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It cannot be emphasised enough that seaworthiness includes cargoworthiness, i.e. the fitness of the vessel to receive, carry and protect the cargo to be carried. Prior to commencement of loading, the cargo holds should therefore be
  • inspected to ensure that they are clean, dry, free from smell, remnants of previous cargoes and insects
  • checked for small holes and cracks in the steel work to adjacent tanks as leaks from ballast or bunker tanks can cause large scale damage/contamination
  • free from sweepings, fully washed and dry and any salt deposits removed, where applicable
  • suitable for the cargo to be loaded in every respect.

    The bilges should be dry, clean and free from smell; the non-return valves and the test alarms must be functioning.

    Sockets and pots in the cargo holds must not be worn as a safe and secure lashing of cargo is otherwise not possible.

    If deficiencies are found, the same must be rectified immediately and a corresponding record made by completing the relevant maintenance or repair form.

    If the deficiencies found require repairs such as welding affecting the vessel’s structure, the Master should consider obtaining approval from the classification society prior to the commencement of the repairs or call in the local Hull and Machinery correspondent to assist.

    The Master should ensure that, following the completion of repairs to steelwork on adjacent tanks, the same is the subject of a pressure test.

    Adjacent bunker tanks must not be heated unless sufficient insulation is provided.

    If the cargo holds have recently been painted, they must be free from odour and properly cured.

    It is advisable that the Master obtains a hold fitness report/certificate from shippers and charterers.