The paper includes risk-based guidance as well as best practices on how to manage deck cargo in the offshore marine industry. It aims to help vessel Masters, offshore industry personnel and vessel crews adopt safe working practices for deck cargo handling between shore base operations, offshore facilities and vessels.




Specifically, Masters must follow some best practices to ensure a safe deck, by completing a specific checklist. This includes:

1. A completed risk assessment

The vessel's crew must in the task-based risk assessment, as well as mitigations and controls. In addition, participation in the Matrix of Permitted Operations (MOPO) should be part of the risk assessment.

2. Safe vessel motion

When dynamic environmental conditions occur, a safe deck provides a stable platform for the crew. In order to achieve a safe vessel motion, the following must be taken into consideration:

  • Quantify roll, pitch and heave;
  • Instrumentation;
  • Effect on vessel freeboard;
  • The vessel's efficiency in clearing the deck of sea water via deck freeing ports;
  • Base friction: steel versus wooden or plastic deck coverings;
  • Type and code of CoG of deck cargo or equipment carried;
  • Stability management;
  • Manoeuvring/positioning in the seaway.

3. Presence of a buddy system

A buddy system consists of at least two experienced crewmembers, to ensure each other's safety. A ship's crew must collaborate in order to know each other's activities and prevent exposure to dangers.

4. Adequate communications

Bridge crew can provide additional supervision to the buddy system. If they notice a potential danger before the deck crew, they should be able to communicate with them immediately and effectively.

5. Sufficient lighting

The deck must have sufficient lights in order to be fully visible by all persons that take part in an operation.

6. Deck cargo securing/escape routes awareness

Deck cargo and equipment must be secured to ensure a safe deck. Only the block of cargo or equipment being loaded on offloaded should be unsecured. This will limit the number of items that can shift because of seawater of vessel movement.

7. No green water on deck

Green water is a solid wave of water breaking over the deck. The impact of green water can threaten the safety of the deck, damaging structures, moving deck cargo or even personnel. In order to prevent that, OCIMF suggests to:

  • Avoid any water that could cause deck cargo to move;
  • Free ports to allow drainage of water;
  • Optimise vessel movement to ensure a safe deck;
  • Manoeuvre the ship in such a way to limit green water on deck.

8. Awareness of lines under tension

Wires, ropes, chains, or stored energy sources under tension pose a safety danger. In this case, personnel should remain clear of the deck.

9. Safe atmosphere

An atmosphere without toxic fumes or dust should be maintained for all crew.

10. Permissions granted for operation

The final step to ensure that the deck in safe, is to agree that all criteria have been met and verify that deck can be approached for the operation.

See more details in the PDF below