Duties of the Officer on Cargo Watch:


#Duties of the Officer on Cargo Watch:

The Officer of the Watch is primarily the Master’s representative when on duty on deck.

  • His/her task revolves around making and keeping a safe environment for the crew and people on board, for the ship and its cargo, and taking measures to prevent any form of pollution.
  • The details of the duties will vary with the type of the ship but the basic duties are as follows:
  • During cargo operations, Some steps that must be taken to ensure the safety of personnel are:
  • The location/readiness of life saving appliances and fire fighting appliances.
  • Safe access to and from within the vessel.
  • Adequate lighting in holds, on deck and all other spaces as required.
  • Being aware of people on board and their location.
  • Ventilating enclosed spaces before entering.
  • Advising crew members of the dangers involved in mishandling dangerous goods.
  • Correct rigging of the cargo gear.
  • Not exceeding the SWL of any gear and checking the condition of the cargo gear prior being used.
  • The safety of the ship and cargo can be ensured by taking the following measures:
  • Check the draft and under keel clearance at regular intervals.
  • Make sure there is no excessive trim or list.




  • Check the moorings regularly.
  • Check the bilges and ballast conditions.
  • Check the tidal conditions and weather likely to be encountered.
  • Understand the cargo loading plan and the master’s (Chief Officer’s) instructions.
  • Know the various communication channels with shore authorities, port control etc.
  • Understand the causes of cargo damage and their prevention.
  • Maintain full written records in the port log book and/or deck log book of all relevant events and data.
  • Note any possible causes of damage to ship or cargo and make every effort to prevent them.
  • Note and record any damage to ship or cargo, and immediately pass details to the chief mate who will hold the stevedores responsible.
  • Ensure that safe working procedures are followed.


  • Additionally if at anchor:
  • Ascertain the vessel’s position regularly.
  • Keep a proper look out for possible dangers such as small boats or floating objects such as logs.
  • Check the anchor especially at the turn of tide.