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If containers are not properly maintained, they are likely to damage their contents. Whilst it is difficult, if not impossible, for the Master or his/her officers to check whether the doors of the container are watertight or if holes in the roof allow water to penetrate, close observation of cargo operations during loading of containers may give some useful indications.

Containers with apparently neglected exteriors should be closely inspected. This is particularly relevant to tank containers, as even tiny holes, defective valves or gaskets allow the liquid contents, often of a hazardous nature, to escape and create a dangerous air mixture. This can cause personal injury by contact, inhalation or cause an explosive air mixture. If an inspection raises any doubts as to the safety of the container, it should not be loaded and the loading superintendent/foreman and the Company should be notified.