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Containership operation: Opening closing hatch covers

Hatch cover operations are frequently carried out on board container ships but due care is necessary to prevent damage by incorrect operation. Most cellular container vessels have lift on / lift off type hatch covers and these are operated by shore cranes.

Before opening hatch covers, it must be ensured that all securing including Hatch cleats, Jumping stoppers, King bolts etc are cleared and that no obstructions are present.

Before placing hatch covers back, it must be ensured that no obstructions in the form of loose gear, damaged plating etc are present and coamings are clear. Cargo watch personnel must be present on site when opening/closing hatch covers to ensure above.

Vessels operation manual or manufacturers instructions must be consulted for information on correct stowage of hatch covers. There may be procedures, restrictions or limitations for stowing hatch covers one on top of the other and these must be correctly followed.

After closing hatch covers, they must be secured with Hatch cleats, Jumping stoppers, King bolts or applicable devices to prevent movement at sea.

On some vessels where a container spans Across Two Hatch covers, special care is required as such containers are subject to high stresses due to motion of the hatch covers in a seaway.

These hatch covers shall be particularly well secured and any special arrangements (like Different Base Twist Locks etc) complied with in order to prevent damage to containers.







Summarized below are some basic container transport procedures. These procedures are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship.


Safe cargo stowage and planning
When considering acceptability of a container cargo stowage plan, some basic check items, procedures / guidelines concerning cargo stowage shall be taken into account . Read more...

Safe Cargo operation

On Arrival Port, Prior Commencing Cargo Operation 1) The composition of cargo watch personnel shall be decided and duties well understood. 2) All personnel involved in the cargo watch shall be briefed regarding the expected operations and provided with a Cargo Discharge Plan . Read more...

Guidelines and procedures concerning containership hull strength & stability
When considering acceptability of a container cargo stowage plan, the following procedures/guidelines concerning hull strength & stability shall be taken into account:
a) Draft, Trim and Heel Draft restrictions at berth, approaches, passage and next port shall be taken into consideration and vessels maximum draft must be maintained within the applicable restriction. Read more...

Procedures for dangerous cargo handling and documentation
Handling dangerous cargo requires special care due to the inherent hazardous nature of the cargo and applicable carriage regulations.
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Procedures for reefer cargo handling
Reefer containers require special care after they are loaded on board ship. These containers need to be supplied with power, monitored closely for proper function and repaired as required in case of malfunction.
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Handling breakbulk,Out of gauge and open top containers
Break bulk cargo is usually stowed on flat racks and platforms. It is important to confirm that the break bulk cargo itself is properly secured onto the Flat rack or Platform prior loading on board.
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Containership operation: 2 in 1 (Two in One) Loading
The term 2 in 1 operation is normally used when two 20feet units are loaded in one 40feet bay underdeck. When such loading operation is being conducted, it must be ensured that the terminal staff is aware of the vessels lashing system.
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Containership operation: On Deck Loading of 20feet Containers
20feet containers loaded on deck must be spaced apart in order to leave room for lashing each container on the fore and aft ends.
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Containership operation: Opening closing hatch covers
Hatch cover operations are frequently carried out on board container ships but due care is necessary to prevent damage by incorrect operation.
Read more...

Containership operation: Cargo lashing
Regular inspection and maintenance of ships cargo securing devices must be carried out. These would include routine visual examination of components being utilized, lubrication of securing devices, repair of damaged securing devices and separating out and rejecting damaged/unusable securing devices.
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Containership Cargo securing
When containers are carried on deck, the ship is required to be approved for that purpose and the containers themselves are secured with twistlocks and lashings. These usually consist of steel rods and turnbuckles.
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Containership Cargo Securing Devices (Lashing Gear Box Containers)
Vessel shall account for all lashing gear box containers including bins prior departure from every port.
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Containership Cargo hold ventilation
Cargo holds of container ships are fitted with two basic types of ventilation systems, namely natural and mechanical. Mechanical ventilation could be of either the supply or the exhaust type.
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Safety navigation for container ships
While planning the passage for intended voyage the safety of navigation should be accommodated in, where it is both reasonable and possible to do so,
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Containership Cargo care at sea
Condition of Cargo (Container) Securing / Lashing shall be checked at least once daily and tightened as required.
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Containership operation: Safety of personnel
On board containerships there are several potential safety hazards in the cargo working area and these will have to be identified, made safe and monitored to ensure continued safety.
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Containership operation: wet damage in cargo hold
Water entered into vessel cargo holds may cause wet damage to the cargo inside containers especially stowed on the bottom, unless the bilge water is drained in a proper and swift manner.
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Containership operation: hull damage stevedores
In case a third party including stevedores is responsible for an accident caused by work, such as Cargo handling, Bunkering, or Loading ships stores or the like, the Master shall handle the accident with appropriate steps to claim for damages.
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Measures to protect the vessel side against stevedores injury
All working areas and accesses must be checked to be clear of any slippery matter and obstructions, be structurally sound and well lit, before stevedores come on board.
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Measures to protect reefer cargo deterioration
Check and monitor each reefer container as per voyage instruction, which requires some basic check items.
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Containership Navigation : Ships motion in a seaway
Ships are affected by movement in six degrees of freedom; rolling, pitching, heaving, swaying, surging and yawing. Of these, rolling, pitching and heaving generate the highest forces during heavy weather.
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Containership Cargo Securing Arrangement
Details of the securing system and its constraints are set out in the vessels approved Cargo/Container Securing Manual.
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Containership Cargo Operation : Common reasons for stowfall
Container stows often fail due to:

Container stacks being too heavy and too high overall, exposing the lower containers to excessive transverse racking and compressive forces due to the tipping effect.
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Containership operation : Ships motion in a seaway :parametric roll
The term parametric roll is used to describe the phenomenon of large unstable roll motion suddenly occurring in head or stern seas.
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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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