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Cargo Stowage guideline for Containership

Cargo Operations- Responsibilities
The Master has the overall responsibility for cargo operations and for the effect of these operations on draft, stability, trim, and hull stress of the vessel. The Chief Officer is accountable to the Master for the proper stowage and safe loading/ discharging of cargo.

Charterers Obligations/Masters Supervision
As container vessels are normally time chartered to a liner Company and employed on a regular service, Charterers are responsible for providing for all stevedoring operations including, among others, receipt, loading, handling, stowing, lashing, securing, unlashing, unsecuring, tallying and delivering all containers, which however, are to be under the supervision and to the satisfaction of the Master. Where the vessel is not time-chartered, obligations and responsibilities will be outlined in the charter party.

Officer of the Watch(OOW)
The Officer of the Watch is to be in attendance at all times in which the vessel is working cargo and must take an active role in all the cargo operations. He is to pay close attention to the safe stowage of all containers as per the Chief Officer's instructions. At the change of each watch, all relevant information must be handed over to the relieving Officer of the Watch and if he is in any doubt whatsoever the Chief Officer should be contacted. Use is to be made of the walkie-talkies to maintain contact between the deck rating, the gangway watchman, the Officer of the Watch and the Chief Officer. The Officer of the Watch is to ensure that the proper lifting equipment is being used by the Stevedores.

Pre-Stowage Plan
The Terminal Planner shall present the pre-loading plan to the Chief Officer in order to obtain his approval/comments. The Chief Officer in turn enters the cargo data in the loading computer and must ensure that the required criteria, concerning stack weights, trim/stability/stresses/ visibility limitations, DG cargo segregation, and special container requirements are met, taking into consideration the bunker/fresh water consumption during the voyage and all possibilities of ballasting / deballasting. The completed loading plan must be presented to the ship’s Master for approval.

Supervision Of Loading/Discharging Operations
During loading/discharging operations it is the responsibility of the Chief Officer and the Officer of the Watch to ensure that: On completion of loading / discharging, the vessel shall be prepared for sea . Stowage plan must be checked for any irregular stowage like those mentioned below or hanging boxes etc.
Handling heavy weight
Adhere to good seamanship while Handling heavy weights

Stacking Weights

Lashing Strength

Special Container Stowage

Over-stow of Containers

Dangerous Cargo Stowage & Segregation

20 or 40 or 45 feet Compulsory Stowage Locations

Hatch Cover Clearance (High cube containers Under Deck )

Out of Gauge Container Stowage

Cargo Securing Manual (CSM) – The manual required on all types of ships engaged in the carriage of all cargoes other than solid and liquid bulk cargoes. Cargo units, including containers, shall be loaded, stowed and secured throughout the voyage in accordance with Cargo Securing Manual approved by the Administration.

Container handling bad practices - Things to be avoided!
container handling bad practice

Container handling bad practices - Things to be avoided!




Other factors should be taken into account before accepting a containership cargo stowage plan :



Stacking Weights

Lashing strength

Dangerous goods stowage and segregation

Reefer Container Stowage

Out of Gauge Container Stowage

Special Container Stowage

20 or 40 or 45 feet Compulsory Stowage Locations

Over-stow of Containers

Hatch Cover Clearance (High cube containers Under Deck )

Other matters regarding cargo stowage as necessary



  1. Marpol annex I - Preventing pollution by oil -Notes on Oily Water Separators


  2. Marpol Annex II -Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk


  3. Marpol annex III -Pollution by other harmful substances & harmful packaged goods


  4. Marpol annex IV - Prohibition on Sewage Discharge


  5. Marpol annex V - Pollution by garbage


  6. Marpol annex VI - Pollution by air


  7. Prohibition on use of harmful (TBT) anti-fouling paints


  8. Pollution by ballast water


  9. Prevention of pollution while carrying out overboard maintenance


  10. Environment friendly purchasing


  11. Environmental awareness


  12. Burning of heavy fuel oil & diesel oil - Environmental impacts




Preventing air pollution various guideline:




Other info pages !

Ships Charterparties Related terms & guideline
Stevedores injury How to prevent injury onboard
Environmental issues How to prevent marine pollution
Cargo & Ballast Handling Safety Guideline
Reefer cargo handling Troubleshoot and countermeasures
DG cargo handling Procedures & Guidelines
Safety in engine room Standard procedures
Questions from user and feedback Read our knowledgebase
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