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Gard Guidance Masters


For further details please refer to Gard News 173, Tightness of hatch covers.

Inspection rounds of the vessel should include a special check on the condition of
  • watertight doors
  • ventilation heads
  • hatch covers
  • hold access covers
  • dogs and clamps
  • side ports
  • ramps and doors to the superstructure
  • the condition of rubber gaskets.

    Damaged, worn or compressed parts must be replaced immediately. Drainpipes and gutters on hatch covers and panels also require attention and need to be kept clean at all times.

    On vessels with hatch covers, the Master should – if the vessel’s cargo operations so allow – make a daylight test of the hatch covers to check whether they are tight. Hatch covers are the most vulnerable part of the vessel when it comes to water ingress during the voyage and can endanger the safety of both the vessel and the crew.

    Hatch cover quick acting cleats should be in good working condition and rust free. Worn parts should be replaced.

    If the Master is in doubt as to the condition of the hatch covers, he/she should either
  • have a hose test carried out, or
  • call a surveyor to carry out an ultrasonic test.

    Hatchways that do not need to be opened should be kept closed at all times. If a hatchway has to be kept open for work purposes, it should either be guarded or cordoned off by stanchions and ropes.

    Ventilators on deck should be given particular attention as they frequently suffer from corrosion and lack proper strengthening. They are particularly vulnerable to ingress of water when heavy waves roll over the deck. Fire flaps in ventilators must be in working condition and function properly.