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Bulk carrier hatch cover maintenance standards


Below article outline issues related to cargo claims and tests to be carrie out on board to detect any leaks- importance of hatch cover maintenance and program that are required to be maintained on board to avoid insurance claims

As per IMO /MSC/Circ.1071 Ship owners and operators are recommended to maintain a record of maintenance, and component replacement, to facilitate statutory surveys by the Administration.



All major repairs should be undertaken only after consultation with the hatch cover manufacturer and with the approval of the Administration. Hatch cover maintenance plans should form part of a ships safety management system as referred to in the ISM Code.

Although the PMS has an ongoing system both for renewals and maintenance regime, it is recommended that vessels maintain a simple checklist as per makers instructions is advisable to be maintained on board and the checklist should cover the below items.

After Each cargo operation

  1. Clean the coaming tops and remove any debris or equipment
  2. Clear drain line holes and valves of debris
  3. Drain valve caps should be attached by chain, but not screwed on. They must be ready in case of a fire in the hold or when carrying out fumigation operations
  4. Grooves and worn landing pads can be built up with welding and ground down, as required, giving a permanent repair
  5. Check and clean the surface of the seals and take special care if the cargo is dusty or gritty
  6. After discharge check hold internals, including ladders, sounding pipes, backetrs and inner coaming surface for mechanical damage
  7. Check hydraulic system for leaks, especially coupling, valve blocks and flexible hoses
  8. Check forrust streaks on the inside of the coaming which would indicate a leaking hatch cover, then take any necessery remedial action. Clean off the old rust streaks and stains.

Routine maintenance - three monthly


9 Monthly or Annual checks

  1. Check qunatity and condition of spares carried on board
  2. The rubber packings and adhesive have a limited shelf life and normally should be date stamped when purchased
  3. Check hydraulic system oil by analysis
  4. Check safety locking devices and hydraulicsystem cutouts

Dos and Donts