Many deck cargoes have shifted in heavy weather and after investigation, it has been observed that the main reason for cargo movement and subsequent damage, is attributed to the stowage and the securing arrangements of the cargo not complying with the ship’s Cargo Securing Manual (CSM) or the best practices laid down within either the P&I loss prevention Guides, Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code) and when applicable, the Code of Safe Practice for Ships Carrying Timber Deck Cargoes (TDC Code).
Such expensive cargo losses have warranted a suitably qualified Marine Warranty Surveyor (MWS) attend high value/high risk cargo load-outs. This would ensure that the Load Master/Port Captain/Supercargo (whom are responsible for the securing of the cargo on the charterers behalf) conducts cargo operations correctly; ensuring the vessel’s Master is satisfied with the stowage, securing and tensioning requirements on completion of cargo operations for the forthcoming voyage, thus reducing the high-risk factor associated with high value/high risk deck cargoes and possibility of future cargo damage claims.
Role of a Marine Warranty Surveying company
Insurance underwriters often instruct the Shipper/Charterer to employ the services of a marine warranty surveying company if they want to secure cargo insurance. At an early planning stage, a marine warranty surveying company involvement can provide an invaluable independent third-party technical review and approval of high-risk and or high-value marine transportation operations saving considerable time prior to the physical attendance of a MWS onsite for the cargo load out.
Role of the onsite Marine Warranty Surveyor
The fundamental objective of the onsite MWS is to make reasonable endeavours to ensure that the risks associated with the specified cargo load out are reduced to an acceptable level by ensuring he is satisfied, that the cargo operations are conducted in accordance with previously agreed procedures, and recognised codes of practices for the cargo type. Conducted safely as per best practices and within the vessels defined safe operating limits whilst monitoring cargo operations.
Onsite MWS scope of work
An MWS role is independent of the Load Master/Port Captain/Supercargo, but they are best working together to ensure the safe stowage and securing of the deck cargo.
Prior to loading and securing the high value/high risk cargo, the MWS would:
- Review the agreed stowage plan, ensuring it complies with the ship’s maximum permissible tonnes/m² on deck and hatch covers,
- Review the calculations to ensure they meet the criteria of the CSS and TDC Codes,
- All lashing equipment certification reviewed and matched with the delivered equipment,
- Review the lashing plan and ensure compatibility with the vessel’s CSM,
- Inspect the vessel prior to loading to ensure its suitability for the cargo,
- Review vessel stability data and expected weather during the forthcoming passage,
- Discuss with the Master the possible acceleration forces on the deck cargo,
- Ensure the Master is satisfied with the lashing plan arrangements and calculations,
- Ensure the Master is satisfied with the stowage and securing arrangement.
During loading and securing the high value/high risk cargo, the MWS would:
- Monitor the loading operation, ensuring it follows the agreed stowage and lashing plans,
- Keep the Master and Load Master/Port Captain/Supercargo fully informed of any issues arising during cargo operations,
- All welding carried out would be independently inspected and non-destructive testing (NDT)conducted on each weld (report required),
- Keep a full photographic record of the operation for final report,
- Review the passage plan with the Master, considering the prevailing and expected weather,
On completion of loading and securing the cargo, the MWS would then:
- Carry out a full inspection cargo and securing arrangements with Load Master/Port Captain/Supercargo,
- Issue a Sailaway Certificate of Approval (COA), when fully satisfied that the operation has been completed satisfactory and in accordance with the above mentioned guides and manuals,
- Provide the Master with full instructions for maintaining the tension of the lashing assembly throughout the voyage,
- Provide the Insurance Underwriters /Charterers/Shippers with a full Report.
Master Mariners or Naval Architects, with a proven track record of load-outs, are best qualified for this role.
Advantages of appointing an MWS
By appointing an independent third party MWS to review the entire operation from start to finish, carriers and charterers will reduce the high-risk factor associated with deck cargoes. The attendance of an MWS will ensure that the regular areas of failure within a deck stow such as poor lashing equipment, insufficient use of lashing equipment, noncompliance with the CSM, CSS Code and TDC Code, will be avoided. This provides added peace of mind for all involved in making the marine adventure a success.