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Preparation for bulk carrier loading - shipside loading plan & responsibility

Solid bulk cargo means any material, other than liquid or gas , consisting of a combination of particles , granules or any larger piece of material, generally uniform in composition, which is loaded directly into the cargo spaces of a ship without any immediate form of containment. Example of such dry cargo are grain, sugar and ores in bulk.

How to make a loading plan in accordance with the ship's loading manual

The ship's approved loading manual is an essential onboard documentation for the planning of cargo stowage & loading operation.

For each step of the loading operation the loading plan should also show the amount of ballast and the tanks to be deballasted, the ship's draught and trim, and the calculated shear stress and bending moments.Exceeding the permissible limits specified in the ship's approved loading manual will lead to over-stressing of the ship's structure and may result in catastrophic failure of the hull structure.

It is imperative to carry out draft checks at regular intervals during the loading, and particularly when between about 75-90% of the cargo is loaded. The tonnage loaded should be compared with the terminal's weight figure, and adjustments to the final trimming figures determined and agreed accordingly.

Any changes to the loading plan required by either terminal or ship should be made known as soon as possible and agreed by the master and terminal representative. Stresses resulting from any changes must remain within the ship's hull stress limitations.

High impact cargo drops and exceeding maximum load limits on tanks tops should be avoided.

To avoid over-stressing the ship:

a) Cargo should be distributed evenly within each hold and trimmed to the boundaries of the cargo space to minimize the risk of it shifting at sea.The quantity of cargo to be trimmed into the fore and aft holds should be delivered exactly as required to ensure the ship finishes with the required fore and aft draughts and trim. This will ensure it will be able to depart from the load port and proceed to and arrive at its unloading port safely and with the required under keel clearance.

b) Cargo should not be loaded high against one hold bulkhead or one side, and low against the other.

c)Each hold should be loaded using at least two separate pours per hold.

d) The terminal should maintain an accurate record of the tonnages loaded in each pour into each hold.

e) Sudden increases in the loading rates causing significant overloading should be avoided.

The amount of cargo remaining on the belts depends on the loading rate at the time. This should be known by the loader operator and the terminal representative

Ship/shore communications arrangements should be confirmed when completing the ship/shore safety checklist, giving all necessary details and contact details for both ship and terminal including:

a) Language and terminology to be used.

b)Location of telephones and terminal offices, normal communications procedures and telephone numbers.

c) Emergency communications procedures and telephone numbers.

d) Designated port VHF Channels

Clarify procedures for providing the duty officer with the tonnage loaded and the loading rate as required.

Clarify arrangements for stops to carry out draught checks.

Clarify arrangements for reporting ship damage by stevedores.

The ship should provide the terminal with its proposed unloading plan in advance of the ship's arrival.

The terminal representative should co-ordinate with the master and agree upon a plan before operations begin.

Agreeing the unloading plan prior to arrival simplifies matters for all concerned when the ship does arrive, as there usually is little time for the master to re-calculate the unloading plan after the ship has arrived and is ready to commence unloading.

Master should ensure that the terminal representative is provided with accurate information in good time so as the loader/ unloader operator can be notified of the ship's requirements.

Ships responsibility during cargo operation:

The ship is responsible for loading the cargo at all times. The safety of the ship and those onboard is paramount. In preparing for any cargo loading operation, commercial understanding and cooperation with the loading terminal is essential to ensure maximum efficiency. The loading of the ship must be done in accordance with the ship's instructions, not those of the terminal. In the event of any unresolved differences involving safe loading or the safety of the ship after loading, in addition to advising owners agent or operating office it is recommended that the situation is discussed with the port safety services or the coastguard.

The world's merchant ships exist to carry cargoes on a commercial basis from one place to another. The ship types undertaking these voyages vary enormously and range in size from the smallest coaster to capesize bulk carriers with a cargo capacity in excess of 300,000 tonnes. In every case, the loading, distribution, stowage, security and monitoring of the cargo is of prime importance to the safety of the ship, her personnel and equipment as well as her ability to earn a profit for her owner.

In addition, the cargo itself may represent a potential source of danger to vessel and some or all the cargo may pose a significant hazard to the environment should some disaster overtake the ship. Today, a great deal of the workload in planning and stowing the cargo is carried out ashore but the Master must always be aware that the responsibility for the safety of the ship remains with him. He must satisfy himself that at all times the ship is being maintained in a safe condition and will be able to undertake the proposed voyage with no danger to her personnel, structure or cargo.

Related Information

Terminal preparation prior loading /unloading

Responsibility of terminal representative for handling bulk cargo

Ship-terminal information exchange for handling solid bulk cargo

Required information from ship to terminal prior loading / unloading bulk cargo

Required information from terminal to ship prior loading / unloading bulk cargo

Suitability of Shore Terminals for handling bulk cargo

Preparation for ships carrying bulk cargo & standard loading condition

Checklist to Show stability, hull strength, draft and trim of the vessel
Our detail pages illustrated many safety aspects of Bulk carrier

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Top articles

  1. Cargo information required by ship master prior handling bulk cargo

  2. Care of cargo during loading- Trimming pours

  3. Terminal information required by ships handling bulk cargo

  4. Checklist for confirming stabilty and hull stress prior loading

  5. Cargo loading agreement between ship and terminal

  6. Bulk carrier loading manual

  7. Handling of deballasting (ship duties) during high loading rate

  8. Cargo and ballast handling guide

  9. Responsibility of ship during cargo operation

  10. Shipboard hazards & bulk carriers safety guideline

  11. Asymmetric cargo and ballast distribution for bulk carriers

  12. Limitations on exceeding load lines

  13. Risk of deviation from the loading limitations

  14. Cargo handling guidance for deck officers

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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