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TAKING OVER COMMAND

• have ready a check list of “things to do on joining”;

• note (from the quayside) the condition of the visible exterior of the vessel, including draught marks, load line, etc.;

• note the standard of rigging and maintenance of the accommodation ladder or gangway, and its accessories;

• note the standard of maintenance of decks and visible life-saving appliances and fire-fighting equipment;

• take delivery from the off-going master of all official documents and sight same;

• make an Official Log Book entry recording delivery of the documents relating to the ship and its crew, and sign it jointly with the off-going master;

• obtain the combination number of the ship’s safe and all associated keys from the off-going master;

• sight all owners’, managers’, classification and P&I documentation in the master’s custody;

Before sailing, the new master should:

• receive familiarization training in accordance with STCW & ISM;

• read the relevant clauses of the charter party or bill of lading;

• note any owner’s or charterer’s voyage instructions and/or side letters or addenda to the charter party;

• consult the chief engineer on the condition of the machinery and the bunker fuel and lubricating oil situation, ensuring that any “safety surplus” of fuel required by the charter party to be carried is on board in addition to normal passage requirements;

• consult the chief officer on the situation with cargo, stability, ballast, fresh water, stores, maintenance of ship, etc.;

• examine the passage plan, if already made, for the next leg of the voyage, and consult appropriate officer;

• check that all required charts and nautical publications are on board;

• check that all crew are on board as required by the Safe Manning Document;

• check the ISM documentation for outstanding non-conformities (which may have a time limit for action);

• write standing orders;

• satisfy himself that he has personally exercised due diligence in ensuring that the vessel is seaworthy at the start of the voyage;

• make a full inspection of the ship as soon as practicable and, if possible, before taking the ship to sea.

Read More: Business & Command

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