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Unloading cargo , handling of ballast and other safety issues- Bulk carrier guide

Unloading cargo - Safety issues

When the cargo unloading plan is agreed, the master and terminal representative must confirm the method of cargo operations so as to ensure no excessive stresses on the hull, tank top and associated structures, including any measures to reduce and eliminate any structural damage to the ship by cargo handling equipment.

In addition to the avoidance of structural damage to the ship, the health and safety of ship and shore personnel should not be compromised by the adoption of any unloading practice.

If the ship cannot be unloaded safely by the normal unloading methods due to design features of the particular ship or the way in which the cargo was loaded, then the master and terminal representative should carry out a risk assessment to identify a safe system of work.

Safety issues to be considered include:

i) Safe access for shore personnel; gangways should be secure with safety net fitted, adequately illuminated and with safe access from top of gangway to the deck.

ii) Access on deck to be confined to the outboard side only. There should be no access for anyone on the inboard side of the ship where unloading equipment is working overhead.

iii) Hold access ladders should be safe, secure and in good condition.

iv) Hold access trunks should be adequately lit and well ventilated. Holds cannot be cleaned properly and personnel cannot work safely if the lighting provided by the ship is inadequate.

v) The risk of overhanging cargo that could fall on personnel working underneath.

vi)Provision of safe access to cargo residue requires manual removal from ship's frames, pipes and structures.

vii) Arrangements regarding ship's crew entering holds, or lowering clean-up tools/equipment into holds while shore personnel are still working there.

viii)Arrangements for safe access to and erection of guard railings around hatch covers, where shore personnel have to remove spillage from top of hatch covers.

ix) Ship's crew to ensure that hatch covers are fully opened clear of the line of the hatch coaming and secured in position, so that grab ropes/shackles cannot catch on overhanging lips.

x) Geared ships to have gear swung outboard and lowered as much as possible below the unloader gantry.

xi) Hold manhole covers and bilge cover plates should be secured flush with the tank top. Paint marks on the bulkhead indicating their position are useful to machine drivers.

xii)All personnel should keep well clear of the area where the unloader is working.

xiii) Respiratory protection should be worn by both ship and shore personnel when handling dusty cargo.

xiv)Reporting of defects ­ any apparent deficiency or hazard that could affect the safety of unloading operations should in the first instance be reported to the master.

xv)All lifting appliances and lifting gear ­ whether provided by ship or terminal, should be used in a safe and proper manner, and have current test and examination certificates.

Monitoring and effective communication between the terminal and ship must be maintained at all times. On completion of unloading, the master and the terminal representative should agree in writing that the ship has been unloaded in accordance with the agreed unloading plan, with the holds emptied and cleaned to the master's requirements, and should record any detected damage suffered by the ship.

Contact details and procedures should be agreed and noted in the ship/shore safety checklist.

Hold cleaning requirements are normally specified in the relevant charter party or contract of affreightment. The holds should be cleaned to the master's satisfaction in accordance with the contractual requirements.

i) Where the ship's crew members have commenced cleaning the holds as the terminal completes unloading in each one; the terminal, when appropriate and in conformance with national regulations, should assist the ship in removing hold sweepings and unloading all the available cargo residue ashore.

In order to maintain an effective monitoring of the progress of the cargo unloading plan, it is essential for both the master and the terminal representative to have readily accessible information on the total unloaded quantity as well as on the quantities unloaded per hatch.

When ballasting one or more holds, master and terminal operator should take account of the possibility of the discharge of flammable vapours from the holds. Suitable precautions* should be taken before any hot work is permitted adjacent to or above that space.

This applies to combination carriers, where holds must be adequately ventilated to ensure that the atmosphere contains no flammable or noxious vapours, and is safe for personnel and heavy machinery to work. Ref: ISGOTT (International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals) (Ch.12).

During the unloading of dry bulk cargo it may be necessary to ballast one or more holds to reduce the cargo air draught of the ship. This is unlikely to introduce hazards if the pipeline system has been well washed. However if a pump or pipeline has not been adequately washed, the ballasting operation may discharge residual oil into the hold. Atmospheric tests in the hold should therefore be made before any hot work is carried out in, adjacent to, or above a ballasted hold.

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Our detail pages illustrated many safety aspects of Bulk carrier

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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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