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Special Container Stowage - containership various safety aspects

A stowage plan for container ships or bay plans is the plan and method by which different types and sizes of containers can be loaded on board a containership. The plans are used to maximize the economy of shipping and safety on board.

After receiving stowage plan ships, Chief Officer must ensure that all Deck Officers are aware of any specialized containers due to be worked, such as reefers, vents, over-heights, over-widths, flat racks, etc. and their unique requirements. In case of reefer containers, Ch. Officer 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 navigation bridge at all times, along with the stowage plan.

containerships operational matters
Oil Tanker Safety Guide
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 sighted to ensure it is in working condition and regularly monitored during the 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 if 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 than 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 meters high. Even items weigh- ing more than 350 tons or being over 30 meters long can be safely carried on. 

Such heavyweights have to be specially handled 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  the 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 regularly. He needs to prepare a defect report regarding the condition of holds and send it to the ship management office..

As standard practice whenever a bay/hold is empty, a thorough inspection is to be carried out to verify that: The bays which have been inspected during the 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, following 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 the Officer on cargo watch, the importance of being diligent concerning damages caused by stevedores and/or cargo, and reporting 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 acknowledgment of receipt of a damaged 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 held by the Master and Chief Officer, special attention is given to safety aspects such as the condition of cell guides, hold ladders, handrails, and platforms. Defects in items like these have caused many injuries. It inevitably delays the vessel schedule due to the refusal of dockworkers and port officials to work in unsafe conditions. 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 hold 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 onboard 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.

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

  1. Containership operation : Cargo Securing
    There are six degrees of motion at sea that a ship may have to encounter in a voyage. However, pitching, heaving, and rolling are three major forces that impact most on a containership's lashing arrangement. Lateral rolling motion factors the greatest challenge for piles of containers. If containers are to be carried safely on the deck of a container vessel, they must be tightly connected to the ship. It is done with the aid of devices known as twist locks. .....

  2. Containership 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. Such an anomaly may occur if the ship is unable to calculate the forces acting on stow with precision. The Cargo/Container Securing Manual is limited in this respect as the examples of container weight distributions shown may not cover all permutations and eventualities. Software programs have the advantage of taking into account all known variables........

  3. Containership operation: Cargo hold ventilation
    Cargo holds ventilation onboard a containership is very important as it minimizes the risk of harm or damage to cargo. A proper ventilation system assures the quality of the transported goods by preventing the formation of condensation in cargo spaces, reducing the harmful heating of the shipment, and removing potential hazardous gases from cargo spaces........

  4. Containership operation: Safety of personnel
    In port stevedores board the vessel for lashing, unlashing and cargo operations and their safety whilst on board is the vessels responsibility. It is important to understand that any injury caused to stevedores or shore personnel due to a condition on board being unsafe, can result in very large claims to the vessel. .....

  5. Containership operation: wet damage in cargo hold
    When water entered into a ship's cargo, hold it may cause wet damage to the cargo inside containers especially to those stowed on the bottom stack, unless the bilge water is drained in a proper and swift manner. The regular sounding of bilge well or monitoring bilge alarm must be one of the very important or rather essential routine jobs on board. However, this job requires special attention on board. All bilge alarm need to be tested regularly......

  6. Reefer cargo care at sea
    Unlike permanent cold stores or refrigerated ships, where robust equipment is under constant care by qualified personnel, the ISO refrigerated container may travel by several different modes and be in the care of many and varied people. Before being despatched to load refrigerated cargo (usually at shippers' premises), the container and its machinery should be subjected to a rigorous examination.......

  7. Containership cargo stowage and planning
    Master and officers of all vessels require a good working knowledge of the various kinds of cargo they are likely to carry their peculiar characteristics, liability to damage, decay, or deterioration, their measurement, and the usual methods of packing, loading and discharging, stowage, dunnage, etc., as the Master is responsible for the safe loading of his vessel and the proper storage of the cargo......

  8. Stacking Weights Restrictions
    rior loading cargo, stacking weights of containers must be checked against the allowable stack weights on board the vessel both on deck and under deck. Neglecting above may cause serious damage to ships structure, hull and eventually overall stabilty of ship may get affected. Maximum allowable stack weights of Tank tops, Hatch covers and Decks shall not be exceeded at any time......

  9. Lashing strength calculation
    Lashing strength of deck cargo shall be ascertained by using the appropriate lashing strength calculation software where provided. All resulting values for lashing strength must be within the tolerance limits prescribed by the vessels classification society......

  10. Dangerous goods stowage and segregation
    Clear guidelines apply to the stowage and segregation of Dangerous Goods and in some cases may require particular commodities to be carried in completely separate holds. The interaction of two cargoes will not occur if the packaging of that cargo remains intact. However, the Master must always consider the possible effect should the cargo escape for any reason and should not restrict his consideration to those cargoes which are listed in the IMDG Code......

  11. Reefer Container Stowage
    Reefer containers proposed for stowage must be accompanied by a reefer manifest. This reefer manifest should contain Container No., Stow position, Commodity, Temperature, and Ventilation status......

  12. Out of Gauge Container Stowage
    It is essential that, during out of gauge cargo operations, a careful watch is kept for any damage caused to the vessel, her equipment, or to containers. Notice of any damage must be immediately brought to the attention of the Stevedore's representative, the Port Captain/Supercargo and Charterers Agent. Damage reports must be completed in all cases giving the full and comprehensive details of damage caused......

  13. Special Container Stowage
    After receiving stowage plan ships, Chief Officer must ensure that all Deck Officers are aware of any specialized containers due to be worked, such as reefers, vents, over-heights, over-widths, flat racks, etc. and their unique requirements.....

  14. 20 or 40 or 45 feet Compulsory Stowage Locations
    Most cargo securing manual provide a guideline for different container types. These stow positions of 20 feet,40 feet, or 45 feet are also incorporated in a ship-specific stowage planning software and highlight errors if any violations occur......

  15. Irregular Stowage of Containers
    The Terminal Planner shall present the pre-loading plan to the Chief Officer 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 specialized container requirements, are met. He should allow the bunker/freshwater consumption during the voyage and all possibilities of ballasting / deballasting. The completed loading plan must be presented to the ship's Master for approval.....

  16. Over-stow of Containers
    With a closed roof, the hardtop the container offers the same reliable protection as provided by a standard box. Hardtop containers have more lashing points than other container types. This guaran- tees reliable and convenient securing of cargo. .....

  17. 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......

  18. Other matters regarding cargo stowage as necessary
    Bulk products carried in a closed container might include malt, grain, seed, polythene granules, chemically inert powders, brake fluid, detergent, fruit juice, wine, non-hazardous oils, sodium silicate, fatty acids and maple syrup amongst many others......

Other Info Pages
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Cargo stowage and planning How to plan effctively
Cargo care at sea Precautions to be taken
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DG cargo handling Procedures & Guidelines
Cargo securing Check items prior departure port
Safe navigation Various factors affecting ships navigation at sea
Hull strength & stability Prior loading how to ensure hull strength & stability of ship
stevedores injury How to prevent injury onboard
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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.