1. Can you tell me about your educational background and working experience?
A reference answer:
I graduated from Wu Han marine College in 2006. I studied there for three years. I have worked as a seaman on eight ships for nearly ten years. I have the experience of Chief Officer for two ships. I have worked both Chinese and foreign shipowners in the past ten years.
2. Can you tell me the responsibilities of the Chief Officer?
Under the leadership of the Master, the Chief Officer shall carry out the daily management of the deck department, and he is also responsible for cargo handling. The specific duties include:
(1) Watch-keeping from 0400~0800 hours and 1600~2000 hours.
(2) Safety of the ship and work place, safety equipment.
(3) Daily safety and sanitary inspection.
(4) Store and spare parts inventory management.
(5) Maintenance on deck.
(6) Stowage plan making.
(7) Supervision of the loading and unloading process.
(8) Cargo caring on board.
(9) Some other work and designated by the master of the vessel.
3. Can you talk about the previous vessels (last vessel) you worked on board?
It was an ocean-going ship, but it mainly loaded cargoes in Asia and discharged in Europe. It was an old ship about 14 years old. But the general condition of the ship was quite good because we did very good maintenance work on board
4. What types of cargoes have ever been carried on board your last vessel?
I have worked on bulk carriers and general cargo vessels and I have experienced a lot of cargo handling.
5. Where was your last vessel’s trading (plying, sailing) area?
It was an ocean-going ship, but it mainly loaded cargos in Asia and discharged in Europe. She has ever been to New Orleans, Long Beach, New York, Rotterdam, Hamburg and so on.
6. Did you have the experience of working with foreign crews? What were their nationalities?
The last two vessels I worked on had crew from several countries. The masters were Indian, the Chief Engineer were from Hong Kong and Philippine and other seamen from china, Indian, Burma and Vietnam.
7. Can you tell me how to make a stowage plan?
Based on the capacity of the hold, the stowage factors, types of cargo, loading and discharging ports rotation, port draft limitation, loading-line area. I shall calculate the volume of the cargo that is to be loaded into different holds. Then I shall calculate the draft of the vessel and trimming, shear force, bending moment to meet the requirements of the ship. At last, stowage plan in made based on these factors.
8. What does stowage factor of mean?
A stowage factor of any cargo is the figure that expresses the number of cubic units of measure needed to accommodate one unit of weight-how many cubic meters is needed to stow on metric ton of certain goods. Stowage factors should include allowance for dunnage, irregular size of certain goods, pallets and something else. Even the most carefully determined stowage factor is not absolute and it should be used only as guide while planning cargo disposition.
9. If there happens stevedore damage to cargo, equipment or ship’s structure in the loading or discharging ports, what should you do?
If damage happens, I must record it first and then report it in an appropriate written form to the master and other parties concerned. The report must be signed by the liable parties admitting they have (or have not) responsibility for the damage. The damage report shall be carefully worded and shall be supported with photos and other evidence, if any. The damage report should also include the following contents: ship’s name, voyage number, date, geographical location, name of the person who took the photos and his signature, location where the photo was taken, and what is intended to show.
10. What precautions do you have to take before cargo operation is carried out?
I shall check the pre-cargo operation check lists to make sure that no item is missing. The following procedures are to be adopted:
(1) The Chief Officer shall make a cargo operation plan, in which the following factors shall be considered: the cargo must be stowed in such way that the stability, trim, shearing forces and bending moments are within the limits as laid down by the stability manual; excessive weight on tank tops, tween decks and hatch covers must be avoided; and cargo must be stowed and secured in such way as to avoid damage which can result in possible loss of life or property.
(2) Pre-operation conference with all ship’s personnel to be involved in the cargo operation should be held to discuss such matters as cargo disposition, numbers of gangs and working hours, usual and special safety requirements, ballasting and de-ballasting information, special requirements regarding cargo operation, damage prevention and control, personnel organization, cargo watch etc. The Chief Officer must ensure that all relevant personnel have fully understood the intended cargo and all usual and special safety and operational requirements.
11. What will you do if cargo damage is found or suspected before loading or during loading?
I shall report to the master first and foremost. The master should decide whether to replace the damaged cargo. For the full-set machines and high-valued products I must ask for the replacement in the loading port if damages are found. If the damaged cargoes cannot be replaced, the Chief Mate shall make remarks on the Mate’s Receipt.
If disputers happen on the quantity and quality of the cargoes, I shall, at the discretion of the master, ask the cargo surveyor to do the survey. If necessary, under the endorsement of the ship owner, I shall write a Letter of Protest (based on the format provided by the company) to prove the innocence of the seamen on board.
During the voyage, if a very small amount of cargo is damaged, with the permission of the master, I shall throw it away into the sea to avoid any disputes with any third party.
12. What are the differences between the Bill of Loading and the Mate’s Receipt?
A Tally Sheet is the basis of the Mate’s Receipt. The Mate’s Receipt is the R/L. The condition of the cargo is clearly shown on the Mate’s Receipt. It is very important to make sure that the cargo condition on the bill of loading is the same as that on the Mate’s Receipt. The Mate’s Receipt is the legal evidence of the cargo received and the B/L is the legal evidence of the cargo ownership. If the consigner wants the master to issue a clean B/L on the basis of unclean Mate’s Receipt, the master firstly must ask for permission from the company. If the company agrees, the consigner must issue reliable Letter of Indemnity or Letter of Guarantee.
13. If the draft survey proves a shortage of cargo after loading is completed, what will you do apart from reporting to the Master? Will you make any remarks on the Mate’s Receipt?
In this case, I shall report the problem to the master first. With the permission of the master, I shall ask the third party surveyor to do the survey. If the survey shows there is shortage or damage of the cargo, I shall write remarks on the Mate’s Receipt showing the loss or damage or shortage.
The third party is to be invited to make the objective report on the real quantity of the volume of the cargo. If the cargo is proved to be in shortage, I shall write remarks on the Mate’s Receipt.
14. What is Garbage Management Plan?
The MAPROL73/78 requires that a Garbage Management Plan should be developed in accordance with the IMO guidelines on board almost all ships. The Plan includes the procedures for garbage collection, separation, processing and disposal, as well as the management and requirements of garbage processing equipment, implementation of the Plan and crew responsibilities. All processing work should be recorded in the Garbage Record Book.
15. How do you carry out the deck machinery maintenance?
On board the last vessel, I often ordered my Bosun to organize the deck crew to maintain such equipment as windlass, steering engine, derrick, crane, wires, meters and winch. Chipping and greasing are also among their daily routines as per the PMS (Planned Maintenance System).
All maintenance plans for the machines in the deck department shall be made by the Chief Officer.
16. As the Chief Officer, what precautions do you have to take to prepare for the PSC inspection?
The Chief Officer should arrange for the checks of the following items: LSA and FFE equipment, garbage disposal records, gangway safety, ballasting system, sanitary condition, especially in the accommodation area, the galley, provisions stores, cargo operation safety and documents. Besides, the Chief Officer should follow the Master’s instructions in organizing the emergency drills.
17. What precautions do you have to take before entering an enclosed space?
I shall nominate the standby personnel and prepare the ventilation, breathing tool, connecting signals, oxygen, air and poisonous gases testing equipment, and other necessary equipment according to the checklist. I shall then get the Master’s signature on the checklist.
18. What checks do you have make before any hot work is permitted?
I must make sure of the following:
There is no gas leakage on cargo deck or pump room area
The nearby places shall be free of inflammable materials or gases and portable extinguishers are available
The area where the hot work is done is not piled with solvents of any kind, including diesel oil, kerosene, paint, cleaners and thinners
Gas testingis also important to make sure no flammable or toxic gas in present at the work site and that the oxygen content is 21% by volume
Ventilation conditionshould also be checked before any hot work is done
The Master’s approval must be obtained under all circumstances. While in port, you must also get the port authority approval.
19. On board your previous vessels, how often did you conduct a fire-fighting drill?
I carried out a fire fighting drill at least once every month.
20. What are the Chief Officer’s responsibilities with regards to cargo operation?
The Chief Officer is in charge of safe handling of all cargo operation. He must submit all cargo plans to the master for approval and discuss ay critical stage of cargo operation with the Master. He is responsible for making cargo records, time sheets, port logs and other paperwork related to cargo operation. He must also prepare cargo operation order and get all duty officers to read and understand it.
21. What are the Chief Officer’s responsibilities with regards to maintenance?
The Chief Officer should prepare the deck maintenance schedule-both the long-term and short-term ones-and discuss the schedule with the Master. He is in charge of the deck department personnel and should oversee their maintenance work. He should also write the monthly maintenance report.
22. When the charted depth of anchorage is 40 meters, usually how do you drop the anchor?
Before dropping the anchor, I should make sure that be windlass and the brakes are in good condition and there is good holding ground. I should also study the water depth, weather and sea conditions and take into account the duration of the anchorage action.
During the anchoring, I should lower the anchor until it touches ground, then disengage and slag the chain cable until the length is paid out. Main engine should be used to stretch the cable. I should not use excessive weight for the cable.
The length of the cable must be decided by the master in advance.
No matter how deep the water is, at least two shackles should remain on board.
23. In case of cargo damage (for example, before the vessel arrives at the discharging port, when opening the hatch, you find the quality of the surface cargo has changed, how would you handle it?
Well, I have to know the quantity of the cargo whose quality has changed. If the cargo is a small quantity, I shall dispose it myself. If it is a large quantity, I shall ask for decision from the Master.
24. What are sensitive cargoes as defined by the P & I Club?
The cargoes that are particularly susceptible to moisture and damage are called sensitive cargoes. For the sensitive cargoes, special attention shall be required. The P&I Club defines the following cargoes as sensitive cargoes: cement, grain, and sugar.
25. How do you judge whether the cargo holds are fitted for loading?
According to the requirements of the voyage instructions or the charter party, I shall first see if meets the charterer’s demands. Then I will make my own judgment. If the holds are not suitable for loading any type of cargo, I shall report this to the master and ask him to decide on this.
26. How to prevent cargo from being damaged by rain or seawater?
Before the voyage, I will check the hatch cover to see if it is properly closed that tight water condition is in good order. To make sure suction boxes and manholes are properly closed; to check the bulkhead of adjacent ballast tank.
27. When you pass through the Panama Canal, what should you pay attention to? Why?
The turn of bilge radius should be made known to the pilot. According to the regulations, the turn of bilge radius of the vessel cannot be over 12.04 meters in the fresh water area. No bilge water is allowed to be pumped.
As a precaution, we should check with the MR Notice and apply for correction if on time. We should also prepare for the safety inspections by the boarding officers.
Seven days before the ship’s estimated time of passing by the Canal, we should report to the Canal authority on the vessel condition.
28. Do you often change the ballast water? What should you pay attention to when changing the ballast water?
Yes. The ballast water change is required by most port authorities in the world.
Ballasting and de-ballasting on time is very important to keep the stress of the vessel in good condition. Under heavy weather conditions, it is necessary to test the ballasting and bilge water more often to make sure of the stability of the vessel.
29. What is back dated or anti-dated B/L? What is advanced B/L?
A back dated B/L is a B/L whose issuing date is earlier than the virtual loading completion date. An advanced B/L means a B/L that is signed and issued by the carried before the completion of loading. Both backdated and advanced B/Ls will bring some dangers and liabilities to the shipowner and charterer.
30. What is the maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rate on board?
According to the STCW 95, the BAC shall not be more than 0.08% by weight any time when being tested, but the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) requires the BAC to be no more than 0.04%. Watch-keepers are not allowed to drink any alcoholic beverage 4 hours before their watch.
31. What kind of garbage cannot be thrown into incinerator?
The following garbage can not be thrown into the incinerator:
l Any containers that once contained gases under pressure, or aerosol cans
2 The materials that may produce harmful gases or ashes
3 The materials that may produce high temperature and prolonged incineration of such materials that may cause damage to the incinerator
32. What do you know about BC Code?
The BC code refers to the IMO Bulk Cargo Code. In this code, bulk cargo operation procedure are stated. This is a very important manual and the Chief Officer must study it with care and follow the instructions in the Code at work, especially when makes the stowage plan.