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Bulk carrier cargo hold maintenance procedure
Hold maintenance should be included in the ships planned maintenance as part of a formal inspection and defect reporting system. In addition, after every discharge and after each cleaning, holds should be formally inspected by a competent person. This inspection should be recorded, with photographs. This record of the hold status is useful for providing a specification for repair and for dry-dock periods.
Planned maintenance system and hold inspection regime to include:
- holds framing damaged and tripped brackets
- hold bulkhead coatings to be in an acceptable condition as required by owners and by the particular trade
- condition of hatch covers, trackways, compression bars, channel drainage, hatch rubbers, cross and side cleats. Hatch drain valves should be operational
- hatch and hold vents and watertight lids, including access hatch lids, to be in a sound condition, with undamaged rubber packing and closing cleats and dogs to be operating freely
- hopper sides and indents paint coating: damaged areas to be repaired
- attention to tank top damage and indents
- tank top double bottom or side tank access lid damage. If double bottom lids are removed to inspect the tanks, they must be properly refitted. The condition and the fitting of the gaskets must be checked by a competent person, and nuts should be screwed down securely and pressure-tested before the next cargo is loaded
- hold ladders, platforms and hand rails should be in a sound and safe condition
- checks on hold piping, air vent and water ballast sounding lines, and piping protection brackets
- bilge wells, including bilge covers, strum boxes, and bilge well valves, including non-return valves should be in a clear and sound condition. Bilge systems are an increasing cause of wet damage cargo claims. Non-return valves must be checked to ensure they are fully operational. They should be included in the planned maintenance system and formally checked every three to four months, operations permitting. Bilge lines should be blown back to confirm the effectiveness of the valves
- bilge high-level alarms should be checked
- lights and light fittings should be checked as operational.
Hold discharging job - Typical bulk carrier
There have been claims, including some of high value, where the ship and the cargo have been in jeopardy after the hold lights were left on and/or the lighting wiring was in poor condition, leading to fires in the cargo hold or the ladder trunking. All hold lighting circuits should be disarmed prior to loading.
After each cargo hold is cleaned and prepared a formal inspection should be undertaken as detailed above.
Fire fighting systems if fitted
fixed hold fire extinguishing systems, such as CO2 lines, should be blown through with compressed air and checked to ensure they are free of dust and debris
Defects should be repaired promptly. All tank or hold damage that affects the hold integrity must be repaired. This includes side and double bottom fuel and ballast tanks.
Hold cleaning, and operating high-pressure water wash guns at sea in a moving ship, is a hazardous operation. All personnel must be trained and clearly advised as to their tasks. A permit to work system should be operating and a tool box talk should take place before work begins. These safety concerns should be addressed:
- hold cleaning operations to be authorised by master and chief officer. Bridge to be contacted and kept informed
- work permit system in place
- master should carry out risk assessments in poor weather (enclosed space precautions to be taken in closed hatches)
- all personnel to wear correct personal protective equipment (PPE)
- all personnel to be aware of the dangers and of their duties
- only experienced and trained crew to use high-pressure wash guns
- airlines and hoses should be in good condition
- if chemicals are used, safety data sheets must be consulted and precautions taken
- all equipment to be checked before use and confirmed to be in good condition
- all ladders and accesses to be in sound condition
- all portable ladders to be properly secured
- proper lighting to be used
- proper communications to be available between those in the hold, on deck and on the bridge
- lifting equipment must be in good condition
The more glossy the paint, the easier it is to clean. Epoxy coatings appear to be the most common paint used for holds. If the holds need painting, sufficient time should be allowed to cure and dry the paint. Unless advised otherwise by manufacturers, seven days should be adequate in a well ventilated hold.
Some cargoes such as processed grains are susceptible to taint from uncured paint. Stains from petcoke are difficult to remove from some types of paints. The coke appears to be burnt into the paint and a second high-pressure cleaning with brushing is often required. What you can do:
- reduce the impact pressure of the cargo on the sides of the hold when loading, if possible
- use high-pressure washing with chemicals
- use cherry-pickers to give crew direct or closer access to the hold sides (in port only)
- protect the hold paint before loading, with a prewash or barrier chemical. Check that such chemical is compatible with any food stuff cargoes
Internal water ingress
Water ingress into the holds when carrying cargo is a common cause of cargo damage. This can be the result of poor hatch cover integrity, or water ingress back though the bilge and ballast system.
- check the bilge and ballast/eductor system non-return valves
- check that high-level alarms are operational
- consider blanking off bilge and ballast lines if washing-down
- empty holds when remaining holds contain water-sensitive cargoes
- check the integrity of ballast and fuel oil tank manhole lids
- ships with holds that are also used for seawater ballast must have the ballast lines blanked off and tank top manhole lids securely fitted with gaskets in good condition
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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