Chemical Tanker Guide Online
Home || Chemical hazards || Various chemicals || Cargo Stowage || Care ||Tank cleaning ||Handling equipments ||



Ship /shore safety checklist for modern chemical tankers

Cargo loading and unloading operation of seagoing chemical carriers involved numerous critical procedure that need to be precisely monitored. Below Ship /shore check items are described as guidance only.


1. Is the ship securely moored?

Due regard should be given to the need for adequate fendering arrangements. Ships should remain adequately secured in their moorings. Alongside piers or quays, ranging of the ship should be prevented by keeping all mooring lines taut: attention should be given to the movement of the ship caused by wind, currents, tides or passing ships and the operation in progress. Wire ropes and fibre ropes should not be used together in the same direction (i.e. breasts, springs, head or stern) because of the difference in their elastic properties.

Once moored, ships fitted with automatic tension winches should not use such winches in the automatic mode. The wind velocity at which loading arms should be disconnected, cargo operations stopped or the vessel unberthed should be stated.

Means should be provided to enable quick and safe release of the ship in case of an emergency. Irrespective of the mooring method used, the emergency release operation should be agreed, taking into account the possible risks involved. In ports where anchors are required to be used, special consideration should be given to this matter. Anchors not in use should be properly secured.

2. Are emergency towing wires correctly positioned?

Emergency towing wires (fire wires) should be positioned both on the off-shore bow and quarter of the ship. At a buoy mooring, emergency towing wires should be positioned on the side opposite to the hose string. - There are various methods for rigging emergency towing wires currently in use. Some terminals may require a particular method to be used and the ship should be advised accordingly.

3. Is there safe access between ship and shore?

The access should be positioned as far away from the manifolds as practicable. The means of access to the ship should be safe and may consist of an appropriate gangway or accommodation ladder with a properly secured safety net fitted to it.

Particular attention to safe access should be given where the difference in level between the point of access on the vessel and the jetty or quay is large or likely to become large. When terminal access facilities are not available and a ship's gangway is used, there should be an adequate landing area on the berth to provide the gangway with a sufficient clear run of space and so maintain safe and convenient access to the ship at all states of tide and changes in the ship's freeboard. Near the access ashore, appropriate life-saving equipment should be provided by the terminal. A lifebuoy should be available on board the ship near the gangway or accommodation ladder. The access should be safely and properly illuminated during darkness. Persons who have no legitimate business on board, or who do not have the master's permission, should be refused access to the ship.





The terminal should control access to the jetty or berth in agreement with the ship.
Chemical tanker precautions at berth

Fig:Chemical tanker general safety precautions at berth


4. Is the ship ready to move under its own power?

The ship should be able to move under its own power at short notice, unless permission to immobilise the ship has been granted by the port authority and the terminal manager. Certain conditions may have to be met for permission to be granted.

5. Is there an effective deck watch in attendance on board and adequate supervision on the terminal and on the ship?

The operation should be under constant control both on ship and shore. Supervision should be aimed at preventing the development of hazardous situations; if however such a situation arises, the controlling personnel should have adequate means available to take corrective action. The controlling personnel on ship and shore should maintain an effective communication with their respective supervisors. All personnel connected with the operations should be familiar with the dangers of the substances handled.

6. Is the agreed ship/shore communication system operative?

Communication should be maintained in the most efiicient way between the responsible officer on duty on the ship and the responsible person ashore.

When telephones are used, the telephone both on board and ashore should be continuously manned by a person who can immediately contact his respective supervisor. Additionally, the supervisor should have a facility to override all calls. When RT/VHF systems are used the units should preferably be portable and carried by the supervisor or a person who can get in touch with his respective supervisor immediately. Where fixed systems are used the guidelines for telephones should apply.

The selected system of communication, together with the necessary information on telephone numbers and/or channels to be used, should be recorded on the appropriate form. This form should be signed by both ship and shore representatives. The telephone and portable RT/VHF systems should comply with the appropriate safety requirements.

7. Has the emergency signal to be used by the ship and shore been explained and understood?

The agreed signal to be used in the event of an emergency arising ashore or on board should be clearly understood by shore and ship personnel.

8. Have the procedures for cargo, bunker and ballast handling been agreed?

The procedures for the intended operation should be pre-planned. They should be discussed and agreed upon by the ship and shore representatives prior to the start of the operations. Agreed arrangements should be formally recorded and signed by both ship and terminal representatives. Any change in the agreed procedure that could affect the operation should be discussed by both parties and agreed upon. After agreement has been reached by both parties, substantial changes should be recorded in writing as soon as possible and in sufficient time before the change in procedure takes place. In any case, the change should be recorded in writing within the working period of those supervisors on board and ashore who reached the agreement.

The operations should be suspended and all deck and vent openings closed on the approach of an electrical storm. The properties of the substances handled, the equipment of ship and shore installation, the ability of the ship's crew and shore personnel to execute the necessary operations and to control the operations sufficiently are factors which should be taken into account when ascertaining the possibility of handling a number of substances concurrently.

The manifold areas both on board and ashore should be safely and properly illuminated during darkness. The initial and maximum loading rates, topping off rates and normal stopping times should be agreed, having regard to:

• the nature of the cargo to be handled;

• the arrangement and capacity of the ship's cargo lines and gas venting systems;

• the maximum allowable pressure and flow rate in the ship/shore hoses and loading arms;

• precautions to avoid accumulation of static electricity;

• any other flow control limitations.

A formal record to this effect should be made as above.

9. Have the hazards associated with toxic substances in the cargo being handled been identified and understood?

Many tanker cargoes contain components which are known to be hazardous to human health. In order to minimise the impact on personnel, information on cargo constituents should be available during the cargo transfer to enable proper precautions to be adopted. In addition, some port states require such information to be readily available during cargo transfer and in the event of an accidental spill.

The information provided should identify the constituents by chemical name, name in common usage, UN number and the maximum concentration expressed as a percentage by volume.

10. Has the emergency shutdown procedure been agreed?

An emergency shutdown procedure should be agreed between ship and shore, formally recorded and signed by both the skip and terminal representatives.

The agreement should state the circumstances in which operations have to be stopped immediately.

Due regard should be given to the possible introduction of dangers associated with the emergency shutdown procedure.

11. Are fire hoses and firefighting equipment on board and ashore positioned and ready for immediate use?

Fire fighting equipment both on board and ashore should be correctly positioned and ready for immediate use. Adequate units of fixed or portable equipment should be stationed to cover the ship's cargo deck and on the jetty. The ship and shore fire main systems should be pressurised, or be capable of being pressurised at short notice. Both ship and shore should ensure that their fire main systems can be interconnected in a quick and easy way, using the international shore fire connection if necessary.

12. Are cargo and bunker hoses /arms in good condition, properly rigged and appropriate for the service intended?

Hoses should be in a good condition and properly fitted and rigged so as to prevent strain and stress beyond design limitations. All flange connections should be fully bolted and any other types of connections should be properly secured. It should be ensured that the hoses/arms are constructed of a material suitable for the substance to be handled, taking into account its temperature and the maximum operating pressure. Cargo hoses should be properly marked and identifiable with regard to their suitability for the intended operation.

13. Are scuppers effectively plugged and drip trays in position, both on board and ashore?

Where applicable all scuppers on board and drain holes ashore should be properly plugged during the operations. Accumulation of water should be drained off periodically. Both ship and jetty manifolds should ideally be provided with fixed drip trays; in their absence portable drip trays should be used.

All drip trays should be emptied in an appropriate manner whenever necessary but always after completion of the specific operation. When only corrosive liquids or refrigerated gases are being handled, the scuppers may be kept open, provided that an ample supply of water is available at all times in the vicinity of the manifolds.

14. Are unused cargo and bunker connections properly secured with blank flanges fully bolted?

Unused cargo and bunker line connections should be closed and blanked. Blank flanges should be fully bolted and other types of fittings, if used, properly secured.

15. Are sea and overboard discharge valves, when not in use, closed and visibly secured?

Care should be taken to ensure that sea and overboard discharge valves are closed and visibly secured as an important pollution avoidance measure on ships where cargo lines and ballast systems are interconnected. Remote operating controls for such valves should be identified in order to avoid inadvertent opening. If appropriate, the security of the valves in question should be checked visually.

16. Are all cargo and bunker tank lids closed?

Apart from the openings in use for tank venting all openings to cargo tanks should be closed and gas-tight. Correct cargo gauging procedures will control which ullaging and sampling points may be opened for the short periods necessary for ullaging and sampling. Closed ullaging and sampling systems should be used where required by international, national or local regulations and agreements.

17. Is the agreed tank venting system being used?

Agreement should be reached, and recorded, as to the venting system for the operation, taking into account the nature of the cargo and international, national or local regulations and agreements. There are three basic systems for venting tanks:

• open to atmosphere via open ullage ports, protected by suitable flame screens;

• fixed venting systems (which includes inert gas systems);

18. Has the operation of the PIV valves and /or high velocity vents been verified using the check-lift facility, where fitted?

The operation of the P/V valves and/or high velocity vents should be checked using the testing facility provided by the manufacturer. Furthermore, it is imperative that whilst doing so, an adequate visual or other check is made to ensure that the check-lift is actually operating the valve. On occasion a seized or stiff vent has caused the check-lift drive pin to shear and the ship's personnel to assume, with disastrous consequences, that the vent was operational.

19. Are hand torches of an approved type? and

20. Are portable VHF transceivers of an approved type?

Battery operated hand torches and VHF radio-telephone sets should be of a safe type which is approved by a competent authority. Ship/shore telephones should comply with the requirements for explosion proof construction except when placed in a safe space in the accommodation.

VHF radio telephone sets may operate in the internationally agreed wave bands only. All such equipment should be well maintained. Damaged units, even though they may be capable of operation, should not be used.

21. Are the ship's main radio transmitter aerials earthed and radars switched off?

The ship's main radio station should not be used during the ship's stay in port, except for receiving purposes. The main transmitting aerials should be disconnected and earthed. Satellite communications equipment may be used normally unless advised otherwise. The ship's radar installation should not be used unless the master, in consultation with the terminal manager, has established the conditions under which the installation may be used safely.

22. Are electric cables to portable electrical equipment disconnected from power?

The use of portable electrical equipment on wandering leads should be prohibited in hazardous zones during cargo operations, and the equipment preferably removed from the hazardous zone.

Telephone cables in use for the ship/shore communication system should preferably be routed outside the hazardous zone. Whenever this is not feasible, the cable should be so positioned and protected that no danger arises from its use.

23. Are all external doors and ports in the accommodation closed?

External doors, windows and port-holes in the accommodation should be closed during cargo operations. These doors should be clearly marked as being required to be closed during such operations, but at no time should they be locked.

24. Are window type air conditioning units disconnected? and

25. Are air conditioning intakes which may permit the entry of cargo vapours closed?

Window type air conditioning units should be disconnected from their power supply. Air conditioning and ventilator intakes which are likely to draw in air from the cargo area should be closed. Air conditioning units which are located wholly within the accommodation and which do not draw in air from the outside may remain in operation.

26. Are the requirements for the use of galley equipment and other cooking appliances being observed?

Open fire systems may be used in galleys whose construction, location and ventilation system provides protection against entry of flammable gases.

In case where the galley dose not comply with the above, open fire systems may be used provided the master, in consultation and agreement with the terminal representative, has ensured that precautions have been taken against the entry and accumulation of flammable gases.

On ships with stem discharge lines which are in use, open fire systems in galley equipment should not be allowed unless the ship is constructed to permit their use in such circumstances.

27. Are smoking regulations being observed?

Smoking on board the ship may only occur in places specified by the master in consultation with the terminal manager or his representative.

No smoking is allowed on the jetty and the adjacent area except in buildings and places specified by the terminal manager in consultation with the master.

Places which are directly accessible from the outside should not be designated as places where smoking is permitted. Buildings, places and rooms designated as areas where smoking is permitted should be clearly marked as such.

28. Are naked light regulations being observed?

A naked light or open fire comprises the following: flame, spark formation, naked electric light or any surface with a temperature that is equal to or higher than the minimum ignition temperature of the products handled in the operation. The use of open fire on board the ship, and within a distance of 25 metres of the ship, should be prohibited, unless all applicable regulations have been met and agreement reached by the port authority, terminal manager and the master. This distance may have to be extended for ships of a specialised nature, such as gas tankers.






29. Is there provision for an emergency escape?

In addition to the means of access referred to in question 3, a safe and quick emergency escape route should be available both on board and ashore. On the ship it may consist of a lifeboat ready for immediate use, preferably at the after end of the ship.

30. Are sufficient personnel on board and ashore to deal with an emergency?

At all times during the ship's stay at a terminal, a sufficient number of personnel should be present on board the ship and in the shore installation to deal with an emergency.

31. Are adequate insulating means in place in the ship/shore connection?

Unless measures are taken to break the continuous electrical path between ship and shore pipework provided by the ship/shore hoses or metallic arms, stray electric currents, mainly from corrosion prevention systems, can cause electric sparks at the flange faces when hoses are being connected and disconnected.

The passage of these currents is usually prevented by an insulating flange inserted at each jetty manifold outlet or incorporated in the construction of metallic arms. Alternatively, the electrical discontinuity may be provided by the inclusion of one length of electrically discontinuous hose in each hose string.

It should be ascertained that the means of electrical discontinuity is in place and in good condition, and that it is not being by-passed by contact with an electrically conductive material.

32. Have measures been taken to ensure sufficient pump-room ventilation?

Pump-rooms should be mechanically ventilated and the ventilation system, which should maintain a safe atmosphere throughout the pump-room, should be kept running throughout the operation.

33. If the ship is capable of closed loading, have the requirements for closed operations been agreed?

It is a requirement of many terminals that when the ship is ballasting, loading and discharging, it operates without recourse to opening ullage and sighting ports. Such ships will require the means for closed monitoring of tank contents, either by a fixed gauging system or by using portable equipment passed through a vapour lock, and preferably backed up by an independent overfill alarm system.

34. Has a vapour return line been connected?

If required, a vapour return line may have to be used to return flammable vapours from the cargo tanks to shore.

35. If a vapour return line is connected, have operating parameters been agreed?

The maximum and minimum operating pressures and any other constraints associated with the operation of the vapour return system should be discussed and agreed by ship and shore personnel.

36. Are ship emergency fire control plans located externally?

A set of fire control plans should be permanently stored in a prominently marked weathertight enclosure outside the deckhouse for the assistance of shoreside fire fighting personnel. A crew list should also be included in this enclosure.


If the ship is fitted with an inert gas ( IG) system which is to be used, the following questions should be answered.

37. Is the inert gas system fully operational and in good working order?

The inert gas system should be in safe working condition with particular reference to all interlocking trips and associated alarms, deck seal, non-return valves, pressure regulating control system, main deck IG line pressure indicator, individual tank IG valves (when fitted) and deck P/V breaker.

Individual tank IG valves (if fitted) should have easily identified and fully functioning open/close position indicators.

38. Are deck seals or equivalent in good working order?

It is essential that the deck seal arrangements are in a safe condition. In particular, the water supply arrangements to the seals and the proper functioning of associated alarms should be checked.

39. Are liquid levels in PIV breakers correct?

Checks should be made to ensure the liquid level in the P/V breaker complies with manufacturer's recommendations.

40. Have the fixed and portable oxygen analysers been calibrated and are they working properly?

All fixed and portable oxygen analysers should be calibrated and checked as required by the company and/or manufacturer's instructions. The in-line oxygen analyser/recorder and sufficient portable oxygen analysers should be working properly.

41. Are fixed IG pressure and oxygen content recorders working?

All recording equipment should be switched on and operating correctly.

42. Are all cargo tank atmospheres at positive pressure with an oxygen content of 8% or less by volume?

Prior to commencement of cargo operations, each cargo tank atmosphere should be checked to verify an oxygen content of 8% or less by volume. Inerted cargo tanks should at all times be kept at a positive pressure.

43. Are all the individual tank IG valves (if fitted) correctly set and locked?

For both loading and discharge operations it is normal and safe to keep all individual tank IG supply valves (if fitted) open in order to prevent inadvertent under or over pressurisation. In this mode of operation each tank pressure will be the same as the deck main IG pressure and thus the PJV breaker will act as a safety valve in case of excessive over or under pressure.

If individual tank IG supply valves are closed for reasons of potential vapour contamination or de-pressurisation for gauging etc., then the status of the valve should be clearly indicated to all those involved in cargo operations. Each individual tank IG valve should be fitted with a locking device under the control of a responsible officer. Chemical tankers may be fitted with an alternative and equivalent means of control for isolating each tank. The status of such control means should be checked.

44. Are all the persons in charge of cargo operations aware that in the case off failure of the inert gas plant, discharge operations should cease, and the terminal be advised?

In the case of failure of the IG plant, cargo discharge, de-ballasting and tank cleaning should cease and the terminal be advised. Under no circumstances should the ship's officers allow the atmosphere in any tank to fall below atmospheric pressure.


Tank cleaning questions

A. Are tank cleaning operations planned during the ship's stay alongside the shore installation?

B. If so, have the port authority and terminal authority been informed?

These questions are intended to inform the terminal and port authority of the ship's intention regarding tank cleaning activities.



Related Info:

Ship shore safety checklist while alongside a terminal

Isolation of cargo tanks and piping systems

Ship shore cargo connection safe method

Venting of cargo tanks safety procedure

Ship to ship transfer operation

Controlling the atmosphere in cargo tanks with nitrogen supplied from shore







Related info:

Effects of Tugs and other craft alongside chemical tankers

Primary means of cargo connection between ship and shore

Means of access (gangways or accommodation ladders) safety precautions

Ship/Shore Safety Checklist

How to prepare a cargo loading / discharge plan ?

Technical readiness prior loading operations

Voyage planning and related considerations

Cargo sampling safety precautions

Cargo calculation

Signing a bill of lading and related guideline

Preparation for cargo operation

Preparing a cargo tank atmosphere

Cargo unloading operation safety precautions

Liaison between ship and shore

How to prevent cargo pipeline leakage

Ship shore safety checklist while alongside a terminal


Reference publications

  1. IBC Code / BCH code
  2. International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT)
  3. ICS Chemical Tanker Safety Guide
  4. Ship’s “Procedure and Arrangements Manual” (Approved by Class)
  5. Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk
  6. Ship’s “VEC System Operational Manual” (Approved by Class)
  7. Ship to Ship Transfer Guide (Petroleum)
  8. Tank Cleaning Manual




Other Info:

Voyage planning and related considerations

Preparation for cargo operation

Preparing a cargo tank atmosphere

Cargo unloading operation safety precautions

Liaison between ship and shore

Cargo line leakage countermeasures

Checklist for handling dangerous liquid chemicals in bulk

Recommended temperature monitoring equipments onboard

Practical example of solving tank cleaning problems

Pre-cleaning /washing of cargo tanks

Risk & hazards of chemical contamination onboard

Cargo compatibility and reactivity of various chemical cargo

Poisoning and required first aid treatment onboard

Chemical tanker safe mooring practice

Determining presence of contaminants in chemical cargo

How to avoid solidification in cargo tanks ?

Cargo segregation requirement for chemical tankers

How to arrange disposal of tank cleaning waste ?

Restrictions on discharge cargo residue into sea

Retention of slops on chemical tankers

Vapour emission control requirement for chemical tankers

Handling self reactive chemicals

Handling of toxic chemical cargoes

Pre-loading meeting safety consideration

How to determine chemical cargo temperatures at different level ?

How to take cargo samples ?

How to avoid solidification in cargo tanks ?

Cargo line clearance requirement for chemical tankers

How to arrange disposal of tank cleaning waste ?

Care of cargo pums - risk of pump overload or underload


Main Info pages!

Home page ||| Chemical hazards ||| Cargo planning & Stowage ||| Cargo loading ||| Cargo documents ||| Safe stability ||| Cargo care ||| Preparation for unloading ||| Inert gas systems |||Gas freeing ||| Nitrogen handling ||| Chemical handling Safe practice |||Handling equipments ||| Cargo & Ballast pumps ||| Cargo tanks |||Tank cleaning |||Special cargoes |||Spills emergencies |||Fire protection














Chemicaltankerguide.com is merely an informational site about various aspects of chemical tankers and safety tips that may be particular value to those working in: Chemical Handling, Chemical Storage, Liquefied Chemical Suppliers, Chemical Shipping, Chemical Transportation, Chemical Terminals, Bulk Chemical Services and Chemical Processing. If you are interested in finding out more about chemical tanker guideline please visit IMO official website. For any comment please Contact us

Copyright © 2011 Chemical Tanker Guide.com All rights reserved.