks and bulkheads should be sealed against the passage of gas and vapours.  When stowing dangerous goods on deck, the position and design of auxiliary machinery, electrical equipment and cable runs should be considered in order to avoid sources of ignition.

Fire precautions applying to individual classes, and where necessary to individual substances, are recommended in following paragraphs and in the Dangerous Goods List.

Rescue from an Enclosed Space

An enclosed space is one with restricted access that is not subject to continuous ventilation and in which the atmosphere may be hazardous due to the presence of hydrocarbon gas, toxic gases, inert gas or oxygen deficiency. This definition includes ballast tanks, fuel tanks, water tanks, lubricating oil tanks, slop and waste oil tanks, sewage tanks, cofferdams, duct keels, void spaces and trunkings, connected to any of these. It also includes scrubbers and water seals and any other item of machinery or equipment that is not routinely ventilated and entered, such as boilers and main engine crankcases.

Many of the fatalities in enclosed spaces have resulted from entering the space without proper supervision or adherence to agreed procedures. In almost every case the fatality would have been avoided if the simple guidance had been followed. The rapid rescue of personnel who have collapsed in an enclosed space presents particular risk. It is a human reaction to go to the aid of a colleague in difficulties, but far too many additional and unnecessary deaths have occurred from impulsive and ill-prepared rescue attempts.

Respiratory hazards from a number of sources could be present in an enclosed space. These could include one or more of the following:

Respiratory contaminants associated with organic vapours including those from aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, toluene, etc.; gases such as hydrogen sulphide; residues from inert gas and particulates such as those from asbestos, welding operations and paint mists.

Oxygen deficiency caused by, for example, oxidation (rusting) of bare steel surfaces, the presence of inert gas or microbial activity.

The following are to be at hand or are to be mustered prior to any rescue attempts being made:


b. Firemans outfit

c. Stretcher attached to a strong rope at least 22mm manila

d. A strong point to attach a block

e. A Single sheave block

f. A resuscitator if available

g. Lot of man power

h. Fire fighting equipment if necessary

Rescuers must be adequately protected from exposure before entering a contaminated area in order to avoid injury.

When a chemical is unidentified, worst-case assumptions concerning toxicity must be assumed.

Rescuers must NOT:

Enter a contaminated area without using a pressure-demand self-contained breathing apparatus and wearing full protective clothing;

Enter an enclosed space unless they are trained members of a rescue team and follow correct procedures;

Walk through any spilled materials;

Allow unnecessary contamination of equipment;

Attempt to recover shipping papers or manifests from contaminated area unless adequately protected;

Become exposed while approaching a potentially contaminated area;

Attempt rescue unless trained and equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and protective clothing for the situation.

Once the person (s) have been located, it is of utmost necessity to remove him from the hostile environment as soon as possible thus the duty officer prior taking over watch should have a good idea of the whereabouts of the above equipment.

Since the person would not be able to don a SCBA he would have to be assisted in doing so, the person who goes down to assist him would preferably be wearing the SCBA and carry a separate SCBA or the firemans mask and the air line (depending on the situation).

Once he reaches the affected person he should give him fresh air either through his own mask or the ones he has carried. For persons suffering from Oxygen deficiency this may be the only chance of saving his brain. The person has to then be strapped onto the stretcher and lifted out.

Since the accident would be in a hold or tween deck the chance of navigating through a lot compartments would therefore be there.

Once the stretcher is strapped and the hoisting rope attached the affected person is to be lifted out and proper resuscitation given.

Reduce level of contaminants

Remove contaminants to the level that they are no longer a threat to casualty or response personnel.

Contain runoff; bag contaminated clothing

If possible, contain all runoff from decontamination procedures for proper disposal.

Ensure that all potentially contaminated casualty clothing and belongings have been removed and placed in properly labelled bags.