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How tight should container lashings be?

Lashings should be spanner tight. Slack lashings on container bays are not desirable for obvious reasons. But should the crew apply excessive force or use tools to increase the mechanical advantage on the lever that allow them to over-tighten the lashings?

The answer is no. Overtightening can result in the lashing rods coming under excessive strain which can increase the pre-tension by a few tonnes leading to their failure when under load. Stevedores and crew should only spanner tight the lashings. Caution statements highlighting this must be included in the Cargo Securing Manual (CSM) which should be prepared in accordance with the guidelines inMSC.1/Circ.1353/Rev.1, Ch.4.

There are several other factors which should be kept in mind such as

  • the lashings should be evenly tightened,
  • locking/check nuts should be locked to prevent the turnbuckles becoming slack,
  • lashings should be of an approved type,
  • there should be no visible damages, and
  • securing should be in accordance with CSM.

It is strongly recommended that the lashing software used onboard is integrated with the loading be stability software.


Further information

Loss Prevention poster Lashing equipment

Gard Guidance on Freight Containers 

Insight Container stack collapse - Overweight and unfit containers

Insight Cause and prevention of container loss at sea

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