There are times when the paperwork seems endless and a condition of mental boredom and of being non-complacent props out of most of us. But the fact of the matter is that shipboard record keeping is here to stay. So in continuation to the previous list of logbooks that are required to be maintained legally and legibly onboard, let’s take a look at a few more logs that require the ship officer’s attention.
This log goes unattended to at times. Non-complacency and avoidance are the two known major factors for the medical documentation not being up to date. It’s well understood that the ship’s officers are no more than passive first aid providers. This should be all the more a reason to understand medicine to an extent where proper aid could be given at the right time. This being obvious, the aid provided must be documented in the statutory log provided onboard. Being at sea makes the seafarers helpless. Hence it’s imperative that, atleast, the medical paperwork is updated with accurate or best known details of the following.
1. Entries should mention under what circumstances the medical aid was provided. The nature of the injury or illness, their treatments and progress (if any) must be mentioned to the best knowledge.
2. Recording even a simple dosage of a pain killer or even an anti-inflammatory drug is vital.
3. The medical log may have an inventory list of the drugs onboard attached to it for easier reference.
4. Master or an Officer designated for upkeep of the medicines is the only personnel onboard to oversee medical related issues onboard. Entries should be made without delay with signatures, both of the patient and of the medical provider. Master to endorse the same.
5. Apart from this being a legal obligation, recording of injuries and illnesses aid the owners and the P & I Clubs for settlement of further claims. This in turn enables the Master to defend himself and his owners against later claims and allegations made by the then injured/sick seafarer.
GMDSS Radio Log
A Radio log with adherence to the SOLAS Ch V and Merchant Shipping regulations is required to be maintained onboard most merchant ships / vessels. It should be retained onboard on the navigating bridge well-situated near the radio equipment. Again, it is liable for compulsory examination during surveys.
The person designated for the radio record keeping, generally the senior navigating officer or radio officer (if onboard) is sole responsible for its upkeep. Like all official logs, this one too comes with a leaflet of instructions on how to enter the details, but personally, I have seen people making ambiguous entries for even simple operations such as testing the radio equipment for example. Anyway, let’s try to clear the air for some:
– As most logs, the ship’s particulars are entered as required. But one has to also update the details of the existing radio operators every time the officers change hands.
– A synopsis of all interactions/communications related to Distress, Urgency or Safety must be entered clearly along with the ship’s position, date and times. All the follow-up communications, actions taken by the vessel, etc. must be recorded as evidence to the events that followed over radio. One must not forget recording the SSB / VHF radio frequencies over which the communications took place.
– Breakdown or malfunctioning of the radio equipment, breakdown of communications with coastal or land earth stations must be logged down to ones best knowledge. This saves the day for any inquiries propping up on related issues.
– Where testing of the equipment is concerned, details must be provided to the ‘T’. This means, even if the receiving stations could not respond or acknowledge back an entry should be made along with the frequencies over which the radio equipment was tested and if calling out a coast or a land earth station, details of such station to be recorded. If the testing is carried out on batteries only (which normally should be the case) then such details must be logged.
– Entries of the vessel arriving and departing port are also noted.
– It is required by the flag to log and attach hard copies of Distress, Urgency, Navtex, EGC, NBDP, DSC, etc. convenient to the entry made in the book.
Ship Security Log Book
Security of seafarers has been a hot topic lately. Considering all the security measures that are taken by the vessels as precautionary, record keeping has become all the more tedious. The ship security officer is the one responsible for the log books’ care and upkeep. SOLAS Ch XI-2 provides with all the fundamental obligations the vessel needs to follow on shipboard security. However, let’s take a quick look at the essentials of record keeping for security related matters onboard.
– Firstly one should ensure that an updated list of last 10 calls at port is attached with the log book.
– Other notable entries must include a record that the ship has a valid International Ship Security Certificate and its issuing authority. Having a record of the necessary documents handy enables a smooth inspection process if the vessel undergoes one.
– The current and past onboard ‘Security levels’ (read level nos. 1, 2 or 3 as per SOLAS/ISPS Code) must be recorded along with a brief statement recording the Security level change over position, whether while arriving or departing a port or at sea while transiting through waters infested with pirates that pose a security threat to the ship and her crew.
– All security measures including any additional especially the ship specific ones should be recorded considering that the ship and her crew are vulnerable to security breaches at any point while in port or at sea.
– Drills, trainings conducted must be logged with a separate sheet containing the names and signatures of the crew participating and the briefing / debriefing details.
The logs stated above are just a few important ones in a sea of log keeping procedures followed onboard. Over the years, ISM has paved the way for better documentation. This has in fact resulted in streamlining record keeping as most of us seafarers are also experienced and competent in following the ISM procedures. Overall, the idea is to not only ‘full up’ the log book, but to ‘fill it up’ with your best known abilities while not straying away from the facts.