At Anchor
By Al Miller

Once aboard Spar Jade, the boarding party goes right to work. They’ve got to check the cargo holds to make sure they’re clean and dry and ready to load grain. The boarding party includes the ship’s agent, who handles all sorts of arrangements in port; a representative of the National Cargo Bureau, to inspect the vessel; and an agricultural inspector, to inspect the vessel. Spar Jade is a neat, well-maintained vessel, so the work goes quickly.

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The deck of Spar Jade

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Boarding party visually inspects cargo holds

Once they’re done on deck, members of the boarding party head into the captain’s office to complete the paperwork that’s necessary for a foreign ship to enter port and load cargo. The process takes about 30 minutes. The agent, the ship’s master and the first mate discuss how to tie up the ship and how the elevator will load it. The ship will be docked so it needs to be shifted as little as possible during loading. They discuss where dock bollards are located and how they can be used to secure the ship while various holds are loaded. The vessel cannot be loaded at random. Using the experience of the local stevedore, the agent, master and first mate discuss a plan for loading the ship: how the holds will be filled in a particular order to minimize stress on the hull and fill the ship as effciently as possible.

The agricultural inspector and the representative from the cargo bureau review the ship’s previous cargoes. Spar Jade is a busy ship, having loaded petroleum coke in South America for delivery to a Canadian Great Lakes port, then proceeding to Duluth to load grain bound for Spain. Before that it was carrying a cargo from Canada to Belgium. Numerous forms must be completed, copied and exchanged among everyone in the boarding party.

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A conference in the master's office to complete the paperwork