New crew members joining a ship must be familiarized with their duties and important information about the ship. This is to ensure that the new people onboard ship understand their responsibilities thoroughly before commencing their duties.
It is the duty of the master of the ship to ensure that each new crew member is given proper familiarization training to ensure personal safety and well-being of the ship.
The master would designate a qualified person in charge of training the new crew members of the ship.
Though all crew personnel joining the ship have to do STCW training, there are several specific instructions, which are important for safe operations on ships.
The main aim of the familiarization training is to make the new crew aware of important safety procedures that are to be carried out on ships while working or during an emergency situations. It is the duty of the officer in charge of the training to train the new crew regarding:
- Instructions on SOLAS and MARPOL
- Important features of muster list
- Guidelines on how to tackle all kinds of emergency situations on ships
- Important documents and publications of ships
- Ship’s Fire Control Plan
- Different types of fire fighting appliances and procedures to use them
Apart from the above mentioned points, the officer must also ensure that the new crew members know the following:
- Location of life jackets and immersion suits, along with the procedure to wear the life jacket
- Location of escape routes
- Actions for man overboard situation
- Different types of alarms on board ship
- Location of his or her cabin, along with the location of the nearest escape route and fire extinguisher
- Procedure for abandon ship alarm
- His or her duties in the muster list and during emergency situations
- Basics of fire prevention on ships
- Actions to be taken in case of medical emergency before further medical assistance is received
- Operation of fire and water-tight doors fitted on ships
- Important instructions on various drills on ships
- Procedure to operate fire extinguishers
- Procedure to raise an alarm in case of an accident or emergency
Familiarization of duties
It is a normal procedure on board ships that the new crew member will be given familiarization of his or her duties by the person who is being relieved.
The familiarization training will include:
- Duties to be performed by the new crew member
- Specific equipment to be operated and maintained
- Ship specific watch keeping duties
- Any particular instruction regarding machinery or ship parts which the new crew member should know
- If the new member belongs to the deck side, he or she will be familiarized with navigation equipment , GMDSS , steering system, mooring equipment, cargo handling equipment etc.
- If the new member belongs to the engine side, he or she will be familiarized with the designated machinery, maintenance procedures, and watch keeping procedures
Apart from the watch keeping procedure at sea and at port, the new crew members would also be briefed about any standing orders from the chief engineer or captain.
Other Safety Instructions
Apart from duty and safety instructions, the officer in charge of the familiarization training would instruct the new crew member regarding important issues such as
- Garbage management plan and how to handle garbage on ships
- Oil pollution prevention plan
- Ship Security Plan
- Ballast water management plan
- Life boat release procedure
- Life raft release procedure
- Use of maritime distress signals and flares
It is to note that training on life saving appliances and fire fighting appliances must be completed as soon as possible and not later than 2 weeks after joining the ship.