The requirement of loading instrument for bulk carriers is governed by SOLAS chapter XII, regulation 11. Even though there is no statutory requirement for loading computer onboard other ships, classification societies require all tankers of more than 100 meters to have type approved loading instrument. even otherwise so, Loadicator has rather been a necessity onboard ships. And once we have something onboard, it is duty of ship staff to ensure that it complies with its testing and record keeping procedures.
There are two parts of the question. First relates to the documents and certificates a ship is required to have onboard with respect to loadicators and second the testing requirement of the loadicator.
Documents required for Loadicator
There are three main documents ship should have for it to be actually complying with Loadicator requirements. These are
Class certificate for loadicator: This certificate is issued by the class and gives the details of the loadicator software as well as the hardware on which it is installed, including the details of the Make, model and serial number of the computer. Master and chief officer must ensure that the approved loading computer’s details matches with the details in this certificate. The certificate may even sometimes have the printer’s detail that is connected with the approved loadicator.
If you do not find this certificate onboard, you should check in the class survey status report if the loading computer is included in the list. If yes, the certificate can be asked from the class through your office. If No, then shipping office need to consult ship’s classification society for approval of loading computer.
Class approved Loadicator Manual: This is the user manual of the loadicator which is from the maker of the loadicator software. A class approved copy of the user manual should be onboard. If there was ever a class change associated with the ship, it is important to ensure that approval stamp of the current classification society is endorsed on the manual.
Class approved loadicator test conditions: To be very clear, these are not the conditions in the stability booklet of the ship. The stability conditions in the stability booklet are made by the yard and these are not the print outs from the loadicator software. These are also not the test conditions stamped by the class during annual class surveys. These are usually in the form of a booklet specifically titled “ test conditions for loadicator” with class stamp. These are usually provided during yard delivery of the vessel or after the loadicator is installed for the first time and approved by the class.
Once you have these three documents / certificates, you are OK with the certification part.
Testing requirements for the Loadicator
Testing by ship staff: The Loadicator is required to be tested periodically ( interval to be as per SMS of the vessel) by ship staff for its accuracy. The test procedure includes choosing a text condition from the approved test conditions, entering the exact same data in the loadicator and comparing the results with the approved test conditions. The important point to note is that the data need to be manually entered and not opened from a pre-saved file as it is not acceptable to classification society as well as OCIMF to simply retrieve a stored test condition and comparing it with approved test condition.
Annual testing of Loadicator in presence of Class : During annual class surveys, loadicator need to be tested for its accuracy in presence of a class surveyor. The procedure of testing is same as the quarterly testing but in here the class surveyor would ask for the print out of the test condition and he would stamp it and give it to the ship for ship’s records.
About Capt Rajeev Jassal
Capt. Rajeev Jassal has sailed for over 19 years mainly on crude oil, product and chemical tankers. He holds MBA in shipping & Logistics degree from London. He has done extensive research on quantitatively measuring Safety culture onboard and safety climate ashore which he believes is the most important element for safer shipping.