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It may be possible for the ship to communicate too much and too frequently with the shore terminal operator while discharging, but the reverse is usually the case. Most problems attributable to communications failure are due to insufficient or ambiguous communications procedures. The rule should be that:
• Every action required or anticipated by either the ship or shore is positively communicated and
• Every communication must receive a confirmation that it is received and a second confirmation when the request has been complied with.

The ship's officers should never assume that the terminal has complied with their latest request until the terminal confirms that they have done so. If the terminal does not respond, the request must be repeated, along with a request for confirmation. If no response is received to a second cargo operations request, then the ship should use the secondary means of communication, meanwhile preparing to shut down the discharge if the call is not answered.

5.15.1 Ship to terminal communications
The ship should communicate at least the following to the terminal:
• When all fast to the pier.
• When customs formalities are complete.
• When transfer hoses have been connected.
• When tank inspection is complete.
• Acknowledgement of all communications received from the terminal.
• When the ship is ready to begin discharging cargo.
• When cargo pumps are started or stopped (naming cargo grade).
• When transfer rate is increased to full rate.
• When the watch is changed in the CCR and on deck.
• Any problems with mooring lines, cargo hoses/arms or the shore gangway.
• Reduction of pumping rate for changing tanks or tank stripping.
• Resumption of full pumping rate.
• Advice when discharge of a grade of cargo is completed.
• Hourly advice of the discharging pressure and temperature at the ship's manifold and rate at which cargo is being transferred.
• Advice to stand by on receiving a fire detection, gas detection, or other significant alarm; followed by advice to shut down if a fire is found, or to continue transfer if the alarm is false.
• Advice of setting or changing the sailing time of the vessel.
• Advice and time that pilots and tugs have been ordered.
• Advice that the ship intends to begin ballasting (SBT).
• Advice that the ship is ready for tank inspection/ ROB measurement.
• Advice that the ship will begin ballasting (CBT).
• Advice that ship is ready to drain and disconnect hoses.
• Time that hoses are disconnected.
• Time that all crew members are on board.
• Time that vessel will begin testing radars and main engine for departure.
• Time that tank inspection/ROB calculation is complete.
• Time that cargo documentation is complete.

The objective of good ship-terminal communications is a steady flow of exchange which focuses the operators on the status of the ship and the next event likely to occur.

5.15.2 Terminal-to-ship communications
The shore terminal should provide to the ship the following:
• Advice of when they will be ready to connect hoses.
• Advice when the shore valve is open and they are ready to receive cargo (grade).
• Advice that cargo (grade) is being received on hose/manifold No.
• Acknowledgement of all communications received from the ship.
• Advice regarding the condition of the moorings and/or gangway.
• Hourly readings of the transfer rate, total quantity delivered by ship and ship's draft readings forward and aft (if they can be conveniently observed).
• Advice if cargo transfer must be stopped for any reason.
• Advice of a fire in the terminal.
• Advice of any communications or parcels received for delivery to the vessel.
• Weather advice received.
• Advice of the arrival of visitors, or of returning crew members who appear to be intoxicated.

This amount of communication from the shore will be provided if the chief officer makes clear during the pre-transfer conference that it is both expected and essential and if during the transfer operation the ship provides a corresponding amount of information as indicated above.

5.15.3 Communications procedure
Each communication between the ship and the shore terminal must begin with the identification of the station being called and the identity of the calling station, just as if it were a marine traffic call on bridge-to-bridge VHF. Consistent application of this radio discipline will ensure that there is no confusion between ships and different berths in the same terminal or same port area.

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