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Table of contents


A. The loading conference or key meeting
Following completion of the pre-loading inspections of the vessel, the Master or Chief Officer should conduct a meeting with the vessel’s personnel involved in the loading operations and the terminal. The purpose is to communicate the fullest information necessary to the vessel and the shore terminal personnel for the safe conduct of the loading operations. The names and respective employers and clients of all personnel attending the loading conference should be recorded.

B. Information to be obtained from the terminal
The vessel’s officers (Chief Officer) should obtain the following information from the shore terminal

Cargo information
  • grade(s) and quantity of the cargo(es) to be loaded
  • cargo loading sequence
  • specific gravity of the cargo(es)
  • number of shore tanks to be loaded from and quantity, temperature and gravity of the cargo in each
  • material data sheet for each cargo, including all hazards associated with handling of and treatment for exposure, inhalation and ingestion of this material
  • if H2S cargo, the H2S concentration (ppm) by weight in oil
  • cargo loading rates
  • number of shore pumps to be used; will loading be started by pump or gravity flow
  • shore pipeline displacements planned before, between and after loading/grades
  • cargo loading stops required for shore tank changes or sampling and testing
  • number and sizes of hoses/arms to be used
  • operating envelope of the loading arms and any freeboard restrictions.

    The communication system and phrases/signals to be used for
  • placing the shore terminal operator on standby
  • stopping the loading (while on standby)
  • emergency stop.

    Further essential information to be obtained and procedures to be agreed are
  • the required standby time is to be provided in advance of stopping the shore pumps
  • operation of emergency stop device (if provided)
  • emergency telephone numbers of terminal management personnel, local hospitals, police and fire services
  • work shift arrangement on the pier/dock.

    A copy of any particular facility regulations which must be observed by the vessel’s officers and crew, including
  • pollution prevention procedures and rules
  • procedures in the event of fire, explosion, injury, or other emergency.

    Finally, the weather forecast should be obtained.

    C. Information to be provided to the terminal
    The vessel’s officers (Chief Officer) should provide the terminal representative with the following information

  • copy of the ballast discharge (if applicable and allowed as per national regulations) and cargo loading plans
  • information regarding the last cargo(es) carried and method of tank preparation used to prepare for the nominated cargo(es)
  • maximum acceptable loading rates for starting, routine loading and topping off tanks
  • maximum acceptable vapour pressures, temperatures and cargo manifold loading pressures
  • condition of inert gas plant and condition of inerted tanks; venting procedures to be used while loading
  • quantities of ballast or slops to be pumped ashore and contents of the slops
  • preferred sequence of loading (if multiple grade cargo)
  • procedures for changing grades of cargo
  • any tank washing/flushing to be performed
  • vessel’s contingency plan for responding to an oil pollution incident
  • procedure for authorising personnel from shore to proceed on board the vessel according to the SSP.

    For a checklist for ship-terminal communications while loading, please refer to Annexes 3.1 and 3.2.

    D. Loading plan and method of loading – operational agreement
    Based on the information obtained during the meeting with the terminal representative the Chief Officer should prepare a bar chart time diagram to illustrate the anticipated loading operation. He/she should review the time diagram with the Master and, after any necessary revisions, give a copy to the shore terminal and post a copy in the cargo control room (CCR).

    The time diagram indicates graphically the sequence and timing of the various steps of the loading operation and provides an indication of the time when the operations should be completed.

    The declaration of inspection, exchange of information and the loading plan together constitute an operational agreement for the loading of the vessel. This agreement is complete when and only when the person in charge of the shore terminal and the person in charge of the vessel have both signed the declaration of inspection.