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How to arrange repair of damage during a bulk carrier cargo operation


When a vessel requires repairs to damaged equipment or to the hull it is necessary for the work to be carried out to the satisfaction of the classification society surveyors. In order that the ship maintains its class, approval of the repairs undertaken must be obtained from the surveyors either at the time of the repair or at the earliest opportunity.



The terminal should make every effort to avoid damage to the ship when using unloading or hold cleaning equipment. The ships officer should inspect each hold as soon as possible after the completion of unloading of cargo from the hold. Any damage found should be reported to the terminal representative immediately.Where immediate repair is considered necessary, it should be carried out to the satisfaction of the master before the ship leaves the port.

A Bulk carrier ocean passage

Inspection for ships damage

1) Inspect damaged area together with master.

2) Look for signs of fresh metal or freshly broken welds in the impact area.

3) Measure/estimate the damaged area, and length and depth of any indents.

4) Check for signs of previous damage i.e. rusted broken welds or rusted indents.

Equipment required for damage inspection: notebook, torch, camera, measuring tape.


Minor Scrapes and Indents

1) Photograph the required repair and estimate the cost.
2) Arrange for repairs if necessary, safe and practicable.

Alternatively agree a mutually acceptable means of resolving the issue with the ship's master. Ensure that such agreement is fully documented


Damage to ladders, handrails, steps which cause safety problems

In consultation with master and attending representative from the relevant authority, arrange for repairs to be carried out by a competent contractor.


Serious Damage

This includes holes in tank tops or wing tanks, hatch coaming or hatch cover damage, or damage to decks or fittings essential to maintaining the seaworthiness of the ship. Repairs will have to be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the relevant authorities. Normally the ship's Classification Society surveyor will be called in.


Requirements/Procedure for repair process

In order to avoid or minimize any delays to the ship, the terminal or the specialist repair contractor should have:

1) Steel plate of suitable grade and size for ship repair available:

2) A list of qualified welders, with certificates available. Plates of 12, 16 mm, 18mm, or 20mm grade 50D (or BS 4360/43 D or E) steel, complete with relevant mill certificates will meet most requirements. Have a list of the type of welding rods used.


Working procedure for repairing damage

Carry out the repair in accordance with the procedure and method specified by the surveyor. The following key points will normally have to be observed:

1) Ensure appropriate confined space entry and hot work procedures are followed before personnel begin any activities.
2) Where repair to a hatch cover is required, it should be positively secured in position, and the edges of the hatch cover cordoned off.

Have a competent person carry out an atmosphere test on the tank for explosive vapours/oxygen deficiency before doing any welding/burning or tank entry. Ensure gas detector is properly calibrated.


Signing Damage Report Forms

All damage reports should be signed and acknowledged.

1) Where the damage is repaired, ensure the master provides appropriate documentation acknowledging that the repair was completed to his satisfaction.
2) If damage cannot be repaired duly note estimated cost on the form, and attach signed notes of the agreement reached with the master for the completion of the repairs at another port or ship repair facility

In event of claims for damage which did not occur at this terminal: Record in terms such as "in dispute, old damage, did not occur at this terminal". Acknowledge for "receipt only". Where major damage is concerned the Terminal should appoint a competent independent surveyor to act on its behalf.



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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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