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Hatch Covers Clearance Requirement for Loading Underdeck - Container Ship Operations

Container vessel cargo operations involve many complexities and careful consideration will need to be made for safe cargo handling and planning
Summarized below are some basic principles. These procedures are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship.

Hatch Cover Clearance (High cube containers Under Deck ): Hatch cover clearance must be checked carefully in case of loading over height containers or high cube containers underdeck.

Hatch / Pontoon Covers

Types of hatch covers will vary depending upon the construction of the vessels, and they form a major part of the vessel's watertight integrity and therefore, require a lot of attention. The following are guidance notes which apply to most types of hatch covers, and are to be used in conjunction with manufacturer's instruction manuals and any additional information held on board specific to the type of hatch covers fitted. Hatch covers are to be inspected prior to loading.

Undersides of Hatches
Whilst it is fully appreciated that access to the underside of hatch covers for maintenance purposes is difficult, you are requested to carry out such maintenance to the best of your abilities, with consideration to the type of hatch covers fitted to your vessel.

Stowage of multi folding type hatch covers
Fig: Stowage of multi folding type hatch covers

Stowage of hatch pontoon showing under deck clearance

Hatch pontoon showing under deck clearance

Sealing Rubbers
Sealing rubbers are to be inspected for damage, distortion, cracking and over compression, which can result in deterioration of elasticity and poor sealing. At the points where the rubber sections are joined, gaps may begin to appear. If this occurs it is to be remedied as soon as it is discovered. The rubbers must be smooth and free from rust particles and paint flakes, possibly picked up from hatch coamings. If the rubbers have deteriorated due to age, the relevant Management Office is to be notified with a report on the extent of such deterioration. Poor sealing can often be remedied by insertion of an extra rubber lining underneath the main sealing rubber to increase the compression and provide a better seal.

Jumping stopper for hatch cover
Jumping stopper for hatch cover

Compression Bars
Compression bars must always be kept smooth, free from rust and paint, and any damages must be repaired immediately.

Securing Dogs
Securing dogs must always be used while the vessel is at sea. The dogs must be properly adjusted to ensure a tight securing. They must be well maintained and greased, and are to be checked for tightness on a regular basis.

Drain Channels
Drain Channels are normally inaccessible after the hatch cover has been closed, and are therefore to be attended and checked immediately after loading/discharging operations have been completed. If any obstructions are present, water will be permitted to build up and overflow into the cargo hold. The channels must be swept clean of any rust, scale and flaking paint. Loose items, such as these, will be washed into the coaming drains and causes blockages which result in accumulation of water and eventual overflow into the cargo hold.

Coaming Drains
The non-return drain facilities on the hatch coamings must always be kept clear. They are most susceptible to blockage during loading/discharging operations, and must be checked and cleared after completion of such operations. The condition of the non-return facility must be checked frequently to ensure optimum operation and prevention of water ingress during heavy weather.

Hatch Cover Removal/Replacing
An efficient watch must be maintained whenever hatch covers are being removed or replaced. A responsible member of the ship's staff must check that all hatch securing cleats are released before any cover is removed and that any hatch cover is properly secured with all the cleats before containers are loaded on it. All hatchways must be checked before any cover is replaced to ensure the hatch track way is free from lashing equipment.

Related info :

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

Irregular Stowage of Containers

Over-stow of Containers

Other matters regarding cargo stowage as necessary

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