ship handling

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Attention to stranding and countermeasures - self refloating,securing the vessel or request for salvage

Investigation of stranding - Stranding means when a vessel has run aground, it is accidental. In consequence, the double bottom area of the vessel will probably suffer considerable damage, especially if the ground is rocky. The Master of stranded ship shall first secure the safety of crew, cargo, vessel and the environment.

Assessment of urgency

The master should immediately asses the dangers to which the ship is exposed and the urgency with which assistance may be required from outside sources. It is better to over-react on the side of safety and pollution prevention than to delay action in the hope that the situation may improve. When making judgements, it should be assumed that the situation will not improve.

Account should be taken of all circumstances, including the following:

In addition to any threat to life, ship and cargo, the necessity to avoid or reduce the risk of pollution cannot be overstressed.

When the Master judges that re-floating the vessel is hopeful, re-floating by the vessel should be tried first, but the following items shall be investigated to judge the propriety of re-floating work. Investigation using divers shall be carried out in parallel if possible.

Accidental flooding

If one or more spaces which normally provide buoyancy become flooded, the action to be taken will depend upon the location of the flooded compartment and the extent of the damage.

Flooding of the machinery spaces could result in a major loss of buoyancy and total loss of propulsion.If the ship is loaded, the resulting loss of buoyancy. Intact spaces may have to be evacuated and securely battened down. This includes any accommodation and other spaces which could contribute to the ship's buoyancy if the ship settled in the water. Use should be made of any means, such as pressurisation, to reduce or minimise the ingress of water and progressive flooding.

Detailed information about the location and extent of the damage should be sent to the owner or operator to enable him to assess accurately the buoyancy situation and the structural effect of flooding in order to provide advise to the master of ways to the limit hull stresses.

(1) Degree of Flooding, if any, and Discharging Capacity : Sound each tank and bilge periodically to check for leakage and to estimate the rate of leakage. If the leakage rate exceeds the discharging capacity, external assistance is required.

(2) Collection of Basic Data: The Draft, Speed, Tidal conditions (Time, Height, Direction and Speed), Quantity and arrangement of Fuel oil, Ballast water, Fresh water, and the type, quantity/ weight, and stowage conditions of Cargo onboard.

(3) Stranding Conditions: Degree and Extent of the Stranding, and the Heel of the vessel.

(4) Seabed Conditions: Sound the Depth around the vessel and investigate the Nature of the Seabed.

(5) Location and Degree of Damage : Carry out internal inspection of tanks as far as possible

(6) Oil Leakages or Threat of Oil leakages

(7) Necessity of reinforcing water tightness, and necessary materials on hand.

Self -refloating

(1) Use of Engine and Rudder

After De-ballasting to reduce the draft as much as possible, re-floating the vessel by itself at a high tide using the engine and rudder shall be considered.

Use the Engine of the vessel after very prudent considerations since there is a possibility of expanding the damage to the machinery and hull. Check

a. Condition of the seabed around the stern and in the direction of maneuvering when clear (a survey by a lifeboat may be required);

b. Integrity of the hull and damage stability;

(2) Discharging ballast and fresh water Prepare discharging operations in such a way that completion will be just about at the high tide. If discharge is carried out too early, there is a prospect of expanding the hull damage and increasing the vessels list.

Rate of drift of a disabled ship

The ship will drift under the influence of wind, current and wave forces. Direction and speed of drift cannot be predicted precisely but results from model tests and full scale drift observations have increased knowledge of this subject. Drift as depicted in these tests does not take into account any current other than wind related current.

The master should take every opportunity to observe the drift behaviour of his ship in loaded and light conditions and various aspects of trim. The drift pattern observed should be documented and retained onboard for future reference.

While drifting towards a perilous situation, the master should continue to take observations.

It is possible for the master to take positive action to influence the drift direction and/or drift speed of his ship.

As ships in different conditions drift in different directions, it is important to remember that before all control over the ship"s movement is lost, the initial drift direction can be influenced by the way in which the ship"s head is directed.

Options available to achieve a possible change in drift direction and/or speed include use of engines when steering is lost, changing of trim, heel, positioning of rudder whilst steering capability is still available, and use of anchors.

It may be helpful to draw the drift patterns likely to be experienced on a transparent piece of paper, and on a large enough scale, using data extracted .

This transparency can be placed on the chart relative to the wind/wave direction, to determine the best possible action to be taken in order to change the drift direction and speed.

In all the tables, the ship"s heading and drift directions are given relative to the wind and wave direction, for conditions of the ship lying with the wind on the port and starboard sides. In all cases the condition correspond to Beaufort wind force 7, with a significant wave height of 5.2 metres.

Requesting salvage

If re-floating by own means is judged to be difficult or there are doubts as to the safety of the vessel during and after the operation, external assistance shall be used. This would involve offshore unloading and/or arrangement of Tug boats. However, the contents of the agreement with salvers shall follow the Companys instructions, except in an emergency when try to use the Lloyds Open Form

Securing the vessel

If re-floating is impossible, and if it takes a very long time for salvage boats to arrive, the vessel shall try to stabilize the situation as far as possible. The following shall be considered:

a. Dropping anchors;

b. Adding ballast to stop the vessel moving in the waves or by changing tides; and

c. Temporary repairs where possible (e.g. cement boxes, wooden plugs etc.).

Response to oil leakage

In case that cargo oil or fuel oil is discharged overboard due to the stranding, take appropriate measures according to the Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan and the Emergency Procedures for Oil Pollution Accident

Cargo discharging at sea

When the vessel transfers part of her cargo to other ships or barges to reduce her draft for re-floating, the cargo survey shall be arranged as far as possible for adjustment of General Average and dealing with cargo damage accident.

In this case, keep the record of the container numbers (or part contents), stowage, etc., for accident handling in the future. Be sure to record the working process in detail.


When offshore unloading or jettison is carried out to reduce draft at the stranded portion of the vessel, put ballast water in tanks until just before the commencement of re-floating operation as far as possible, so that the conditions of the vessel should not change so much from those at the time when the vessel stranded.

And discharge the ballast water at a stretch when the re-floating operation is just started

Note Even if the draft is reduced by offshore unloading, the hull is sometimes buried in earth and sand around the vessel, and the local load is increased which cause the expansion of the hull damage.

Stranding in harbour

Touching the bottom of the vessel being moored alongside a pier due to the progress of cargo operation or change of tidal level does not constitute stranding according to the provisions of insurance clauses.

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