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When the pre-loading inspections of the ship have been completed, the chief officer is ready to conduct the meeting between the ship and the terminal representatives. The chief officer, one or more of the ship's cargo watch officers and the pumpman should attend the meeting. The owner's marine supervisor may also attend, if available. The purpose of the meeting is to exchange all of the information necessary for the ship and shore terminal personnel to conduct the loading operation safely.

3.9.1 Information to be obtained
The chief officer should obtain from the shore terminal representative(s) the following information:
- Cargo information, including the:

  • Grade(s) and quantity of cargo(es) to be loaded.

  • Cargo loading sequence.

  • Specific gravity of the cargo(es).

  • Number of shore tanks to be loaded from and the quantity, temperature and gravity of the cargo in each.

  • Material data sheet for each cargo, including all hazards associated with handling it and treatments for exposure, inhalation and ingestion of the material.

  • If H2S cargo, the H2S concentration (ppm) by weight in oil.

  • Cargo loading rates.

  • Number of shore pumps to be used; will loading be started by pump or by gravity flow?

  • Shore pipeline'displacements planned before, between and after loading/grades.

  • Cargo loading stops required for shore tank changes or sampling and testing.

  • - Number and sizes of hoses/arms to be used.
    - Operating envelope of the loading arms and any freeboard restrictions imposed.
    - The communication system to be used and phrases/signals to be used for:
  • Placing the shore terminal operator on standby.
  • Stopping the loading (while on standby).

  • Emergency stop.

  • - The required standby time to be provided in advance of stopping shore pumps.
    - Operation of emergency stop device (if provided).
    - Emergency telephone numbers of terminal management personnel, local hospitals and police and fire services.
    - Work shift arrangements on the pier/dock.
    - A copy of any particular facility regulations which must be observed by the vessel, including:
  • Pollution prevention procedures and rules.

  • Procedures in the event of fire, explosion, injury, or other emergency.

  • - Weather forecast.

    3.9.2 Information to be provided to the terminal
    The chief officer should supply the terminal representative with:
    - A copy of the ballast discharge and cargo loading plans. Information regarding the last cargo(es) carried and method of tank preparation used to prepare for the nominated cargo(es).
    - Maximum acceptable loading rates for starting, routine loading and topping off tanks.
    - Maximum acceptable vapour pressures, temperatures and cargo manifold loading pressures.
    - Condition of the inert gas plant and condition of inerted tanks; venting procedure to be used while loading.
    - Quantities of ballast or slops to be pumped ashore and contents of the slops.
    - Preferred sequence of loading (if multiple grade cargo).
    - Procedure for changing grades of cargo.
    - Any tank washing/flushing to be performed.
    - Ship's contingency plan for responding to an oil pollution incident.
    - Procedures for authorising personnel from shore to proceed on board the ship.

    3.9.3 Loading plan and method of loading
    Based on the information gathered during the meeting with the terminal representative(s) the chief officer should prepare a bar chart time diagram to illustrate the anticipated loading operation. He should review the time diagram with the master and (after any necessary revisions), give a copy to the shore terminal and post a copy in the CCR.
    The time diagram indicates graphically the sequence and timing of the various steps of the loading operation and provides an indication of the time when operations should be completed.
    The declaration of inspection, exchange of information and the loading plan together constitute an operational agreement for the loading of the ship. This agreement is complete when and only when the person in charge of the shore terminal and the person in charge of the ship have both signed the declaration of inspection.

    3.9.4 Toxic cargoes
    If the material safety data sheet for the cargo indicates that the oil can be unusually hazardous to personnel, then the cargo should not be loaded until:
    - Cargo watch officers have been advised of the special nature of the cargo and reviewed the safety precautions recommended.
    - The deck watch personnel on the first cargo watch have been instructed regarding necessary safety precautions.
    - Any special test, protective, or first aid equipment needed to safely handle the cargo has been provided on board.

    Hydrogen sulphide
    An example of a cargo requiring special precautions is a crude oil with high Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) content, commonly known as 'sour' crude. H2S gas is extremely toxic. Sour crudes should only be loaded under closed loading conditions. H2S test equipment must be provided to verify personnel safety in pumprooms and other spaces where H2S vapour could accumulate. Periodic tests for H2S on the cargo deck, in the engine room, forecastle head spaces, accommodations, workrooms and store rooms must be conducted. If any amount of H2S is detected in the pumproom (measuring by remote sampling tube from the upper deck level), then breathing apparatus must be worn to search for the source of the leak. Stop loading if the concentration of 50 ppm or greater is detected on the main deck. In light winds, special vigilance must be observed and every effort made to ensure that exhausted tank atmospheres are vented as high and as far forward as the tank venting system will permit.

    Post H2S warning signs at the pumproom entrance:

    Sour crude oil warning
    Do not go below until pumproom has been tested free of H2S

    Self-contained-breathing and resuscitation equipment must be readily available and the crew properly instructed in its use before loading begins.

    The crew must be instructed in the particular hazards and effects of exposure H2S, including:
    Rapid paralysis of the sense of smell, so that the warning odour will seemingly disappear if high concentrations are encountered. Rapid reduction in reasoning ability. The crew member becomes 'stupid' with the vapour and is unable to help himself. In high concentrations (1000 ppm to 2000 ppm) immediate unconsciousness followed by death.

    Personnel should not be exposed to more than 20 ppm H2S vapour in routine operations and 50 ppm for short periods (10 minutes per 8 hour work day).
    Tanks should be topped off by closed loading. If tanks are open gauged, then ullage caps should be opened two minutes before measuring the ullage.
    Procedures for keeping accommodation doors and ports closed must be strictly observed.

    Benzene is an example of a refined product requiring more precaution that other products. Concentrations of more than 10 ppm must be avoided. Exposure to high concentrations can lead to chronic disorders of the blood and bone marrow.

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