How To Reduce Cargo Wet Damage Claims?


A master’s Guide to Hatch cover maintenance is an original Standard Club document was written in collaboration with Lloyd’s Register provides further information about the type of hatch covers commonly used on merchant vessels, emphasizes the importance of vessel’s cargoworthiness and shares loss prevention advice on preventing cargo damage resulting from hatch cover defects.

Cause of cargo wet damage

The most common cause of cargo wet damage claims on dry cargo ships is attributed to leaking hatch covers.

Hatches leak for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of poor maintenance or failure to close them properly. Leaking or badly maintained hatch covers can lead to more serious consequences than wet cargo, including flooding, accelerated corrosion or even loss of the ship.

Although robust, hatch covers will leak if compression surfaces are not aligned correctly, if gaskets are damaged or worn, if there are cracks or holes in the plating, or if there is permanent overall distortion of the covers.

Function of hatch cover

Hatch covers on bulk carriers have two basic functions: in open position, they provide access to the holds for loading/discharging cargo, and in closed position, they prevent water ingress by sealing the hatchway in a weathertight condition, so that there is no leakage into the cargo hold in any sea condition.

How to check leak?

Testing of hatch cover weathertightness can be performed by different methods. The two most common leak detection tests are the water hose test and the ultrasonic test. Ultrasonic testing is the preferred method because areas of inadequate hatch sealing are accurately located.

Inspection and checks

  • Hatch condition, Covers and coamings should be well painted and free from significant corrosion, cracks and distortion. 
  • Check for holes and permanent distortion in the plating distortion of beams and/or stiffeners on the underside of the top plate
  • Check for corrosion around the welded connections of beams or stiffeners cracking of connecting joints and welds.
  • Hatch movement, This should be smooth. If violent movement is observed, investigate and remove the cause.
  • Towing and backhaul wires, These should be free of kinks or broken strands. Repair or replace damaged or worn wires. Use extreme care when handling wires to avoid injury.
  • Hydraulic system, Check for leakage.

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