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Monitoring of Stevedoring Operations & Actions After Hull Damages by Stevedores - Bulk carrier guide


Monitoring of Stevedoring Operation

The actual handling of the cargo in loading and discharging is done by stevedores, who are experienced men appointed for this purpose when a vessel arrives at a port. This does not release the Master from the responsibility for the safety of the ship and cargo, and he must supervise the work of the stevedores for general safety.

The officer in charge has responsibility for the monitoring of the stevedoring operation and should ensure that:

i) The agreed loading/unloading sequence is being followed by the terminal.



ii) Any damage to the ship is reported.

iii) The cargo is loaded, where possible, symmetrically in each hold and, where necessary, trimmed.

iv) Effective communication with the terminal is maintained.

v) The terminal staff advise of pour completions and movement of shoreside equipment in accordance with the agreed plan.

vi) The loading rate does not increase beyond the agreed rate for the loading plan. If there is likely to be a change by the terminal to either the loading/unloading sequences or the cargo loading/unloading rate, the officer in charge is to be informed with sufficient notice. Changes to the agreed loading/unloading plan are to be implemented with the mutual agreement of both the ship and the terminal.

If a deviation from the loading/unloading plan is observed, the officer in charge should advise the cargo terminal immediately so that necessary corrective actions are implemented without delay. If considered necessary, cargo and ballasting operations must stop.


Monitoring the Ship's Loaded Condition

The officer in charge should closely monitor the ship's condition during cargo operations to ensure that if a significant deviation from the agreed loading/unloading plan is detected all cargo and ballast operations must STOP. The officer in charge should ensure that,

i) the cargo operation and intended ballast procedure are synchronised.

ii) draught surveys are conducted at appropriate steps of the loading plan to verify the ship's loading condition. The draught readings, usually taken at amidships and the fore and aft perpendiculars, should be in good agreement with values calculated in the loading plan.

iii) ballast tanks are sounded to verify their contents and rate of ballasting/deballasting.

iv) the cargo load is in agreement with the figures provided by the terminal.

v) the SWSF, SWBM and, where appropriate, hold cargo weight versus draught calculations are performed at intermediate stages of the cargo operation. These results should be logged, for recording purposes, against the appropriate position in the loading plan.

Following a deviation from the loading plan, the officer in charge should take all necessary corrective actions to:

i) Restore the ship to the original loading/unloading plan, if possible, or

ii) Replan the rest of the loading/unloading operation, ensuring that the stress and operational limits of the ship are not exceeded at any intermediate stages.

The ammended loading/unloading plan should be agreed by both the officer responsible for the loading plan and the cargo terminal representative. Cargo operations should not resume until the officer in charge gives a clear indication to the terminal of his readiness to proceed with the cargo operation.


Ships Structure Damage Caused by Cargo Operations

Ship's crew should be aware of the damage that can be caused when grabs are utilised for discharging cargo. All damages should be reported to the ship's Master. Where ships damage is identified, which may affect the integrity of the hull structure and the seaworthiness of the ship, the ship's owner and classification society must be notified.

A general inspection of the cargo holds, hatch pontoons and deck area is recommended to identify any physical damage of the hull structure. Any structural damage found is to be reported to the classification society and for major damage, cargo operations should be ceased immediately.

Un-safe mooring or Defect on mooring systems shall cause the ship unexpected parting from the berth, which may lead Causality to Human, Ship and Shore facility.

Draft reading, cargo amount calculations, damage reports, making proper remarks on cargo work papers & time sheets all are importnat for a bulk carrier operation.

Preventing accident

Accidents may occur for many reasons, including improper maintenance of cargo handling equipment, improper use of cargo handling equipment, complacency of personnel in carrying out routine duties and human error. Regular and thorough inspection of cranes, wires, sheaves, blocks, etc. should be part of the planned maintenance programme with associated documents (test certificates and inspection reports) kept up-to-date and ready for inspection. When painting, limit switches and grease nipples must be kept clear of paint so that they are not made ineffective by jamming or blocking.

"Good housekeeping" is the attention to detail that will reduce the risk of accidents to personnel and cargo. These include:
  1. Clear, unobstructed access to all cargo handling and stowage areas.

  2. Proper well-maintained lighting in holds and on deck where personnel are working.

  3. The removal of nails from old dunnage and / or the removal of dunnage to a safe area.

  4. The provision of adequate and appropriate personal protection equipment when carrying out particular tasks.

  5. Walking boards for access over delicate cargoes, e.g. foodstuffs, light carton goods, etc.

  6. Regular inspection of cargo (when safe and appropriate adopt Entry into Enclosed Spaces precautions) during a sea passage.

  7. Erection of guard rails around open holds, decks and access hatches.

  8. Barriers and controls to restrict access of unauthorised personnel to areas where hazardous operations are being carried out, including decks over which cargo is being handled.

  9. The roping-off of damaged ladders to prevent access.

  10. Preventing personnel from climbing onto open hatch covers.

  11. Preventing the handling of cargo (particularly bulk cargo) through partially open hatch covers.

While this list is certainly not exclusive, it gives an indication of the points that a ship's officer should be looking for to make his working ship a safer environment for both the ship's crew and stevedores.

Some bulk cargoes produce a great deal of dust during handling which may be both irritating and harmful to personnel. In such circumstances, personnel working on deck should be provided with suitable protective equipment such as overalls and face masks. If practical the accommodation should be made dust-free by securing doors, windows, portholes and inlets. Air conditioning fans are normally situated clear of cargo holds but, if necessary, the system should be closed down. Thorough washing down of decks and bulkheads should be carried out as soon as possible after the completion of cargo operations, subject, of course, to local regulations on cargo residues being permitted to go overboard with wash water.


Related guideline

Risk of Heavy cargoes & Monitoring the Ship's Loading limits

Monitoring ships loaded condition to avoid exceeding loading limits

Inadequate cargo weight measurement during loading - How to avoid shortfall

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

Suitability of Shore Terminals for handling bulk cargo

Preparation for ships carrying bulk cargo & standard loading condition

Our detail pages illustrated many safety aspects of Bulk carrier

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  15. 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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