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Special Container Stowage - containership various safety aspects

Specialised Containers : The Chief Officer must ensure that all Deck Officers are aware of any specialised containers due to be worked, such as reefers, vents, over-heights, over-widths, flat racks etc and their special requirements.
In the case of reefer containers, the Master is to ensure that he receives written carrying instructions for the cargo. He is also responsible for ensuring that all officers are fully aware of these instructions and the capacity of the vessel’s equipment to meet the carrying requirements. A copy of Reefer Manifest to be maintained on bridge at all times along with the stowage plan.

The carrying instructions will include all requirements such as temperatures to be maintained and any ventilation required. The temperature recording chart on the reefer container is to be sighted to ensure it is in working condition and regularly monitored during passage. Other reefer container equipment including plugs and plug sockets must also be maintained in good working order.

When stowing high cube containers on deck, visibility from bridge must be considered in case several high cube containers are in the same stack. When stowing these Under Deck, Hatch cover clearance must be considered. Depending on the vessels construction, a slot may need to be kept vacant if more that 1 high cube container is loaded Under Deck.
Heavy lift cargo
Fig :Heavy lift cargo

The stowage of 45 foot containers is restricted by lashing requirements, lashing bridges, Reefer monitoring platforms or other obstructions. Allowable positions for loading 45’ containers must be carefully checked prior loading.

Many containerships are designed to carry Locomotives, large yachts, planes, entire factory plants, boilers, wind generators, giant turbines and ship propellers or art statues more than ten metres high. Even items weigh- ing more than 350 tons or being over 30 metres long can be safely carried on . 

Such heavyweights have to be specially han- dled during loading/discharging and firmly secured for transport by sea. Technical know- how, a long experience, good communications network with ports, port operations, stowage planners and  crew on board  and modern equipment are essential for a safe journey.

Maintenance And Condition
Cargo hold ventilation shall be kept in good working condition to accommodate the required number of air exchanges. Air distribution systems to be kept in good condition and the air louvers to be possible to be adjusted such as to provide adequate air to the reefers with different stowage patterns for high cubes and standard reefer containers.
Although it is the Chief Officer's duty to ensure that work is carried out in the cargo holds whenever possible to maintain and improve their condition, it is the Master's overall responsibility to inspect the cargo holds on a regular basis, to report their condition and relay any defects to the relevant Management Office.

As standard practice whenever a bay/hold is empty, a thorough inspection is to be carried out in order to verify that: The bays which have been inspected during port stay as above must be entered in the logbook. In case there is no access to a bay (partially discharged) a visual inspection is recommended.

Stevedore Damage To The Vessel
Stevedore damage must be documented and protested on company form , or the Charterer’s Form, in accordance with the relevant clauses in the charter party. This is to be carried out within the stated time limits, but preferably as soon as damage is caused / discovered. All parties concerned must be notified immediately, i.e. charterers, stevedores, agents, Managers etc. As much information as is available is to be included in this type of report to assist in any claims which may have to be made against a third party.

In this connection, it is the Master's responsibility to impress upon the Officer on cargo watch, the importance of being diligent with respect to damages caused by stevedores and/or cargo, and to report such damages immediately to the Chief Officer, who is to initiate the appropriate damage reports. It is the Master's responsibility to notify the parties concerned, and to obtain an acknowledgement of receipt of damage report from these parties.

A register of stevedore damages shall be maintained and sent to the management office every three months. Stevedore damages that affect vessel class must be immediately notified to the Fleet Superintended and rectified before departure.

Safety Aspects
During routine inspections of cargo holds by the Master and Chief Officer, special attention is to be given to safety aspects such as, condition of cell guides, hold ladders, hand rails and platforms. Many injuries have been caused through defects in items such as these, and inevitably delays to the vessel will result from the refusal of dock workers and port officials to enter these spaces due to such defects. Attention must also be given to observation positions around the hatch coamings and hold accesses which are always to be kept in good condition, and free from obstructions.

Due regard must be given at all times to personal safety when carrying out cleaning, maintenance and inspection work within the holds. For this reason, any entry into closed cargo holds must be subjected to a risk assessment and enclosed space entry procedures to followed. Access points to cargo holds must be marked as “Enclosed Spaces” and the Enclosed Space Entry Kit used to indicate which spaces have been tested and identified as safe for access.

Personnel Protection
All ships carrying dangerous cargoes must have on board medical first-aid equipment, including oxygen resuscitation equipment and antidotes for cargo carried in compliance with the recommendations listed in IMO – MFAG (Medical First Aid Guide) and WHO –IMGS (International Medical Guide for Ships).

Inspection For Fractures / Cracks Corrision
Particular attention is drawn to the sea staff serving on older vessels, for the need to check carefully for signs of any fractures, cracks or corrosion in the plating or frames of the cargo holds.



Related info :



• Stacking Weights

• Lashing strength

• Dangerous goods stowage and segregation

• Reefer Container Stowage

• Out of Gauge Container Stowage

• 20’ or 40’ or 45’ 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



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Our additional pages contain somewhat larger resources regarding procedures / guidelines about container stowage and safe handling in port,care at sea, Stacking weights,cargo securing prior departure port, Lashing Strength, Dangerous Cargo Stowage & Segregation,handling Reefer units, Special Container Stowage, Irregular Stowage of Containers, Over-stow of Containers,safety of navigation,Hull strength & stability,stevedores injury and reporting, Hatch Cover Clearance (High cube containers Under Deck ) and many more detail topics related with containership operation and business.