The Chief Officer is the Master’s deputy and hence his Second-in-Command. He understudies the Master in all aspects of his managerial, professional and commercial duties with a view to qualifying him for eventual command.
He is responsible to the Master for the overall care and carriage of the Cargo, in particular during cargo operations. He is responsible for the overall planning of all cargo procedures. He must keep a navigational watch. However where a ship may carry an extra navigating officer, his watch keeping may be reduced, but not normally eliminated, (exception may be made to allow the navigating officer to undertake a period of day work), at the discretion of the Master..
He is responsible to the Master for:
- Shipboard security in the role of the Ship Security Officer (SSO) as required by the ISPS Code;
- (Together with the Chief Engineer Officer) the safe working practices of all personnel;
- Cargo custody, handling and documentation;
- The preparation of cargo systems for the carriage of cargo and refit requirements;
- Ballast custody and handling as the Designated Ballast Management Officer
- Stability, safe drafts and trim;
- Preparation of safe and suitable loading/discharging plans using the loading computer, to ensure that at no time do cargo/ballast operations exceed safe stresses and that the vessel always sails complying with damage stability criteria;
- Maintenance and testing of deck portable fire-fighting equipment and lifesaving appliances;
- Anti-pollution measures;
- Deck maintenance under the Chief Engineer Officer;
- He is in charge of the medical locker and is responsible to the Master for first aid and medical treatment;
- He has overall responsibility to the Master for the vessels seaworthiness and security with regard to proceeding to sea;
- Maintaining the Deck Information Book and all related records;
- Ensure that all deck officers are fully conversant with safe operational practices and are made fully aware of the correct methods and practices of ballasting, use of cargo pumps, valves etc. This is especially important with respect to the Second Officer who should be able to take over the Chief Officers duties at any time;
- Cargo Watch at Loading and Discharge ports;
- Maintain regular checks on fixed and portable gas detection apparatus;
- Ensure all cargo/ballast/inerting valves are operational and turned on a regular basis;
- Responsible for the inspection of void spaces
- The training of Deck and Marine Cadets and monitoring their progress.
- The Chief Officer must carry out any lawful command and delegated duty as issued by the Master.
IN ADDITION FOR LIQUIFIED GAS CARRIERS:
- He must assist the Cargo/Gas Engineer officer in carrying out routine tasks;
- Routine testing, in which he is to assist the Cargo/Gas Engineer , of cargo systems, safety and security systems and inner hull inspections whilst at sea;
- Warm-up/ cool-down, inerting and aeration prior to and subsequent to refit or repair;
- Ensure all Deck officers liaise fully with the Cargo/Gas Engineer;
- Special consideration during operations to the containment system with regards to the sloshing damage that may be caused by incorrectly filled tanks.
- While he retains overall responsibility for all aspects of cargo handling care, he will hand over operational control of the cargo and the responsibility of the deck watch to the Officer of the Watch (OOW) during off duty periods whilst the vessel is in port.
- While he retains overall responsibility for all aspects of cargo handling care, he will hand over operational control of the cargo systems to the Cargo/Gas Engineer and keep him/her fully informed of all relevant aspects of operations during sea passages and when engaged in navigational duties during port entry and departure.
- The handover between the Cargo/Gas Engineer and the Chief Officer shall be a formal procedure to avoid any ambiguity over who is in operational control and is to be recorded so in the deck.