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Chief officers final inspection prior bulk cargo hold survey


The Chief Officer must always carry out a full and final inspection of all cargo holds before presenting them for shipper's final approval and acceptance, to ensure that all cleaning work has been carried out as per his instructions and to his satisfaction, and that he is satisfied that the cargo holds are in a suitable condition for the carriage of the next commodity and presentation to the shippers.

The relevant Management Office must be advised immediately of any expected problem with regard to the holds, passing inspection.

On completion of hold cleaning, the chief officer should carry out a ‘surveyor’s inspection’ in this way:
  1. go down the vertical ladder, stopping to inspect the underside of the upper deck and the hatch end coaming as soon as they become visible. Look all round, using a strong torch if necessary, to check that all horizontal surfaces are clean. Proceed down the ladder, inspecting the bulkhead on each side and the adjacent parts of the ship’s sides




  2. from the tank top, climb accessible pipe guards and inspect surfaces for residues and rust scale. Check behind frames, pipes and pipe guards. Walk around the sides and ends of the tank top, inspecting the bulkheads and ship’s sides. Walk over the tank top, listening for indications of loose rust scale


  3. climb the sloping ladder slowly, inspecting all visible surfaces. Stop at the top, inside the hold, to inspect the underside of the upper deck and the hatch end coaming


  4. check the insides of any deck houses for grain and insects. Be aware that some crews have been known to collect grain residues in sacks to sell at subsequent port calls. Storage of that sort will almost certainly attract insects


  5. If insects are found in grain residues in a hold, clean the residues as thoroughly as possible. Spraying the area with a good-quality insecticide may solve the infestation but do not try to ‘bomb’ a hold with Lindane (now banned in some countries) or similar preparations. It is rarely effective and if surveyors such as representatives of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service notice the ‘bomb’ residues on the tank top, they will be suspicious


  6. be aware that washing a hold will tend to lift hard scale, the effect not being noticeable until the water has dried. Rust scale should not require chipping to remove, before a hold is accepted for grain


  7. open and close hatch covers several times before starting to clean, to shake off residues and loose rust as much as possible


  8. pay particular attention to hold number one. This is often the most difficult to clean because of its shape and additional structural members. Most surveyors will start a grain survey in that hold, and if it passes, less attention may be given to the remaining holds


  9. check bilge wells are dry .
    Check bilge well
    Fig: Bilge plates covered with burlap and ready to load grain

    It is customary to cover bilge well cover strainer plates with burlap and cement around the perimeter, or there may be a bolt down system. Some cargoes, such as zircon, andalusite, titanium slag or chrome ore are contaminated by cement or cement dust. In these cases, the burlap should be positioned using marine tape. Kraft paper can be considered for certain cargoes to prevent dust and silt.


  10. Bilge line testing : One of the most important tasks in hold preparation is to ensure that the bilge wells, lines and valves are in a clean and operational condition.

    The bilge lines must be tested by a competent person (under the supervision of the cargo officer) to ensure that the non-return valves are functioning correctly and not allowing any flow back of water into the holds. The bilge high-level alarms must also be tested and confirmed as operational.


Hold of a bulk carrier that is grain clean and ready to load
Fig: Hold of a bulk carrier that is grain clean and ready to load


Chief Officer: notes and hints on surveyors’ inspection

  1. non-government surveyors are usually paid for each job, not for the time taken to do a job. Anything that speeds up a survey is appreciated. So be prepared
  2. the chief officer, boatswain and a crewman with a hand brush, hand scraper and bucket should accompany the surveyor, so that any spot cleaning can be carried out while the surveyor is in the hold
  3. hatch covers should be at least halfway open if the weather looks like rain; otherwise they should be fully open. The surveyor will probably ask for cover sections to be ‘tented’ so that undersides can be inspected. The inside of the hatch coaming will also be inspected from the deck
  4. ensure that the access hatches at each end of every hold are open. The surveyor may go down the vertical ladder and walk up the sloping ladder
  5. bilge wells must be open for inspection




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