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Gard Guidance Masters STOWAGE AND SECURING

For further details please refer to Gard News 173, Improper lashing and securing of cargo.

The proper stowage and securing of the cargo is the basis for ensuring
  • that the vessel is maintained in a safe condition
  • the prevention of accidents
  • the prevention of damage to the cargo.

    Whilst stowage and securing is normally performed by stevedores, close supervision and the occasional intervention by the Master or responsible officers is necessary as the vessel remains responsible for the proper stowage and securing of the goods loaded. This principle applies irrespective of whether the vessel is trading for the Company’s own account or under a charterparty. In addition, the terms of charterparties frequently stipulate that the ultimate responsibility rests with the vessel, even where the stevedores are employed by the charterers to load the cargo. Where the stowage plan received from the charterers is not appropriate, the Master and his/her officers should ask the charterers to present a different plan to ensure that the vessel’s safety is not affected or impaired.

    The proper stowage of the cargo requires careful planning to ensure
  • vertical distribution of weight to maintain adequate stability during the voyage
  • horizontal distribution of weight to avoid bending moments
  • distribution of weight to maintain the maximum permissible deck loads.

    For break bulk cargo the Master should instruct his/her officers to monitor the stowage and securing operations to ensure that
  • kraft paper alone does not give sufficient protection to the cargo and additional protection is used
  • there is a tight stow from wall to wall if feasible – void spaces into which stow can collapse need to be properly shored or filled
  • special instructions are followed, e.g. to stow away from boilers
  • there is sufficient dunnage between tiers
  • adequate lashing, securing or chocking off without damaging the packing to avoid movement in any direction.

    When cargo needs to be overstowed, which is often the case with break bulk cargo, the Master and his/her officer should ensure that the cargo in question can be safely overstowed, allowing for any forces that may be encountered in heavy weather. The weight needs to be evenly spread and compression damage avoided.

    Dunnage on bulkheads and tank tops should be of sufficient thickness and coverage to prevent any contact between the steel and the cargo, allowing for moisture absorbing into the dunnage. The dunnage should allow for any moisture on the steel work to run freely to the bilges. The dunnage should not collapse under the weight of the stow, e.g. where laid over frames or corrugated bulkheads.

    Incompatible cargoes must not be stowed together to avoid tainting damages.

    Every cargo has different stowage requirements and no specific advice can therefore be provided. The Master and his/her officers should not only refer to the particular stowage requirements for the different types of cargo, but also to other relevant provisions, such as
  • IMO guidelines and resolutions
  • flag State requirements
  • national provisions
  • reference books,
    as well as seeking further instructions from the cargo interests, which should be recorded in the appropriate log.

    The Master and his/her officers must always refer to the vessel’s individual Cargo Securing Manual prior to the commencement of stowage operations.