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Reefer Container -How to maintain records

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.The article here is about procedures and guidelines on reefer cargo maintaining records. Temperature of the air which is drawn off from the refrigerated hold/container is called "Return air temperature". It is important to maintain the return air temperature during refrigeration.

Maintaining proper records is as important as the actual performance of the job itself. In case of any cargo damage and claims, it is most important to prove that the Due Diligence was exercised by the master / vessel from the time the container was loaded on board until the time it was discharged.
Therefore, the master should keep all records to prove due diligence on board, and send them to the company immediately in case they are requested:

Item Records

i) Supply of electric power within reasonable time after loading reefer containers Loading check lists including the loading / plug-in times and temperatures should be maintained.

ii) Monitoring the digital & chart temperatures of all reefer containers at least twice a day. Daily reefer container temperature check lists should be maintained, and printouts from monitoring unit should be preserved

iii) Notifying booking line and/or agent immediately in case of malfunction File of Reefer Unit Trouble Report should be maintained

iv) Keeping enough spare parts in good order Record of regular inventories, and communication to booking lines for consumption and/or supply receipts



There may be some occasions when above Item (ii) and (iii) are not possible to comply due to weather conditions. The weather reports / faxes and other records should be well maintained on board, to prove the weather conditions at such dates / times.


Coolants used for refrigeration units

Originally, all refrigerated containers were operated using the coolants R11 and R12. After the destruction of the ozone layer became an issue and consequently these coolants were banned by the Montreal Protocol, a number of manufacturers switched briefly to R22 as a substitute coolant. However, as this is also being phased out, the two coolants R134a and R404a are now generally used instead.

Currently, however, it is likely that R134a will also be banned, so that the next round of changes in coolants can be expected in around 2010.


Electronic controllers

Refrigeration units are nowadays controlled and regulated by electronic controllers. Depending on the features of the device, these controllers perform a variety of complex tasks. It must be noted that the controllers themselves are very often a cause of problems. Much refrigeration damage is caused by faulty controllers or the peripherals associated with them (e.g. sensors). The controllers must therefore be designed to be as robust as possible and to be able to withstand the prevalent ambient conditions in terms of heat, cold and moisture



Related articles



Reefer cargo Handling In Port
Reefer containers shall be plugged in and supplied with ships power as soon as practicable after loading. In case it is to be done by shore hands, ships crew shall still closely monitor the operation and confirm that all reefer containers are supplied with power earliest after loading....

Reefer cargo care at sea
At sea, all reefer containers shall be monitored by checking physically at least Twice daily (weather permitting). All monitored data for each reefer container on board shall be entered in a reefer monitoring log and retained for 3 years. Some reefer containers with special cargo (e.g.: VIP cargo) come with instructions for more frequent monitoring and reporting. Such instructions shall be strictly followed. ....

Commodities Shipped In Reefer Containers
Some cargoes may require controlled humidity (e.g. flower bulbs). It should be remembered in such cases that many refrigeration units are only capable of reducing humidity within the cargo space and the settings should be applied accordingly. ....

Reefer Cargo Temperature Recording
A Partlow recorder registers temperature on a pressure sensitive circular chart over 31 day period. If the voyage transit is expected to exceed 31 days, care must be taken to ensure charts are replaced before expiry. The first chart should be placed under-neath the new chart in order to build up a complete temperature record for the entire voyage up until arrival at the final destination. .....

Reefer Cargo Maintaining Records
Monitoring the digital & chart temperatures of all reefer containers at least twice a day. Daily reefer container temperature check lists should be maintained, and printouts from monitoring unit should be preserved.....

Reefer Cargo Defrosting
During the operation of a refrigeration unit, a layer of ice will form on the evaporator coils depending on the temperature set, the temperature of the cargo, the amount of fresh air ventilation and the cargo humidity. The unit periodically enters a phase where heat is produced by a series of electrical bars, allowing defrosting to take place. At such times, all fans are turned off automatically in order to prevent heat from entering the cargo compartment. ....

Basic check item prior stowing Reefer Cargo
Stowage location of reefers must be checked against vessels reefer receptacle locations. In case reefer containers must be loaded in irregular locations, it must be confirmed that monitoring and repair will be possible during the voyage and that vessel has sufficient extension cables for providing power. ....



Preventing Reefer Cargo deterioration



Container handling additional guideline:

Containership cargo stowage and planning

Stacking Weights Restrictions

Lashing strength calculation

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

Irregular Stowage of Containers

Over-stow of Containers

Hatch Cover Clearance (High cube containers Under Deck )

Other matters regarding cargo stowage as necessary

How to load maximum number 20 feet container on deck ?

What are the extra precaution should be taken prior loading a 45 feet container on deck ?

Container damage in ''2 in 1'' cargo Operation

Modern containership & loading of various container types

How to load containers coming in different forms/sizes



Our additional pages contain somewhat larger lists of resources where you can find useful informations




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
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