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Harbors: Preliminary Procedures before a ship is loaded or unloaded

There are many steps that must be taken before a ship is loaded or unloaded. They are described below.




There are many steps that must be taken before a ship is loaded or unloaded. They are described below.


Preparing Orders


Before a tank vessel docks, the shore terminal command posts written operation orders so that the shore operators can prepare for loading or unloading the vessel. The information that must be shown on the orders includes the following:


        Estimated time of arrival.


        Kind and amount of petroleum product to be loaded or unloaded.


        Type of vessel.


        Berth to be used.


        Pipelines to be used.


        Number and size of hoses to be connected.


        Tanks into which cargo is to be received.


        Pump stations and pumps to be used.


        Tank and cargo layout.


        Number of samples to be taken and the location to which samples are to be sent.


        Tests required.


        Ballast carried or required at the terminal.


        Location of blends, if used.


        Line cleaning or displacement.


        Pumping facilities aboard the vessel.


        Turnaround time.


        Any special services or unusual requirements, such as blending of FSI, additional lighting, or use of spill booms.


Notifying Customs and Health Authorities


If a vessel is arriving from a foreign port, customs authorities must be notified so that the cargo can be declared and the vessel can be inspected. The Public Health Service must be notified so that the crew can be examined.


Arranging for Dock Personnel, Tugboats, and Pilots


There should be enough shore personnel at their stations to help moor or undock and load or unload the vessel. The vessel's personnel are responsible for the safe docking of the vessel, but the shore personnel must help. Arrangements must be made for tugboats and required pilots, when necessary. All personnel concerned with the operation should be told of the grade of product and the tanks being used.


Inspecting Hose



Shore personnel must inspect all connecting hoses for condition and suitability. Cargo hoses should be inspected and maintained according to Chapter 10. Any cracked, worn, or frayed hose must be replaced. A contaminated hose should be cleaned or replaced, depending on the contamination and the product to be handled. There should be enough hose to allow for slack to take care of tide changes, weather, or layout. Too much hose may cut down product flow.


Providing Sufficient Product, Tankage, and Ballast


When the vessel takes on products, there must be enough product in the shore tanks. If the vessel must unload products, there must be enough shore tankage to handle them. Shore tanks must be gaged by shore personnel. A ship's representative may witness the gaging. Enough ballast water tankage also should be provided.


Preparing Dock


All needed tools and equipment should be readily available before the vessel arrives. Items that should be included are listed below:




        Sampling equipment and sample containers.


        Containers to catch overflows or spills.








        Spool pieces.






        Pressure gage.


        Sufficient quantity of ? inch rope.


        Block and tackle.


        Explosion-proof flashlights.




        Gaging equipment.




Preparing for Safety


Safety equipment should also be available. These include the following:


        Life preservers.


        Throwable ring with line.


        Fire-fighting equipment.


        First aid kit.


        Stokes basket or equivalent stretcher.


Preparing to Deal With Spills


Plans for preventing, controlling, and cleaning up spills are required. The SPCC plan is a federally required document. It covers all aspects of facility-wide spill response. The ISCP is the site-specific plan for responding to a spill. It must be included in the facility-wide SPCCP to meet legal requirements. All personnel involved in loading and unloading operations must have had all spill response training in accordance with these plans. Specific personnel must perform certain specialized functions including command and control, as well as all other spill response team functions. All spill team personnel must take part in periodic spill response team drills, in accordance with these plans. A spill of oil is reportable if it creates a sheen on the navigable waters of the United States, or if it otherwise meets certain local quantity criteria. The term navigable waters is quite broad. It may include whether it will create a sheen in storm-water runoff into a nearby stream the next time it rains. If a spill is confined so that it may reasonably be expected not to affect the navigable waters of the United States, it may still be reportable dependent upon the amount involved in accordance with specific permit provisions, and other local, state, and federal requirements. Failure to report oil spills in a proper and timely manner is a criminal offense. It is important that all oil spills be reported immediately up the chain of command. It must be done without any delay whatsoever except for those required for personnel safety. At the appropriate level in the chain of command, the environmental compliance officer shall be notified so that proper, timely notification of the Coast Guard National Spill Response Center, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other local, state, or host-nation regulatory officials may take place. The following information will be required in all spill reports.


        Name of the facility.


        Name(s) of the owner or operator of the facility.


        Location of the facility.


        The nature of the spill. This includes the exact type of petroleum product, the amount spilled, and any terrain feature that may present a problem (such as drainage ditches, canyon, or bluff). Also include how close the spill is to streams, wetlands, endangered species, or other environmentally sensitive items.


        The present status of the deployment of the Army's spill containment and radiation team. If the team has not arrived, give the expected arrival time. Decide if other teams are needed.


        Weather conditions.


        Name of the Army's OSC for the cleanup of the spill and a phone number than he can be reached at all times.

        Date and year of initial facility operation.


        Maximum storage or handling capacity of the facility and normal daily throughput.


        Description of the facility, including maps, flow diagrams, and topographic maps.

        A complete copy of the SPCCP with any amendments.


        The cause(s) of such spills, including a failure analysis of the system or subsystem in which the failure occurred.


        The corrective actions and/or countermeasures taken. This includes a description of equipment repairs and/or replacements, and the cost.


        Other preventive measures taken or planned to keep another spill from occurring.


        If the above information is unavailable, it must not delay the immediate reporting of the spill as soon as possible.


        Other information, as the EPA may reasonably require, pertinent to the plan or spill event.


Designating and Inspecting Facilities


Shore tanks, pump stations, and pumps should be marked order in which they are to be used. All valves, except dock valves, to be used during loading or unloading operations must be opened until the lines are filled. After the lines are packed, the valves must be closed. Then, tanks should be inspected, gaged, and checked for water. All valves must work and must not leak. If blinds are needed, their location should be in the written order.


Sampling Product


Product in shore tanks scheduled to receive product must be sampled and tested as prescribed in the updated MIL-HDBK-200. Product carried by the vessel also must be sampled and tested. It may be possible to board the vessel and take product samples before it is docked to speed unloading.


Preparing Pier Pipelines


Before the vessel is docked, the pier pipelines should be filled, when and where possible, with the same grade of product that is going to be moved. Unless the pipelines are completely filled or empty, there is no way to get an accurate measurement of product issued or received.

Checking Mooring Lines


When the vessel is moored, mooring lines should be taut enough to hold it steady. The lines should also be slack enough to allow for the rise and fall of the tide and the change in the vessel's draft during product transfer. Lines must be watched and adjusted as product is moved and tides rise and fall.


Preparing Gangway and Testing Signal System


As soon as the vessel is docked, vessel personnel should rig a gangway with a safety net underneath so that inspectors and other personnel may board safely. Special equipment may be used if vessel movement makes rigging a gangway difficult. Vessel access must be according to Coast Guard regulations. The need for access applies mainly to large tank vessels where shore personnel witness sampling and gaging. The signal used at the dock to regulate product transfer should be tested.


Notifying the Vessel Master of Fire Protection Services


The master of the vessel must be told of fire protection services available at the pier. These services include power, water, and steam which may be needed to put out fires in the boiler and galley.

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