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Gard Guidance Masters SEALS AND DOORS

Loss of containerised cargo often occurs ashore prior to loading. The methods of theft are becoming more sophisticated and traces of unlawful opening of containers are very difficult to discover. In addition, there is a growing concern that containerised cargoes can pose a security risk where either the terrorists themselves or weapons of mass destruction can be transported.

The speed with which containers are loaded onto a vessel makes it difficult to check whether
  • the seals are intact
  • the seal numbers concur with the numbers listed in the cargo documents.

    The Master should satisfy himself that the Company has in place a procedure for checking the container seals in compliance with the SSP. Any irregularities should be notified immediately to the stevedores or terminal operators responsible for the loading, as well as the vessel’s agent and the Company. Seals should likewise be checked at discharge to evidence that they have remained intact whilst on the vessel.

    When broken seals are discovered and replaced by the crew, a record should be made in the log book and the bill of lading together with the relevant seal numbers, and any relevant authorities should be notified in compliance with the SSP. Empty containers designated as empty should also be verified to be empty in compliance with the SSP.

    On checking individual containers, whether ashore or on board, the crew should be instructed to look for defective or loose bolts on hinges and seal brackets and to identify any signs of interference. Any such observations must be reported immediately to the responsible officer so that appropriate action can be taken, such as a closer inspection or rejection of the container.