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What is meant by solid bulk cargo ?What information required by ship master prior handling such cargo

Solid bulk cargoes are defined as any cargoes that are transported in a loose form without any packaging. The IMO defines these as:
"any material, other than a liquid or gas, consisting of a combination of particles, granules or any other larger pieces of material, generally uniform in composition, which is loaded directly into the cargo spaces of a ship without any intermediate form of containment".

Bulk cargoes commonly transported on ships include fertilisers, coal, grains, sugar, ores, minerals etc.

The master should ensure he receives from the shipper of the intended cargo details of the nature of the cargo required by chapter VI of SOLAS 1974, as amended. Where additional details, such as trimming or continuous measurement of the water in the cargo, etc., are required, the master should inform the terminal accordingly.

Before commencement of loading of a solid bulk cargo, the shipper must provide the master with the characteristics and properties of the cargo, including:

The terminal representative should verify that the master has received the relevant cargo declaration form information, as applicable, in good time.

The master should inform the terminal representative of any particular precautions to be taken with the loading or unloading of the cargo.

Ship master should aware that a bulk cargo may be carried as the only cargo on his ship or as one of a number of different commodities carried in different holds.

The ship is responsible for loading the cargo at all times. The safety of the ship and those onboard is paramount. In preparing for any cargo loading operation, commercial understanding and cooperation with the loading terminal is essential to ensure maximum efficiency.

The loading of the ship must be done in accordance with the ship's instructions, not those of the terminal. In the event of any unresolved differences involving safe loading or the safety of the ship after loading, it is recommended the master should inform immediately to ships agent, the port safety services or the coastguard where appropriate.

Point Loading

This term refers to the deck strength and the maximum permitted weight loading of cargo, expressed in metric tonnes per square metre. Classification society rules will state these limits for tank tops, `tween decks, weather decks and hatch covers, predicated on evenly loaded cargoes. In the case of bulk carriers, tank top strengths may vary from 10mt/m2 up to 25mt/m2 in ships with specially strengthened holds.

If a bulk carrier loads a homogeneous cargo of, say, iron ore, the amount of cargo permitted to be loaded in the hold would be determined by multiplying the surface area of the tank top by the permissible load per m2. The loading given by this calculation should never be exceeded.

Complications arise where a bulk carrier has to load steel coils. It will be appreciated that there is a very small area of contact with the tank top for a steel coil of 15­25mt.

The double bottoms of large bulk carriers normally have longitudinal intercostals about 800mm apart. Bearing this in mind, the judicious use of dunnage to spread the load may be a solution. Charterers/shippers may be reluctant to provide dunnage but a compromise is normally reached.

Cargo documents

  1. Bulk carrier voyage agreement - Function of bill of lading

  2. Signing a bill of lading & relevant guideline

Related Information

  1. Additional cargo documents required for bulk cargo loading

  2. What is ship sweat or cargo sweat - action required at sea

  3. Bulk carrier acceptability of loading regulation

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

  5. Information to ship from terminal prior loading bulk cargo

  6. Local loading criteria defining maximum allowable cargo weight in each cargo hold

  7. High loading rates by shore terminal and potential problems for bulk carriers

  8. Requirement for ballast exchange ar sea

  9. Risk of partially filled ballast tanks

  10. Bulk carrier design limitations - Over stressing on ships structure & countermeasures

  11. Causes of structural damage and countermeasures

  12. Deterioration of ships hull and consequences of hull damage /forward flooding

  13. Bulk carrier hull damage - causes and preventive measures

  14. How to avoid damage during cargo operation

  15. How to arrange repair of damage during cargo loading/unloading

  16. Bulk carrier water ingress problem

Our detail pages illustrated many safety aspects of Bulk carrier

Home page |||Bulk carrier types ||| Handling of bulk coal |||Cargo planning ||| Carriage of grain |||Risk of iron ores |||Self unloading bulk carriers |||Care of cargo & vessel |||Cargoes that may liquefy |||Suitability of ships |||Terminal guideline |||Hold cleaning |||Cargo cranes |||Ballast handling procedure |||Bulk carrier safety |||Fire fighting systems |||Bulk carrier General arrangement

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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