10 Points Marine Engineers Must Consider Before Handing Over Watch at Port

As a responsible marine engineer working in the ship’s engine room, it is his duty to do whatever it takes for ensuring the safety of the ship and its crew. Following the correct procedures not only while carrying out engine room watch but also during handing over or taking over the watch, is the key to ensure overall ship safety.

Handing over the watch at sea and handing over the watch at port are two different things which marine engineers must know. The officer on watch must follow the instructions as stated by the chief engineer and company procedures while handing over the watch to the relieving officer.

Related reading : 12 Ways to Master the Engine Room Watch Keeping Procedure. 

Mentioned below are important points marine engineers must note before handling over watch at ports:

1. Information about Port Regulations and Local Laws

Every port has its own set of regulations and local requirements regarding pollution of water, ship’s affluent, ship readiness etc. Failure in following these laws can lead to heavy fines on the vessel, detention of the master/ duty watch keeper and sometimes even imprisonment. The officer on watch must ensure that all important information regarding local regulations is passed on to the relieving engineer.

Related Reading : Reducing Pollution from Ships

2. Lines of Communication

The officer on watch must inform about the important lines / channels of communication between the ship and shore personnel for emergencies or in case of assistance required. He should also know when to communicate with the deck department. The relieving engineer must also be informed regarding all the important people to contact during emergency situations.

3. Standing and Other Important Orders

All standing orders of the day along with other important orders related to ship’s operation, maintenance and repairs must be passed on to the relieving officer.

In case bunkering procedure is going on, the officer on watch should inform the incoming officer on the quantity already taken, level of tanks, and time remaining for the completion.


4. Condition of Engine Room Machinery

All important or unusual information regarding any of the ship’s machinery such as boiler, auxiliary engine, main engine etc. must be informed. In case any parameter reaches critical situation, the respective issue and the machinery should be informed to the relieving officer while handing over the watch.

INA engine room machinery

5. Status of Repair and Maintenance Work

In case any maintenance or repair work is going on on any particular machinery in the engine room, the officer on watch must note it down in the engine room along with its current status at the time of handing over the watch. Moreover, the officer on watch must try his best to complete any maintenance or job assigned to him before completing his watch.

6. Any Special Orders of Operation

It might be possible that the ship would leave the port during the watch of the relieving officer. It is therefore necessary that he is informed about any mode of ship operation dictated by contamination, weather, visibility, ice, shallow water, damage etc.

7. Nature of Work and Number of Personnel in the Engine Room

The relieving officer must be aware of all the jobs that are being carried out in the engine room, along with the number of personnel and their location.

ship engine room

8. Information on Power and Other Sources

It is important for the officer on watch to inform regarding the existing and potential required sources of power, heat, lighting and their distribution.

INA overhauling

9. Level of Tanks and Amount of Fuel

The officer on watch must inform the relieving officer regarding the level and condition of water or residue in engine room tanks such as  bilge tank, slop tank, reserve tank etc. The relieving officer must also be aware of the availability and condition of ship’s fuel, lubricant and water supplies.

10. All Correct Information Noted in The Log Book

Last but not the least, the watch keeping officer must note down all the information affecting the operation, adjustment or repair of the ship’s machinery in the log book and record books provided.

It is to note that the officer on watch must not hand over the watch to the relieving officer if he has reasons to believe that the latter is not capable of carrying out his duties efficiently. In such cases he should notify the chief engineer accordingly.

Do you think we have missed any important point that can be added to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. It worth read and understood by all marine engineers for safe working practice .

  2. It would be highly appreciated and worth knowing what operations are being carried out on deck by Deck Officers and crew as engineers are a part & parcel of any oerations on board at any given time.Thus, being in contact with Duty Officer is of utmost importance.

  3. @ mustapha ..I am tryin to get ur statement ..! Ope u dint say engrs are not dat needed onbaord coz I heard you saying that all operations done by deck officers …wat about ur cargo pump, all the pneaumatic control of the ship .. In all operation everyfing has to affect an engr…u all in d deck are radio officers n DRIVERS…datz all ..

  4. what are the important things a relieving marine officer must be informed by an off duty marine officer

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