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The following text prepared is keeping in mind, the resolution A.1072(28) adopted on 4 December 2013, ‘Revised guidelines for a structure of an integrated system of contingency planning for shipboard emergencies’. The following objectives are kept in mind:

  1. Identifying and following common action items to avoid confusion.
  2. Crew is arranged into various teams and the team structure does not change as various emergencies are tackled.
  3. Similar duties are assigned to crew members, as far as practicable.
  4. None of the important duties are missed out.
  5. Precious time is not lost.

Emergency: Grain Shift
Signal: Continuous sounding of ship’s electrical bell or ship’s whistle for not less than 10 seconds. On the ship address, announce, ‘Grain has shifted’.

Sr. NoRankGrain shift
 Bridge Team 
1MasterOverall in charge with station at Bridge. Reduce speed and adjust heading considering emergency. Head in a direction in which, grain shift would be restricted. Prepare for transmission. In of distress / urgency message. (standardized format).Send message also to nearest Port Control, Coast Station and Flag State Communication Centre Rule out various probable causes viz. poor stability, shift of wind direction, accidental filling of a DB, hull damage, Consider weather / rolling in past hours, angle of repose of grain, rolling period, etc. Prepare for record keeping. Follow-up actions.  Call for external response (if necessary) Consider the assistance required of the following kind: Salvage. Mechanical equipment. External response team. Consider probability of proceeding to POR.
63rd OfficerAssist Master in communication, navigation and course keeping. Assist in making reports. Log keeping.
161 H/manOn bridge
 Attack Team 
2Ch OfficerBrief specific duties after head count at site. Do assessment of damage. Monitor pollution. Do assessment of stability, stresses, etc in consultation with Master. In the holds, which are partially loaded, surface of grain is checked with due caution. Ch officer with crew 3, 4 & 5 and saloon 3 and 4 take measurements (ullage, etc). Compare the current soundings with last soundings and soundings at departure from last port.  
9Fitter1Assist Chief Officer at site.
17Crew 3Soundings Deck.
18Crew 4Assist Chief Officer at site. Empty bags, measuring tape.
19Crew 5Assist Chief Office at site. SCBA.
22Salon 3Assist Ch Officer at site
23Salon 4Assist Ch Officer at site
 Engine Room Team
3Ch EngineerOverall In charge E/R. In charge Engine Room Team. Brief specific duties after muster. Monitor ME operations.
84th EngineerHead Count & Assist Chief Engineer in E/R
14ER 1Assist Chief Engineer in E/R
15ER 2Assist Chief Engineer in E/R
 Technical Team
42nd EngineerBallast / shift liquids with Ch Officer to improve stability. Reduce FSE in oil tanks. Assist Chief Officer.
73rd EngineerAssist 2nd Engineer
10Fitter 2Assist 2nd Engineer
11ElectricianAssist 2nd Engineer
24ER 3Assist 2nd Engineer
 Support Team 
52nd OfficerHead Count, Back up to Ch off with medical first aid. Assist Chief Officer
12Crew 1Stretcher. Assist 2nd officer
13Crew 2Assist 2nd officer
20Saloon 1Assist 2nd officer
21Saloon 2Assist 2nd  officer

[A] “Initial actions”
The person who detects the list must call Master. Reduce speed. OOW must head in the direction in which grain shift is stopped or reversed. A general alarm is sounded upon which the Attack Team, Support Team and Technical Teams assemble on deck. The Engine Room Team assembles at a specified location and do head count and report to bridge. The team leaders explain the specific duties to respective teams.
Initial report is prepared and sent to Port Control, Designated Coastal Authority. ‘Emergency Response  Services’, ‘Flag State Report Centre’. Urgency / Distress message is prepared as appropriate, giving name, call sign, position, problem and assistance needed.

[B] Master’s Responsibilities
The Master is responsible for the organizing emergency handling and for the availability and immediate use of the systems and equipment available but should delegate the various tasks to suitable qualified officers. Master conducts a brief meeting with senior officers to discuss on the matters like possible causes of list and finding out the root cause. Record keeping is ensured.

[C] Measures to be taken
Three most important things are:

  1. Sound all tanks and compare them with last set of soundings and departure port soundings.
  2. Assess stability and compare the results with roll period.
  3. From the GZ curve and the list estimate the amount of cargo shifted. This is also confirmed by taking the ullage of grain in the hold.

It must be noted that if the grain was level trimmed at departure last port, in all the holds, then for the grain to shift, vessel must roll more than the angle of repose. Also if the angle of repose less than the angle of hopper the holds are considered self trimming. Another point that must be noted that in low stability situations, vessel my easily shift from a few degrees on one side to a few on the other upon change in direction of wind or use of bunkers on one side. These facts may be helpful in resolving the root cause for the list.

Before monitoring the grain in hold atmosphere must be checked. Weather permitting, ventilation must be done prior entering and safe atmosphere is ensured. From the GZ curve the GZ for the list is read. This is GG1 cos List. But GG1 is w x d / Displacement. Assuming that d is equal to 2/3rd of beam, the quantity shifted can be calculated.

[D] Consider mitigate damage
List in a way is inversely proportional to GM. So GM is improved by removing FSE, filling a DB if permitted. Filling of a tank on high side is not correct as it is not a permanent solution as grain is on the higher areas of the listed side. In case the grain shifts back from high areas the ballast with grain will give higher list.
Once the grain shift is estimated the possibility of filling grain in empty sacks and placing on the other side is considered.

Filling grain in bags however has the following limitations:

  1. The method is effective on only very small ships
  2. Even if most crew are engaged during a day of calm weather the shifted quantity is not likely to be more than 40t. The grain may however be pulled down more effectively and some sort of bundling may be done.

[E] Follow-up actions
To take the ballast on high side in DBs is not advisable in rough weather. This is because a sudden shift of grain on higher side would give extra list. I.e. list due grain plus due ballast. A very careful use of ballast for a very short time may be made on small vessels to aid shifting of grain. This, however must be done only in fair weather, day hours and for strictly monitored period. In the mean time a reassessment of stability is important.

Following are considered:

  1. Weather forecast
  2. Present list versus maximum list which may occur.
    Distance to port of refuge. ERS is updated with present situation.

[F] Steps to initiate external response

Any possible solution to resolve problem may be shared with office / salvors and decision may be taken accordingly. Alternately, a place of refuge may inevitable.

[G]Check necessity of abandoning vessel
The overall assessment of ship regarding stability is made. Present list is compared with maximum list that was anticipated using the heeling moments. There may have been error in estimating the actual heeling moments. The same are ascertained assessing the present situation. Consideration about abandoning is carefully assessed evaluating the risk of further grain shift; distance to nearest place of refuge; and the weather.

[H] Non-conformity report
All non-conformities/deficiencies becoming known by the Master, officers and responsible crew members in connection with measures should be collected, recorded and sent to the company/designated person(s) or other, nominated person(s) as soon as possible.

[I] Restore normal ship routine/operation
The final report is sent to all concerned parties regarding updated status.

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