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Test & Certification Procedure for Approved Loadicator

Testing requirements for the Loadicator:

Testing by ship staff: The Loadicator is required to be tested periodically (interval to be as per SMS of the vessel) by ship staff for its accuracy. The test procedure includes choosing a text condition from the approved test conditions, entering the exact same data in the loadicator and comparing the results with the approved test conditions. The important point to note is that the data need to be manually entered and not opened from a pre-saved file as it is not acceptable to classification society as well as OCIMF to simply retrieve a stored test condition and comparing it with approved test condition.

Annual testing of Loadicator in presence of Class: During annual class surveys, loadicator need to be tested for its accuracy in presence of a class surveyor. The procedure of testing is same as the quarterly testing but in here the class surveyor would ask for the print out of the test condition and he would stamp it and give it to the ship for ship’s records.

Procedure for Certification:- The approved test conditions shall be tested on the loading computer system in presence of a surveyor from the Society, before the loading computer certificate is issued.

During the test, the loading conditions calculated on the installed loading computer system shall be verified to be identical to the approved test conditions. If numerical output from the loading computer system is at significant variance with the approved test conditions, a certificate cannot be issued.

During the tests, at least one of the test conditions shall be built up from scratch, to ensure that the loading methods function properly.

As an alternative to 203 can the following procedure be followed:

Retrieve the test load case and start a calculation run; compare stability results with those in the documentation.

Change several items of deadweight (tank weights and the cargo weight) sufficiently to change the draught or displacement by at least 10%. The results shall be reviewed to ensure that they differ in a logical way from those of the approved test condition.

Revise the above modified load condition to restore the initial test condition and compare the results. The relevant input and output data of the approved test condition shall been replicated.

During the test relevant warnings should be checked, which should include max draught, strength limits and stability limits.

Where the hardware is not type approved, the test shall be carried out on both the first and the second nominated computers prior to issuing of the loading computer certificate.

After completion of satisfactory tests, the loading computer certificate shall be issued.

The loading computer certificate and the approved test conditions shall be kept onboard together with the user’s manual.

The certification shall be carried out onboard.

If the final loading manual or the final stability booklet has not been approved before delivery, testing onboard may take place after these documents have been approved.

SOLAS 1974 / Loadline 1966 & Class requirements for approved Loadicator on Board Cargo Ships:

The requirement of loading instrument for bulk carriers is governed by SOLAS chapter XII, regulation 11. Even though there is no statutory requirement for loading computer onboard other ships, classification societies require all tankers of more than 100 meters to have type approved loading instrument. Even otherwise so, Loadicator has rather been a necessity onboard ships. And once we have something onboard, it is duty of ship staff to ensure that it complies with its testing and record keeping procedures.

There are two parts of the question. First relates to the documents and certificates a ship is required to have onboard with respect to loadicators and second the testing requirement of the loadicator.

Documents required for Loadicator:

There are three main documents ship should have for it to be actually complying with Loadicator requirements. These are:-

  • Class certificate for loadicator: This certificate is issued by the class and gives the details of the loadicator software as well as the hardware on which it is installed, including the details of the Make, model and serial number of the computer. Master and chief officer must ensure that the approved loading computer’s details matches with the details in this certificate. The certificate may even sometimes have the printer’s detail that is connected with the approved loadicator. If you do not find this certificate onboard, you should check in the class survey status report if the loading computer is included in the list. If yes, the certificate can be asked from the class through your office. If No, then shipping office need to consult ship’s classification society for approval of loading computer.
  • Class approved Loadicator Manual: This is the user manual of the loadicator which is from the maker of the loadicator software. A class approved copy of the user manual should be onboard. If there was ever a class change associated with the ship, it is important to ensure that approval stamp of the current classification society is endorsed on the manual.
  • Class approved loadicator test conditions: To be very clear, these are not the conditions in the stability booklet of the ship. The stability conditions in the stability booklet are made by the yard and these are not the print outs from the loadicator software. These are also not the test conditions stamped by the class during annual class surveys. These are usually in the form of a booklet specifically titled “test conditions for loadicator” with class stamp. These are usually provided during yard delivery of the vessel or after the loadicator is installed for the first time and approved by the class.
  • Once we have these three documents / certificates, you are OK with the certification part.
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