Getting ready for a ship arrival

Operators should understand that there are some important preparations to be done when a ship arrives at port. Such procedures are considered critical as there are a number of complexities involved, and require both engine and deck departments to be prepared in order to enable safety for ship and crew.

Actions prior arrival

Step1: The crew should focus on key issues related to safe entrance, berthing and cargo operations of ship at the port, and subsequently complete the pilot card.

Step2: The passage plan should be updated and approved by the Master, who should also be in constant communication with the Chief Officer and the Chief Engineer in order to keep them informed well in advance for the “time of arrival”.

Step3: A meeting attended by senior officers and the officers, is crucial in order to discuss and clarify all necessary issues before arrival.

Key points to be aware of

It is important to note that any action related to this kind of operations should be checked by the officer in charge with the use of a “Preparations for arrival” checklist, which may contain all the items that the crew should concentrate on. This checklist should be placed in the bridge and be complete and signed prior arrival. Then, the results of the checking procedures should be mentioned in the deck log book.

During the berthing of the ship, all crew members are assigned duties according to Master’s orders. Therefore, the arrival meeting should also include discussion for Mooring Plan so as each crew member to be informed for his duties and the requirements and targets as set by the Master for mooring.

Key points for safe arrival at port

The main engine of the ship should always be tested; the testing is generally done before the pilot board the ship. Additionally, a careful testing of all important machinery systems is needed such as steering gear, generators, important navigation equipment (ECDIS, compasses etc.), thrusters and mooring winches before the maneuvering process starts. Also, anchors maintenance and clean before use should always take place prior arrival.

A useful checklist aiming to provide the necessary steps is required to achieve vessel’s proper preparation before entering the port, e.g. like the one provided by SQE MARINE herebelow, containing the following sections:

  • Passage Plan
  • Equipment Checks (prepared, tested and ready for use)
  • Before arrival
  • Port and Pilotage Requirements