1.5 FILES, RECORDS AND LOGBOOKS
Few things are more important to the continuity of a tanker's operations
and maintenance programs than a complete set of accurate records. On
a modern ship, payroll, overtime, maintenance, inventory and requisition
records are all maintained on a computer. If it is well designed, the
modern computer system leads even the most computer-illiterate officer
through a menu selection system which makes the necessary entries both
sailor-proof and quick. Modern software eliminates mathematical work
and errors - it is only necessary to make the entries correctly. Each
of the company's reports can be programmed for 'step through' entry,
followed by printing of a perfect copy or direct transmission by modem
to company headquarters. Any new computer version should use the forms
of the existing reporting system. It should be carefully tested by management
prior to implementation. After the initial version has been in use for
a time, crew recommendations should be sought and used for making improvements.Crew training.
'Package' ship records systems are available. They avoid the costs of
custom programming, but any off-the-shelf program should be fully reviewed
by the crew before it is purchased for their use. Some of the programs
are easy to use, while others are so 'user-hostile' that the crew would
be better off with an old, bound-journal system. A well-designed shipboard
computer system will have password protection for the various files
and programs so that only authorised users (master, chief officer, chief
and first assistant engineers) can access or edit critical data.
Whether the ship's record keeping system is manual or computer based,
each officer must continue to conscientiously maintain it. This is particularly
true in the case of 'relief officers replacing a 'permanent' crew member.
When the regular officer returns, he will be delighted to find that
his records and files are up to date. If they are not, he is sure to
make some bitter comment to the master before or after the relieving
Every document included in the ship's records must be dated (including
the year!), and include the legibly printed name and signature of the
person who made the entry or completed the report. Professionals are
proud of their work and like others to know who did it. They sign their
logs and reports in a way that leaves no doubt about who did the good
work that was recorded there.
Some of the more important records are:
Payroll and overtime.
Cargo system tests.
Oil record book.
Deck and engineer logs.
Safety inspections, meetings and drills.
Classification society inspections.
Loading and discharge records.
Cargo tank cleaning.
Port state inspections.
1.5.1 Crew training records
At a time when qualified and experienced crews are becoming more difficult
to assemble, maintaining an active training program is the only way
an owner can insure that his personnel know their jobs. Records are
essential to insure that each employee completes all required training
and that training progress is documented. These records can have additional
value in helping to defend the owner against injury and pollution claims.
They demonstrate that the seamen were given the training necessary to
recognise and avoid the hazards of their employment and that a conscientious
program of anti-pollution indoctrination was followed.
On the day they first report aboard a new ship, crew members should
be given a familiarisation tour of their workplace and emergency duty
stations. This will be entered on their record. The crew member should
initial or sign the entry for his indoctrination tour and for each training
session completed while on board. The report sheet should be sent to
the office when the crew member leaves and forwarded to the next ship
he rejoins. Vessel training records should be reviewed by the personnel
director to determine the kind of training needed on board. They should
be retained as proof of training conducted.
An individual crew training record. The crew member's
signature proves that training was received.
1.5.2 Preventive maintenance records
Conscientious owners appreciate the value of programmed maintenance.
Over the long run, it preserves both earnings and the resale value of
their ship. Such programs are entirely dependant on accurate record
keeping. Each cycle of a system's maintenance should be completed on
time and all completed work must be recorded. When the completed work
has been entered in the computer program, the computer will be able
to determine when the task is due to be repeated. Vessels which are
on a classification society continuous machinery inspection program
depend on accurate and complete records to maintain inspection exemptions,
else costly 'open and inspect' requirements may be imposed.
If an officer joins a ship which does not have a maintenance logbook
for his collateral duties, he should start one. Even if he is a third
officer in charge of only the bridge navigation equipment, flags, and
lifeboat inspections, he should have a small journal to record inventories,
inspections completed and repairs/exchanges made. With even a basic
record system, the job will be done better and it is good practice for
other duties as the officer advances in rank.
With a complete lifeboat inspection record in his journal, a young third
officer will not need to freeze in the lifeboats if the chief officer
asks for an inventory of the expiry dates of all the lifeboat stores
when the ship is a day from arrival in Montreal in December!
Two of the chief officer's important maintenance records are the maintenance
logbook and the individual equipment records. The chief officer records
all work completed by the Deck department in his maintenance logbook
each day. At a later date (see section 4.6),
this log is reviewed and the specific equipment journals (hand written
or computer) are brought up to date. If the individual equipment records
are kept as file folders, the files should be arranged according to
the company file code system, or genetically (military style). If the
ballast pump is a 'Watrous' design do not file its records under 'W'.
File them under 'Pump, Ballast, Maintenance'. Clearly label each file
and use a suspension-type file system.
1.5.3 Safety records
The position of ship's safety officer should be rotated among the deck
and engine officers. Each in turn is required to complete and record
the necessary routine inspections and to audit the other department
for proper safety practices. Records of all safety meetings, inspections
and safety equipment are maintained. The safety officer should schedule
(or follow the company schedule for), the emergency drills and safety
The safety records demonstrate that the latest safety advice, casualty
reports and instructions have been properly disseminated to the crew,
who are the end users of this important information.
1.5.4 Overtime records
Overtime records are essential to support charterer's invoices, proper
payroll administration and for reference in preparing future budgets.
In the event of a casualty, investigating authorities may examine these
records to evaluate the contribution of crew fatigue to the accident.
1.5.5 Cargo recordsCharterer's loading orders.
Few areas of a tanker's operations result in more claims than the handling
of the cargo. A tanker cannot hope to prove 'proper care' of a petroleum
cargo unless full and complete records are available for presentation.
Cargo records which may become important to a cargo claim inquiry include:
Tank washing, cleaning and preparation programs; slops recovered.
Tank inspection certificates.
Chief officer's loading instructions.
Declaration of inspection prior to cargo transfer.
Ship's ullage sheets and loading quantity calculation.
Shore tank ullage sheets and quantity calculation.
Cargo analysis report/quality certificates.
Ship's deck and engine, rough and smooth logs and port log.
Cargo manifest/bill of lading copy.
Cargo heating instructions and heating records.
Oil record book.
Slop/sediment declared at loading port.
Slop disposal certificate.
Fuel loaded documents.
Arrival and departure reports.
Dead-freight or short lifting calculations.
Notes of protest
Ship's arrival ullage report.
Charterer's discharge instructions.
Chief officer's discharging instructions and logs.
Cargo pump operations record/log.
Ship's port log sheet.
Ship's tank inspection certificate.
Shore tank ullage sheet and quantity calculation.
Cargo exception reports.
Chief officer's ballasting instructions.
Notes of protest.
Check lists used for the efficient performance of cargo operations should
be retained as an important part of the cargo and voyage files.
Cargo forms for the previous six cargoes must be readily available. Two
copies of each form and report should be maintained. One copy is part
of a consolidated cargo file for that cargo, filed as a group by voyage
The second copies are kept in files or ring binders by report type. This
makes it easy for the chief officer to refer to past records when preparing
orders without disturbing the consolidated cargo file packages. Cargo
records must be sufficiently detailed to be useful to a claims investigator.
Port logs must show the sequence in which each cargo tank was loaded/discharged,
including the times of commence and finish loading/discharging each tank/product.
Also indicate into which cargo tank(s) the contents of the cargo lines
were dropped at the start and finish of loading or discharging and whether
such dropping occurred prior to or after gauging ROB.
Other records which may be requested include:
Summary of ports of call, including dates.
Letters of discrepancy for all voyages undertaken.
Engine sea trial book.
Heating balance diagram.
Date last drydock, hull cleaning, leadline, US coast guard inspections.
Maker and type of anti-fouling paint in use.
Crew lists (all voyages) including home addresses and telephone numbers.
Leaks in cargo tanks or piping systems, dates detected, causes, repairs
made, repair test records and class inspection dates.
1.5.6 Inspection records
Most inspection records become part of the preventive maintenance or
safety record files. Those which do not should be filed separately according
to the equipment or system inspected, or with the classification records
1.5.7 Cargo tank records
Records of cargo tank crude oil washing, cleaning, maintenance, repair
and modifications are important to proper cargo operations. These records
should be filed by tank, so that the history of any tank can be determined
from a single file.
1.5.8 Cargo system records
Pressure tests of cargo piping and leak tests on valves, replacement/
repair of pipe sections, valves or pumps, records of ultrasonic thickness
surveys and placement of temporary repairs should be included in these
document files. Temporary repairs must be permanently corrected at the
very first opportunity. Failure to do so will expose the vessel to charges
of 'unseaworthiness with respect to cargo' if a cargo contamination
1.5.9 Shipyard records
Shipyard records are important for review in the event a repair fails,
or when preparing for the next repair period. They are also necessary
sources of information for correcting the ship's stability booklet.
A separate summary of significant weights added to or removed from the
ship, along with the location should be maintained. This can be compiled
from the shipyard record after repairs are complete.
1.5.10 Oil record book
One of the more important record books is the tanker's Official oil
record book. These records are required by Regulation 20 of MARPOL 73/78
and must be maintained in a form (and usually in a book) supplied by
the flag state authority. On 4 April 1993, the oil record book form
required by Appendix III of MARPOL 73/78 (1991 Consolidated edition),
Entries are made by the chief officer according to the instructions.
Each page is signed by the master (see section 2.13.2).
The written orders prepared by the master, chief officer and chief engineer
must be retained on board as part of the ship's permanent records.
1.5.12 Accident/incident reportsName of the vessel.
The company may have a special accident/incident report form. If not,
it is important that notices of accidents or incidents contain at least
the following information:
Time and date of the incident.
Personnel involved, their crew position, years of service.
Person in charge of the operation.
Location of the incident on board.
Weather and other influencing factors (noise, lighting, footing, etc.)
Damages which occurred, or which might have occurred due to near miss.
Estimated cost of damage and loss.
Possibility of reoccurrence if nothing is done.
Recommended actions to prevent reoccurrence.
Loading port and date of loading.
Discharge port and date.
Quantity and type of cargo.
Nature and extent of damage.
Total number and reference numbers of Bills of Lading.
1.5.13 Records retention
Each vessel owner should have a records retention and disposition program
for his ships. This program will indicate which records must be maintained
in file form, how long they are to be retained on board the ship and
how they should be disposed of (transferred to the Home Office or destroyed),
at the end of that time.
The logbook is the official record of the ship. In it should be recorded
a detailed record of the activities of the ship and her crew. Each significant
point during a voyage and each operational change while in port should
be clearly entered. Logbook entries should be concisely detailed, that
is, all important information should be recorded by brief notations.
As an example, the entry '14.38 - began loading cargo' is concise, but
lacks essential details. In a later, investigation of this cargo operation,
this logbook entry would provide no information regarding the way in
which cargo was loaded, or what happened to the No.2 oil later found
to be off-test. The entry '14.38 -began loading No.2 oil into tanks
Nos. 3 across, 4 wings and 5 centre, via No.2 line and deck drop' provides
all essential information to determine how the No.2 oil was loaded into
the ship. Each step of the cargo operation should be recorded, from
all fast on arrival through last line aboard on departure.
Logbook entries must be clearly printed, in neat, hand printing. The
watch officer should sign the last entry of his watch with a legible
signature. The style of logbook entries may vary from ship to ship.
For the new officer, a cursory examination of the previous voyage and
port entries will indicate what the accepted practice is on the ship.
All logbook entries must be true and correct to the best of the understanding
of the officer making the entry. If there has been an unusual event
on the watch, the officer may first draft his logbook entry in rough
and review it with the master before making the entry in the logbook.
No erasures arc permitted. An error should be ruled through with a single
line, initialled and then then correct entry made immediately after.
The master may make navigation entries, or entries regarding the crew
as necessary, or may instruct the watch officer to do so. The chief
officer may make entries regarding cargo operations, or instruct the
officer to do so. If there is any controversy regarding a logbook entry,
the entry should be made and signed by the officer who wishes the entry
to be made.