Cargo Ship Loaded With Timber Catches Fire in Hold, Precautions To Be Taken

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  • A cargo ship carrying timber reportedly caught fire in the hold.
  • The cargo hold closed and was allowed to enter the port.
  • Timber carriers are constructed with special requirements.
  • In accordance with “Code of safe practices for ships carrying timber deck cargoes.”
  • The purpose of the Code is to ensure that timber deck cargoes are loaded, stowed and secured properly.

According to an article published in Maritime Bulletin, a cargo ship reportedly caught fire near Yellow Sea.

What happened?

On March 5, the general cargo ship was carrying timber when it reported a fire in its cargo hold near Yellow Sea.

Cargo hold closed

The captain decided to keep the cargo hold closed and was allowed to enter the port. The officials are currently assessing the situation of the ship after it was anchored.

Carriage of timber on deck

According to an article published in Nautical Class, carriage of timber on deck offers an added advantage to the timber carrier ships. Timber carriers are constructed with special requirements in accordance with Code of safe practices for ships carrying timber deck cargoes”.

The purpose of the Code is to ensure that timber deck cargoes are loaded, stowed and secured properly to prevent, as far as practicable, damage or hazard to the ship and persons on board as well as loss of cargo overboard throughout the voyage.

The Code provides:

  1. practices for safe transportation;
  2. methodologies for safe stowage and securing;
  3. design principles for securing systems;
  4. guidance for developing procedures and instructions to be included in ships’ cargo securing manuals on safe stowage and securing; and
  5. sample checklists for safe stowage and securing.

The provisions of this Code apply to all ships of 24 metres or more in length, carrying a timber deck cargo. This code is not yet effect but Cargo securing of timber deck cargoes should be in accordance with the requirements in the ship’s Cargo Securing Manual (CSM).

Hazards Associated with carriage of Timber

  • water absorption
  • ice accretion
  • free surfaces in slack tanks
  • trapped water within stow (especially logs)
  • Cargo shift due to improper lashings
  • Reduced GM

Actions to be taken during the voyage

1) During voyage planning, all foreseeable risks which could lead to either excessive accelerations causing cargo to shift or sloshing sea causing water absorption and ice aggregation, should be taken under consideration.

2) Before the ship proceeds to sea, the following should be verified:

  • The ship is upright;
  • The ship has an adequate metacentric height;
  • The ship meets the required stability criteria; and
  • The cargo is properly secured.

3) Soundings of tanks should be regularly carried out throughout the voyage.

4) The rolling period of the ship should be regularly checked in order to establish that the metacentric height is still within the acceptable range.

5) In cases where severe weather and sea conditions are unavoidable, the Master should be conscious of the need to reduce speed and/or alter course at an early stage in order to minimize the forces imposed on the cargo, structure and lashings.

6) If deviation from the intended voyage plan is considered during the voyage, a new plan should be made.

Cargo safety inspections during sea voyages

7) Cargo safety inspections, in accordance with the items below, should be frequently conducted throughout the voyage.

8) Prior to any inspections being commenced on deck, the Master should take appropriate actions to reduce the motions of the ship during such operations.

9) Close attention should be given to any movement of the cargo which could compromise the safety of the ship.

10) When safety permits fixed and portable lashing equipment should be visually examined for any abnormal wear and tear or other damages.

11) Since vibrations and working of the ship will cause the cargo to settle and compact, lashing equipment should be retightened to produce the necessary pre-tension, as needed.

12) Uprights should be checked for any damage or deformation.

13) Supports for upright should be undamaged.

14) Corner protections should still be in place.

15) All examinations and adjustments to cargo securing equipment during the voyage should be entered in the ship’s logbook.

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Source: MaritimeBulletin & NauticalClass

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