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Australian stowage requirements for vessels loading grain


A Certificate of Fitness to Load Grain will be issued by a marine surveyor, approved by the shipper and ship owner or operator, before a ship begins loading, subject to the following requirements being observed. A Certificate of Stowage may be issued on completion of loading at each port.


‘Grain’ means seed or grain of any of the following kinds: barley, canola, chickpeas, dried field peas, faba beans, lentils, lupins, oats, sorghum, soybeans, split vetch, whole vetch, wheat

‘Marine Surveyor’ under these requirements means a person with the following minimum qualifications and experience:

(a) Certificate of Competency as Master Class 1 (Unrestricted) or its equivalent, and

(b) (i) Inspected at least 10 vessels for suitability to load prescribed grain or prescribed goods for consumption over a maximum period of two years while in the company of a marine surveyor having the qualifications referred to in paragraph (a); and

(b) (ii) in the three years prior to the proposed survey, he or she must have surveyed at least 10 ships for suitability to carry prescribed grain or prescribed goods for consumption (Note: compliance with (b) (i) is taken as compliance with (b) (ii), if applicable)
A clean hold
Fig:A clean hold – hospital clean prior loading grain

Cleanliness and dryness

All spaces to be loaded with grain must be thoroughly clean and dry, free of odour, gas or fumes and in every respect fit to receive grain cargo. In particular:
Bilge spaces and bilge wells

Bilge spaces and bilge wells shall be clean, dry and free of odour. Bilge space and bilge well suctions are to be tested to the surveyor’s satisfaction. Where this is not possible the Master must supply a certificate stating that the cargo hold bilge pumps and non-return valves are operating satisfactorily

Grain Tightness

All tank-top and fuel tank sheathing must be grain tight. Where the condition of the sheathing renders this impracticable, the sheathing must be covered with hessian, polyethylene, paper or other suitable material to prevent the ingress of grain

Bilge spaces and bilge wells must be covered with hessian or similar porous material after inspection, in such a manner as to prevent the entry of grain into the bilge space or well, but to permit the entry of water

‘Tween deck and other scuppers must be covered with hessian or similar porous material in such a manner as to prevent the entry of grain into the scupper opening but to permit the entry of drainage water

Deep Tanks. Wing/Feeder Tanks

When grain is to be loaded into liquid cargo tanks, one suction pipe in each cargo tank must be effectively sealed with hessian or other similar porous cloth, so that it is grain tight but not watertight. Where not already fitted a sounding pipe must be provided

Other pipes leading into the tank are to be blanked off, if necessary, to the Surveyor’s satisfaction, to ensure that the cargo tank cannot be accidently flooded during the intended voyage and a certificate to blanking off must be provided by the Master or Chief Engineer, upon request by the Surveyor

Hatch Covers

Pontoon hatch covers are required to be in good condition and sound tarpaulins must be available for weather deck hatches

Patent hatch covers and hold access hatches must be in good condition with closing appliances and sealing arrangements in good order

The Surveyor must be satisfied following a visual inspection that the hatch covers and access hatches may reasonably be considered as watertight. If not so satisfied the Surveyor shall withhold issue of the Certificate until any deficiencies are rectified to his satisfaction

Tankers and OBO Vessels

Tankers (not having bilge wells) must be provided with boxes constructed around stripping suctions in accordance with Australian Maritime Safety Authority requirements. Such boxes shall be grain tight but not watertight. Limbers or openings, properly covered with hessian or similar porous cloth, must be provided to permit entry of water. The total area of such openings must be at least six times the cross sectional area of the stripping line pipe

All pipelines to cargo spaces must be thoroughly cleaned or blown out

All pipelines, except stripping lines, must be blanked off

All cargo carrying spaces must be completely clean, dry, odour and gas free

All loose scale must be removed to the satisfaction of the Surveyor

Bagged grain

A vessel loading bagged grain shall comply with the requirements for bulk grain. In addition, if considered necessary by the surveyor, bitumenised paper (or equivalent) and/or dunnage shall be used to protect the cargo.

The above stowage requirements were adopted by Australian licensed grain shippers, the principal shipping agents and Australian marine surveyors after consultations in 2009.

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