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Safe working practice while operating ships lifting equipment

Ships' staff should be alert to the possibility of damage to both a crane structure and/or its wires. The most common damage is that to the hoist wire, often caused by improper or rough handling by the crane driver. The hoist wire should always be vertical when lifting or landing a load. Swinging a load to land it or dragging an item out from the wings will inevitably result in wire damage through contact with the coaming, the likelihood of damage to the jib head sheaves and the possibility of jib damage. Dragging out from a wing may also cause the hook block to jam under the coaming with damage to the hook and the possibility of hoist wire failure. Ships' officers should be alert to and stop such practices with a Letter of Protest being issued if unsatisfactory operation continues.

Limit switches should not be overridden when handling cargo and their use must be strictly limited to stowing or raising the jib.

Unauthorised repairs should not be made to crane jibs, e.g. cropping and/or welding inserts in wasted steelwork. Repairs must only be carried out under the guidance of manufacturers and the classification society.

Operation of ships lifting gears:

No person is to be allowed to operate lifting equipment without adequate training and familiarisation with the operating instructions. Trained persons are to be issued certificates with record formal training and approval to use the appliance. No appliance is to be operated in a manner other than described in the operating instructions. Persons who are permitted to operate equipment or assist in the operation of lifting equipment are to be fully conversant with the appropriate sections of the CODE OF SAFE WORKING PRACTICE.

All lifting appliances are subject to load testing every 5 years with annual intermediate examinations. A register of lifting appliances and items of loose gear is to be maintained up to date and ready for inspection by any regulatory authority.

Lifting appliances must not be operated outside their design limits regarding safe working load, wire speed, list, trim or dynamic movement of the vessel. All these limitations are to be clearly marked on the appliance.

Controls are to be permanently and clearly marked with their function and operating directions and instructions. Where special instructions are applicable to securing and unsecuring of the equipment these shall be separately detailed in a clear manner. Controls must not be modified in any way from their original specification.

All fitted safety devices limit switches, cut-offs or pawls are to be kept in good working order and tested regularly. Safety devices must never be isolated or overridden.

Lifting appliances must always be attended when in the ‘on’ position. When work is completed the appliance is to be secured as applicable and the power turned off.

Personnel who are operating lifting equipment shall have no other duties and must have a clear view of the operation. Where this is not possible a trained signaller is to be used to give directional instructions to the operator. The signals used are to comply with these detailed in the CODE OF SAFE WORKING PRACTICE.

Personnel and signallers must not allow loads to pass over themselves.

Transfer by Personnel Basket

Under certain circumstances the use of personnel baskets lifted by the ship’s cranes presents less risk than the use of gangways or pilot ladders for access to the ship. Transfer by personnel basket is only permitted subject to the following conditions:-

In addition, prior to arrival in any area where the use of baskets is probable, then the crane is to be thoroughly checked both mechanically and operationally by the Chief Engineer and the Chief Officer. This is to be verified by a log entry to the effect that this examination has been carried out. That a risk assessment is carried out and that this method if transfer presents the option with the least risk.

That the operating procedure is documented including parameters such as weather etc. That the personnel driving the crane must have received appropriate training and instruction. That where the transfer is over water, lifejackets are worn by all personnel being transferred. That all personnel, including those being transferred, are briefed in the transfer procedure. That in the normal type of basket used, personnel travel on the outside of the basket and luggage on the inside.

That transfer of the personnel is voluntary and at the discretion of the Master or Master’s dependant whether it is ship to ship or ship to shore transfer.

In the context of a ship's crane, the following terms are explained:
  1. Raising or lowering - this is where the hook is raised or lowered with the jib at rest.
  2. Slewing - this is where the crane jib is transversed horizontally with the hook at rest.
  3. Luffing - this where the crane jib is raised or lowered vertically with the hook at rest.

Slewing and Securing of Cargo Cranes

In many cases, especially onboard container vessels equipped with cargo cranes, shore gantry cranes are used for loading and discharging. In such cases the vessel’s own cargo cranes are not in use and they have to be slewed prior to commencing of cargo operations towards the sea, at right angles to the ship’s axis. After cargo operations, the jibs have to be secured back into the crutches. This operation has to be authorized by the Chief Officer who has to assure that no shore or sea obstructions are in the way of the jibs while they are operated.

Sometimes it is necessary to move the jibs while shore or sea obstructions (such as gantry cranes) are in close vicinity of the jibs. But as this will increase the possibility to make contact with them, the responsible foreman (stevedore foreman) has to be consulted to seek verbal confirmation that all non- vessel’s crane drivers are alerted and will not move their cranes towards the vessel’s cargo cranes and jibs.

The vessel is not to leave the berth until fully secured for sea even if tugs are alongside and the pilot is onboard waiting to sail.

Related articles :

Inspection, testing & certification of ships lifting gears

Crane safety checks prior to cargo operation

Safe working practice while operating ships lifting equipment

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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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