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When arriving at the discharge port, there are some precautions in, addition to cargo operational considerations, which deserve mention. First, the vessel must be absolutely certain of its navigation, or should stop in deep water and wait until its position has been definitely fixed. Second, as the vessel proceeds toward the port, any discrepancy from the expected navigation condition should be cause for suspicion of some defect either in the charted information or in the vessel's navigation. All available port approach information, sailing directions and navigational messages should be reviewed to verify acceptable entry draft, speed and restrictions. Vessel trim, squat, motion and the state of the tide must be considered.
Finally, any condition adverse to safe navigation should be offset by a beneficial advantage before the vessel is allowed to continue toward the port. For example: if the vessel arrives in thick fog, it should not proceed into confined waters without the assistance of a pilot and if one is not available or cannot be boarded outside confined waters, then the vessel must wait. The advice of pilots may be sought by radio, remembering that the information received is only advice from a person who is not on the scene. The master must make the final decision whether to approach or lay off the port awaiting better conditions. The master/pilot information exchange form must be made ready. As another example: if one radar is defective, then clear visibility should be a requirement for making landfall.
Vessel's arriving deeply laden at alluvial ports immediately after significant storms may find that the heavy seas have shifted the bottom topography and that new shoals have been raised where there would have been clear sailing the week before. Recent weather conditions must be evaluated when approaching port. The largest scale chart available, corrected to the most recent 'notice to mariners', must be in use.
In any unusual circumstance, the master must act on his own judgment as to whether it is safe to approach land. He is expected to act in accordance with the owner's navigation policies and within the dictates of good seamanship.

5.4.1 Official notifications
Some countries require transmission of pre-arrival notifications as much as two days before arriving at the port. Masters must determine the arrival notification requirements of the country whose coast his ship is approaching and ensure that necessary notifications are made and clearances to approach port are received. If the vessel has significant equipment faults, approval to proceed may be withheld, or special requirements imposed.

5.4.2 Arrival cargo preparations
If it has not been possible to do so before arrival (due to severe weather), the chief officer should complete the necessary cargo preparations on deck including:
• Positive isolation of the tank washing heater from the tank crude oil washing (COW) lines.
• Check all tank cleaning valves are closed and hydrant valves capped.
• Pressurise the crude oil washing lines with oil, inspect the lines thoroughly and repair any leaks. Lines should be tested to maximum working pressure of 10 to 12 bar.
• Complete the required COW preparation checklist.
• Inspection of all valve control units, tank gauging devices, hi-level alarms, vent lines and cargo valves. All valves not to be used should be sealed closed.
• Labelling/marking of all cargo valves to be operated by hand, indicating the grade of cargo or discharge tank set according to the discharge plan.
• Monitoring of oxygen level in the cargo tanks and, if necessary, topping up with IGS.
• Labelling the cargo manifolds to be used and the grades to be discharged through them.
• Inspection of all storage spaces and deck equipment to be used at the discharge port, including all safety equipment.
• Testing/rigging of the cargo hose derricks/crane(s).
• Assembly of all necessary cargo documents for presentation to attending officials and independent inspectors.
• Advice sent to the terminal of vessel's intention to COW (if applicable).

5.4.3 Pumproom preparations
The chief officer and pumpman, should see that the pumproom is thoroughly ventilated and then conduct a detailed inspection of the pumproom to confirm that the safe conditions according to section 4.7 still exist. The pumproom bilges must be carefully examined for signs of any cargo leakage. If pumproom bilge high-level sensors were not tested on the loaded passage, then their correct function must be confirmed at this time. Bilges must be tested and found gas free if personnel must enter them to test the bilge alarm(s).
After the inspection, steam should be put on the stripping pump and the pumprooms steam piping inspected for defects. Finally, the stripping pumps should be turned over one or two strokes to verify correct operation.

5.4.4 Other preparations
The number of items to be verified before arrival may be extensive. A checklist should be used, legibly signed and filed as part of the vessel's records. The checklist may include:
• Connect main deck fire hoses as necessary to provide full coverage of the main deck with immediately ready hoses.
• Prepare fire monitors for use.
• Place dry chemical fire extinguishers near the manifold.
• Verify that the international shore connection is in its designated place.
• Pilot ladders and gangway to be diligently inspected, repaired and ready for use.
• Primary and secondary steering gear must be tested before arrival.
• Main engines manoeuvring capability must be verified.
• Steering changed to manual and a competent quartermaster at the wheel.
• All internal communications equipment tested. Mooring machinery tested and mooring lines taken up.
• Documentation and inspection requirements for customs, immigration and health authorities prepared.
• Crew is properly instructed in the anchoring/ berthing operation planned and the hazards and safety precautions which apply.

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