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Record Keeping and Planning

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Vessel planning mainly involves planning, executing, and monitoring the loading and discharging operations of vessels at a terminal/port. It encompasses meticulous coordination of resources, scheduling, and adherence to safety protocols to ensure efficient cargo handling while minimizing turnaround times.

Effective vessel planning is essential for optimizing terminal operations, maximizing throughput, and ensuring smooth logistics in the maritime industry.

Record Keeping

Reference: SIGTTOLNG Shipping Suggested Competency Standards”, Sections:

1 Have an awareness of the requirements:

  • maintain complete records of operations as delegated;
  • operation of the record keeping system.

2 Know and understand the requirements for record keeping:

  • ensure that records are made in accordance with statutory and organisational requirements;
  • ensure that records are retained for future requirements.

Typical LNGC cargo documentation in a loading port

  • Arrival notice;
  • notice of readiness;
  • deck operations log (all events should be recorded as they occur, in local time);
  • ship/shore safety checklist;
  • port log/timesheet;
  • port performance documentation (charterers and/or operator specific format);
  • certificate of measurement before loading;
  • certificate of measurement after loading;
  • certificate of quantity loaded;
  • certificate of quality;
  • responsible persons on board;
  • SDS;
  • bill of lading (B/L);
  • BOG report (charterer and/or operator specific format);
  • fuel consumption record (voyage abstract – charterer and/or operator specific format);
  • departure report.

Typical LNGC cargo documentation in a discharge port

  • Arrival notice;
  • notice of readiness;
  • deck operations log (all events should be recorded as they occur, in local time);
  • ship/shore safety checklist;
  • port log/timesheet;
  • responsible persons on board;
  • voyage performance documentation (charterers and/or operator specific format);
  • certificate of measurement before loading;
  • certificate of measurement after loading;
  • certificate of quantity discharged;
  • all loading port documentation (e. g. original bill of laden or letter of indemnity, MSDS);
  • BOG report (charterer and/or operator specific format);
  • fuel consumption record (voyage abstract – charterer and/or operator specific format);
  • departure report.

Operational records required

It should be verified that the cargo containment system remains compliant with its designed criteria during the initial cooldown, loading, transportation and discharging of the cargo. Records of the performance of these components and equipment essential to verifying these design parameters must be maintained and be available for inspection by the flag State.

Read also: Ship to Ship Bunkering Operations of the Liquefied Natural Gas

During cargo operations, it is important that a timely, detailed and accurate log of events is maintained. Ships’ officers and shore personnel should ensure that their time records are in agreement. The log’s purpose is to provide an agreed statement of facts relating to the timing of events and delays during the ship’s port call and it is used to facilitate demurrage claims.

Ship/shore safety checklist

This is a checklist that covers the items discussed by the ship and the terminal representatives prior to starting operations. It covers the procedures that will be employed during all cargo, ballast and bunker operations and satisfies the shore that these have been pre-planned. It also briefs the ship on the shore procedures and emergency procedures. The checklist should be signed by representatives from both the ship and terminal.

Ensure that records are kept and maintained in accordance with statutory and organisational requirements.

The following list details the majority of the certificates and documents required to be carried on board under the terms of the appropriate IMO Conventions:

  • international tonnage certificate;
  • international loadline certificate;
  • ship stability booklet;
  • minimum safe manning document;
  • certificates of competency for Masters, officers and ratings;
  • international oil pollution prevention certificate;
  • oil record book;
  • cargo ship safety construction certificate;
  • cargo ship safety equipment certificate;
  • safety radio certificate;
  • certificate of insurance (or financial security) for oil pollution damage;
  • certificate of fitness for the carriage of liquefied gases in bulk;
  • ISM Code safety management certificate (SMC);
  • copy of company document of compliance;
  • international ship security certificate;
  • international air pollution prevention certificate;
  • ballast water management system approval certificate;
  • approved ballast water management plan;
  • wreck removal certificate;
  • CLC certificate;
  • garbage management plan;
  • sanitation (health) certificate;
  • certificate of registry;
  • certificate of Class;
  • certificates of insurance;
  • planned maintenance approval;
  • anti-fouling certification;
  • official log book.

The onboard documentation filing system will be specified in the company specific SMS.

It is essential that records are retained for future requirements.

The SMS and/or statutory requirements will stipulate the period for which records should be retained on board.

It is the Master’s responsibility to ensure that the ship’s certificates are up to date. This includes the responsibility for ensuring that all the surveys are undertaken as required so that the certificates remain val id at all times.

Planning

Reference: SIGTTOLNG Shipping Suggested Competency Standards”, Sections:

1 Know and understand the stages of the planning process:

  • appraisal;
  • planning;
  • execution;
  • monitoring.

Appraisal

The trading pattern for any LNGC will either be “spot market trading” or an established “liner trade” (long term charter). In the liner trade, the Terminal Operations for LNG or LPG Carrier after Arriving in Portship and the terminals quickly become conversant with each other’s requirements and limitations.

Procedures will become established and documented for future reference. Under such circumstances, the appraisal stage in the planning process becomes a clearly defined routine. However, this is not the case for a spot trading ship, where each new port is, from a practical perspective, an unknown quantity. Under these circumstances it is important that the staff document all relevant port information for future reference. In both cases, this information becomes the main reference source in the planning appraisal procedure.

Typically, the cargo associated information documented would be as follows (but is not necessarily limited to):

  • discharge manifold – port or starboard side;
  • manifold configuration – which size/type of presentation flanges on the ship;
  • spotting line – jetty reference point (target) for ship alignment, envelope;
  • return gas blower (RGB) – availability and maximum rated capacity;
  • liquid MLA presentation flange size – will reducers be required?;
  • vapour MLA presentation flange size – will reducers be required?;
  • quick release details;
  • maximum cargo loading/discharge rate;
  • cooldown details – rate for jetty lines and loading arms;
  • eSDS and communication link – type, i. e., fibre optic, electrical (Pyle), pneumatic;
  • combined ESDS test procedure – pre-cargo operations;
  • communication with the terminal – format, topping-off procedure;
  • bonding connection – location if required;
  • FO bunker connection – if available from the jetty, size, location, loading rate;
  • LO bunker connection – if available from the jetty, size, location, loading rate;
  • GO bunker connection – if available from the jetty, size, location, loading rate;
  • stores – if permitted, means of loading, jetty or barge, timing relative to cargo ops;
  • shore leave arrangements – terminal requirements, transport, security;
  • terminal’s weather window details – maximum allowable wind speed;
  • water depth at the berth;
  • tidal rise/fall;
  • maximum allowable draught;
  • ship maintenance/immobilisation limitations while on the berth;
  • gangway/basket landing;
  • mooring configuration;
  • mooring type – size, wires with/without tails;
  • mooring tension – tension monitor;
  • mooring hooks – SWL and means of emergency release;
  • jetty fenders – type and location relative to ship overboards;
  • special points – various.

Planning

The best of plans will fail in the implementation stage if preparations are inadequate. While pre-port planning will vary considerably between operators, the following model is an example of best practice:

1 Three or four days prior to arrival at the terminal:

  • ensure that a cargo discharging and ballasting plan is available;
  • conduct a cargo valve (including vent mast) functionality test;
  • conduct a ballast system valve functionality test;
  • all portable and personal gas detectors tested and calibrated;
  • all certification lead seals on cargo tank gauges confirmed as intact;
  • availability of mooring lines, pennants, and winches as required;
  • checking and fitting of manifold short distance (spool) pieces, filters, gaskets, and presentation flanges;
  • pressure-test the liquid and vapour manifolds with N2. Test pressures should be 5 bars at the liquid manifold and 2 bars at the vapour manifold. Use soapy water to detect for leaks.

2 Two days prior to arrival at the terminal:

  • ESDS – tested and proved fully operational.
  • Cargo valves – Confirm that all remotely operated valves have been checked and confirmed to be within surge avoidance parameters.
Liquefied Gas Carrier
Fig. 1 The planning process starts before the LNGC arrives
Source: wikipedia.org

Confirm the following are available prior to cargo operations:

  • cargo tank pressure control systems (GCU, reliquefaction plant, fuel gas where fitted);
  • independent cargo tank high-level alarm system;
  • manifold water curtain;
  • fire pump/water spray system/all other fire-fighting equipment confirmed as available;
  • gas detection and fire detection equipment;
  • all deck lighting;
  • check that cargo pumps starting interlocks are cleared with the correct line up;
  • the Master confirms to the terminal the functionality of the cargo and ballast systems.

If bunkers are being loaded, the Ch/Eng will read, sign and confirm the appropriate section. The plan is finally submitted to the Master for approval and endorsement.

ESDS onboard
Fig. 2 Testing the ESDS

The Master should ensure all issues regarding port information studied at the appraisal stage have been duly accounted for.

3 One day prior to arrival at the terminal:

  • pre-arrival meeting (including finalization of the appropriate risk assessments) and preparation of all required paperwork;
  • ensure the LNGC is prepared as per the approved ship/shore compatibility study, including manifold connections and mooring layout;
  • ensure new gaskets are fitted/available for all manifold related connections;
  • mooring lines are laid out and appropriate pennants fitted;
  • cargo/spray pump motors and associated transmission cables are in good order (check the insulation resistance to earth);
  • where the discharge terminal has requested that the LNGC arrives with the liquid header cooled down, cooldown of the liquid header is done before arrival. This can be done the day before arrival and topped up on the day of arrival;
  • pilot boarding arrangements – test/rig/prepare as appropriate.

Best practice suggests that the Master chairs a pre-port meeting. This provides an important interface for the various departments within the shipboard management team. Terminal requirements, safety, ISPS security/compliance, known system/ship defects, shore-leave control, intended reliefs, Basic Information about Liquefied Natural Gas Bunkering Operationsstoring/bunkering requirements, arrival/departure programme, etc, are all issues that will make up the agenda for this important meeting.

4 Day of arrival at the terminal:

  • adjust the cargo tank pressures as per terminal requirements;
  • adjust ballast for appropriate arrival draught and trim;
  • ensure that all deck scuppers are closed;
  • ensure that all deck savealls are dry and clean;
  • prepare stainless steel buckets filled with fresh water at cargo tank domes;
  • provide an adequate supply of fresh clean rags for use as a temporary method to stem a minor leak;
  • prepare the SOPEP equipment;
  • prepare deck fire-fighting equipment;
  • prepare the international ship/shore fire connection.
Ship inspection
Fig. 3 Ship checks by Chief Officer/cargo engineer before arrival in port

Execution

With the ship moored alongside, main engines secured to the required state of readiness, planning/preparations all completed and MLAs connected and pressure tested, the execution phase would typically be implemented as follows:

  • Convene the “pre-loading/discharge meeting”. Attendees include, but not restricted to, the Ch/Officer, terminal reps, agents and loading master/surveyor. The meeting will confirm discharge procedures and provide opportunity to exchange relevant information with respect to the ship’s time alongside. The Ship/Shore Safety Checklist and ISPS security checklist are completed at this time.
  • Any feedback from the meeting affecting the Ch/Off’s initial plan is relayed back to the appropriate supervisor as soon as possible. At this stage the Ch/Off should also seek final confirmation that the equipment usage planned for is still available, i. e. gas compressors, ballast pumps, etc.
  • If appropriate, the LNG terminal may require a safety tour at this stage, attended by their representative(s) and a responsible ship’s officer. At this time the terminal may require an O2 check to be taken on the vapour line.
  • With the ship upright and even keel, it is usual at this point for the Chief Officer and cargo surveyor (or appointed person) to conduct the opening CTMS. It will also be confirmed that all parties are in agreement with the calculated quantities.
  • In the CCR the ship/shore communication system will be powered up. The communications will be tested and proved satisfactory.
  • Conduct the “Hot” ESD test as agreed with the terminal representative. It is quite normal at this time for the terminal to require the manifold/ESD valve closure to be timed. Finally, with the terminal’s permission, the manifolds can be set for commencement of line cooldown.
  • Enable and ensure all cargo tank level alarms are operative.

Monitoring

It is important to ensure that events unfold as per the cargo plan. However, contingency planning is important, i. e. how the team responds when events take an unexpected turn that has the potential to develop into an emergency situation. During in-port cargo operations this potential is significantly heightened and all personnel should be aware of the associated adverse possibilities. All events and/or deviations from the agreed plan should be recorded in real time by the OOW in the deck logbook. Additionally:

  • hourly load/discharge rates, which are recorded on board, are relayed ashore to the terminal control as requested;
  • it is usually arranged to print out cargo custody transfer data on an hourly basis;
  • if HD gas compressors are in use, a full log is kept of associated parameters;
  • although all critical cargo parameters are monitored and recorded in the CCR, regular safety rounds must be carried out by the ship’s crew. It is a standard practice for the OOW to carry out rounds at the end of each watch. Each time rounds are completed, an entry should be made in the cargo/ deck logbook and the Ship/Shore Safety Checklist;
  • sufficient personnel must be retained on board to handle any unscheduled event or emergency. Consideration must also be given to the MLC requirements regarding “hours of rest”.
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