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When cargo loading is well and safely started, the watch should automatically shift into a prescribed routine which maintains complete control over the ship and the loading operation.
Watch duties must be clearly defined, and the periods and times of breaks understood and adhered to. Two men should be on deck at all times. One person is assigned cargo duties and gangway watch. The other attends the mooring lines, fire wires and other matters as directed.
If the cargo officer stands his watch on deck, he should not leave the deck unless some other duty requires him to. During the cargo watch, the watch officer should make frequent rounds of the vessel, checking and re-checking the progress of the loading, and inspecting areas and spaces where problems can occur. It is an amazing fact that problems seem to occur when no one is present. When the deck watch sits around waiting for something to happen, it usually does! The best way of preventing problems, is to be everywhere on the ship frequently! Forward and aft store rooms, cofferdams, pumprooms, deck machinery spaces, the surrounding water surface, ballast tanks and topped off cargo tanks all deserve frequent attention.
The deck officer must carry the ship/shore communications radio with him at all times.

3.18.1 Routine checks
Regular check should be made of each active cargo tank and the observed ullages used to calculate the time when each tank will be ready for topping off. The frequency of such checks is dictated by the loading rate. The cargo loading rate should be calculated and compared with the hourly figure provided by the shore. Any significant discrepancy is cause for concern. If a discrepancy arises between ship and shore figures, the tank ullages should be checked and the volumes re-calculated. If the discrepancy still exists, alert the shore superintendent.
Cargo loading pressures and temperatures should be checked hourly and logged. Fire fighting equipment should be checked once each watch. The deck watch should be instructed in the use of any equipment with which they are not familiar. The deck watch must be instructed in the use of the shore emergency shut down device (if provided). Maintain the cargo status board up to date, and double check the cargo orders once during the watch to ensure that they have been understood and are being followed.
If the cargo watch officer stands his watch in a Cargo Control Room (CCR), his deck watch personnel must be his eyes and ears on deck. Any unusual sight, sound or incident should be reported immediately to him. The rounds they make and the points to be checked should be set out by the watch officer. The watch officer should know what each of his personnel are doing at all times. The man tasked with cargo duties should use the portable ullaging unit at least once per watch to verify the CCR ullage system readings. If a tank is being topped off, the portable ullage unit should be fitted at that tank and readings provided at regular intervals to confirm the CCR ullage readings until the tank valve is closed and for several minutes after.
The watch member assigned to moorings and inspections should report hourly to the cargo watch officer in the CCR, indicating the conditions observed during his rounds.
During each tour round the deck, the deck watch must check the condition of the aft scuppers, keeping them free of water or oil accumulation.

3.18.2 Unmanned machinery spaces
Watch personnel inspecting unmanned machinery spaces must advise their watch officer before entering and when leaving the space. The Engineering watch officer should be advised of the inspection and results. Any defects must be reported immediately to the Engineering watch officer and any remedial action take only with his agreement. Access ports and doors and electrical lighting must be properly secured when leaving the space.

3.18.3 Fire patrol
The social behaviour of the crew in port and the extra repair and storing activities both increase the possibility of fire on board. The deck watch should regularly examine all spaces in the ship and verify that:
- No fires or obvious fire hazards exist.
- No galley, accommodation, or store room electrical appliances have been left on without purpose.
- Repair workers are observing fire prevention procedures and maintaining an adequate fire watch.
- Shore crews handling stores are observing smoking rules and using proper equipment.

3.18.4 Watch equipment
In severe weather, watch rotation and break frequency should be increased without reducing the deck manning. Personnel who turn-to on deck insufficiently dressed for the weather should be sent back for additional clothing. If ear protection is required in certain areas of the ship, it must be carried by watch personnel and used as appropriate. On CCR tankers all cargo watch personnel must carry a portable radio unit, by which the watch officer can make inquiries and indicate needed checks/inspections. Crew members making pumproom inspections should report when entering the pumproom, when safely at the bottom and when leaving the space.

3.18.5 Vapour accumulation
If high vapour pressure cargo is being loaded, a careful watch on the wind speed is needed. If the wind speed drops below 5 knots, the cargo officer should increase checks/tests for vapour accumulation and be ready to shut off loading if vapour accumulation around the ship is noted. The engineering watch should be alerted to be ready to shut off accommodations power at the main switchboard if vapour enters the accommodation spaces.
The watch officer must lead by example in setting the tone of his cargo watch. If he takes an active, vigorous and professional attitude toward his duties, and clearly instructs his watch personnel, they will respond in kind, and the cargo watch will remain fully under control.

3.18.6 Manning level
At least 1/3 of the vessel's officers and 1/4 of the ratings should be on board at all times while loading. Either the master or chief officer must be on board. The master agrees the minimum manning with the chief officer. Vessel manning must meet company, flag and local rules at all times.

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