The professional ship owner or manager will place great importance on having a knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic Operations Department. It is they who, once the employment of the vessel has been decided, will act not only as the link between the vessel and the shipowners but also between the owning side and the vessel’s charterers and other cargo interests. The Operations Department has four primary tasks. To ensure that the Master knows and understands exactly what is expected of him and his ship. To monitor the voyage, with the view of minimising the expenses and maximising the income. To be on the lookout for potential problems and disputes and to try to resolve them before they get out of hand. To act as a clearing house for information within the ship manager’s offices so that everyone knows all they need to know about what the ship is doing, in order to be able to do their jobs. Once the nature of the employment has been decided the full details should be passed to the Operations Department by the owners or by their chartering brokers. These details should include: The cargo and its size. Loading and Discharging Ports together with restrictions, if any. Notices of readiness that are required to be given to the Charterers and/or the Shippers and for the consignees and the Agents. Any special instructions and/or advice that needs to be given to the ship’s command about the cargo. This information must be relayed to the ship’s Master without delay. As soon as possible the Operations Department should obtain a copy of the charter party so that complete details of what has been agreed can be studied. The relevant items should then all be discussed with the Master so that he fully understands what is expected of him. The next task for the Operations Department will be to contact the agents at the loading port. They should be asked to provide: A detailed pro-forma disbursement account. Confirmation of any restrictions at the port/berth which may affect the vessel.mAdvice as to probable berthing and loading prospects. Any other relevant information that they might consider useful.