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Arrangement of cargo damage survey onboard bulk carrier



If cargo damage has occurred or is suspected, the ship master should immediately inform the charterer and the P&I Club. The main concern is when the receiver refuses to accept delivery of the damaged cargo, resulting in a loss to the vessel. The first aim is to persuade the receiver to accept the cargo. However, this can only be done by agreement between the carrier and the receiver.



It is possible that the receiver and the carrier may appoint a joint surveyor to reach an agreement on the extent of damage. However, for ship's officers, it is vital that the facts are recorded in the appropriate logbook as soon as damage has been discovered.

To support a claim, the surveyor may request that the ship provide the following documents: Before any documentation is handed over, the authority of the ship's operator is required. The surveyor may also ask for additional documentation, depending upon the nature of the cargo and the trade area.

It must be kept in mind that the carrier must show that the ship has been maintained in a seaworthy condition, that due diligence has been exercised for the safe carriage of the cargo and that any damage to the cargo has been due to circumstances beyond the control of shipboard officers. If these can be proven by documentary evidence a claim can be avoided.

Hold Damage Surveys

If ship's officers notice any damage to the ship's structure they must immediately notify the Master, who in turn must notify the concerned parties including managers, charterers and P&I Club as well as the stevedores. A letter should be issued to the stevedores holding them responsible for the damage . If the ship has been chartered, the charterers are usually responsible for the damage caused by the stevedores. However, since the onus to prove the claim in such cases is on the claimant, ie the carrier, the ship's officers must ensure that adequate evidence is collected as soon as possible.

To avoid losing a claim, any negligence by the stevedores should immediately be brought to the attention of the Master, who should notify them in writing.


Use of damage control book

Damage control books issued to cargo ships contain text, tables and diagrams providing information concerning the ship’s damage control characteristics and systems. These books normally include the information from tank sounding tables, stability and loading data booklets, cross curves of stability and other sources. Copies of the damage control book should be readily available in the event of any shipboard emergency.

Damage Control Plan showing clearly for each deck and hold and boundaries of the watertight compartments, the openings therein with the means of closure and position of any control thereof, and the arrangements for the correction of any list due to flooding. The plan is to be permanently exhibited or readily available on the navigation bridge. In addition, booklets containing the aforementioned information are to be made available to the officers of the vessel.
Further reading: MSC.1/Circ.1245 dated 29October 2007 “Guidelines for Damage Control Plans and Information to the Master”

Tables and Drawings.

The Damage Control Book includes tables and drawings showing the locations of:

i) Watertight and fumetight doors, hatches and scuttles.

ii)Ventilation fittings, fans and controllers.

iii) Fire main piping valves and stations.

iv) Drainage system piping and valves.

v) Sound-powered phone circuits and jacks.

Damage stability – Stability of a flooded ship. When water runs into a ship following an accident, different scenarios can take place. The ship may sink due to flooding of so many compartments that there is not enough buoyancy to keep the vessel afloat. This was the case for RMS TITANIC that sank in 1912, 2.5 hours after hitting an iceberg. With today’s rescue means, 2.5 hours would be enough to save most of the people on board.

A much more dangerous scenario is ship capsizing due to loss of transverse stability as this can happen within few minutes. The disasters with HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE and ESTONIA may serve as an example. A vessel can survive damage of some extent if the hull is subdivided into watertight compartments by means of watertight bulkheads. The subdivision should be designed to make sure that after the flooding of some compartments the ship can float and be stable under moderate environmental conditions. Then, passengers and crew can be saved.

Damage stability calculations – Calculations of stability of damaged ship are complicated and tedious. At present, two different analysis concepts are applied: the deterministic concept and the probabilistic concept. For both concepts, the damage stability calculation shall be made according to the method of lost buoyancy. Unfortunately, the collision resistance is not considered when assessing damage stability and vessels with strengthened side structures are treated in the same way as single-hulled ships.

Source data : Wärtsilä Encyclopedia of Ship Technology


Top articles

  1. Measures against ships hull damage

  2. Deterioration of ships structure and consequences of forward flooding

  3. Handling water ingress problems in bulk carrier, investigation and countermeasures

  4. Survival and safety procedure for bulk carriers

  5. Monitoring hull stresses during rough sea conditions

  6. Structural problems associated with corrosion, metal fatigues & other operational factors


  7. Preparation for ships carrying bulk cargo & standard loading condition


  8. Cases of cargo damage because of improper ventilation


  9. Preventive measures against cargo which may liquefy


Our detail pages illustrated many safety aspects of Bulk carrier

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Operation of sea going bulk carriers involved numerous hazards . Careful planning and exercising due caution for all critical shipboard matters are important . This site is a quick reference to international shipping community with guidance and information on the loading and discharging of modern bulk carriers so as to remain within the limitations as specified by the classification society.
It is vital to reduce the likelihood of over-stressing the ship's structure and also complying with all essential safety measures for a safe passage at sea. Our detail pages contain various bulk carrier related topics that might be useful for people working on board and those who working ashore in the terminal. For any remarks please Contact us

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