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Nea Smyrni, PC 17101

Athens, Greece



Lashing and Securing of Coils & Other Steel Cargoes

Posted 7/27/2019

The carriage of such units requires sufficient lashing provided by the crew or the stevedores. In any case, the ship’s master has the responsibility for proper stowage of the cargo, either by interfering or silently approve lashing methods and practices. The IMO cargo securing manual, SOLAS 74 regulations VI/5 and VII/6, set the international standards for cargo securing on ships. Additionally, the guidelines contain details, to take into account the provisions of the:

• Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (the CSS Code), as amended
• Code of Safe Practice for Ships Carrying Timber Deck Cargoes,
• Codes and Guidelines for Ro-Ro Vessels, and Container Vessels.


See full video 


The aim of cargo securing is to prevent any cargo movement at sea voyage. Adverse weather conditions may break weak lashing material. A rule-of-thumb for lashing strength is that the SWL nominal values as shown in the certificates of lashing materials used should at least have an aggregate value equal to the static weight of a cargo item. UK P&I Club (2006) provides further explanation stating that the safe working load is arrived at by dividing by 3 the minimum breaking-load/slipload/ holding power of the lashings. Consider a weight of 6 tonnes that needs to be secured. Following the above rule, the lashing materials used should have a holding power of 2 tonnes.

However, lashing may fail for several reasons. The most recognised is the poor quality of lashing material (or uncertified) or securing components due to cost reduction may cause cargo shifting. Relevant crew experience is a factor that may assure proper lashing. However, human errors may occur from the stevedores or the crew when
there is commercial pressure for fast loading. Such pressure may lead to the use of inappropriate or deteriorated material, and the number of lashing points. Concerning stowage, unbalanced weight distribution could also damage the lashing arrangements.

Read more here:

Risk Analysis of Ship Operations: Research and Case Studies of Shipboard Accidents

American Club, Transport Guidance for Steel Cargoes

UK Lashing and Securing Deck Cargoes



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Why ships collide?

Posted 6/26/2019

A bulk carrier named “A” while navigating in a two-way water route had a crossing course with another ship called “B”. The route was monitored by a VTS and outside its limits there are shallows. In contrary to Rule 15 the navigation officers agreed to pass starboard to starboard. To achieve this manoeuvring, the Ship “A” had to turn its course on the left passing from ship “B” to a distance of 0.5 nautical miles. As it is shown in the picture, the ship “A” could remain at its initial course and have a clear port to port pass from ship “B”.



‘Conflicting actions may occur in head-on or near head-on encounters where one ship takes avoiding action by turning to port and the other ship by turning to starboard. Rule 8 (a)


See footage of near-miss ship collision


With the use of ECDIS the incident was examined by the DPA who made the following observations:



  1. Ship “A” changed course to port side against Rule 15 which states to avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel. In a crossing situation, a ship is required to avoid crossing ahead of a ship on its starboard side, if there is a risk of collision.
  2. A VHF agreement cannot be made against a COLREG for any reason.
  3. Safe distance from another ship cannot be less than 1 nautical mile at open sea. Otherwise, speed should be reduced Rule 8(d).
  4. Rule 17(ii) (referred to the ‘stand-on vessel) should be read together with 17(c) that does not allow a ship to alter its course to port side to avoid collision with another ship crossing from its port side
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Cargo Liquefaction & Can Test

Posted 5/18/2019

The most severe dangers related to cargo transportation are well addressed in the IMO Codes are those that have an adverse effect on the ship’s stability, the structure of the ship, the safety of the crew and the stevedores. The IMO has set a list of bulk materials that may behave like liquids in International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code. However, these characteristics may not be clarified in shipment documents. Some cargoes have the potential to accumulate, moisture or allow its flow through its parcels. These cargoes may liquefy due to their natural characteristics that allow accumulation and humidity migration.


Consequently, some cargoes that are subject to liquefaction during their transportation may shift. A shift of dry cargo, such as grain, may also occur affecting the stability of the loaded ship. If a ship’s master, suspects excessive moisture in cargo, he may contact a can test during loading with the presence of a P&I surveyor preferably. This test cannot verify the content of water, but if it fails, this will be objective evidence that water in the commodity is excessive and should not be loaded.


Seven videos, which UK P&I Club Loss Prevention has produced in partnership with global cargo experts Minton Treharne & Davis (MTD), explain what a can test is and what it looks like in practice.

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Emergency Helicopter Operations

Posted 3/17/2019

Helicopter operations may be required for routine operations such as pilot or crew transfer. However, there are also emergency conditions such as evacuation of a ship or medical assistance provided to a crewmember or passenger. For all these cases, the SMS should include procedures for landing site designation and crew training. Both are SOLAS 74 requirements detailed in regulation II-2/18.2.2 where the appropriate definitions are provided.


See Training Video of Ship Evacuation With Spanish SAR


A ship may be requested to receive a pilot by helicopter although not designated landing or winch area is designated onboard. In this case, the ship’s master should ensure that there is a space on a ship with at least twice the main rotor diameter to avoid any obstacles. The pilot and ship’s master should communicate at all times efficiently, and both are in good agreement with safety concerns. It should also be reminded that the helicopter pilot will have to comply with flight rules as the layout in Civil Aviation Regulations who may not be aware of any IMO or similar standards. Ship’s crew should be trained for any shipboard operation they have to perform. An officer should be in charge of a party assisting helicopter landing party. The risk involved is a collision between helicopter and ship. Therefore, firefighting and rescue plan should be enforced.


Shipboard communication with rescue centres and company could determine the efficiency of a contingency plan. However, depending on the geographical area that a ship in distress is the reaction from the nearby coast may not be sufficient. For instance, in the case of Erika disaster seafarers were saved by British helicopters due to lack of appropriate equipment from French authorities.


With respect to landing areas, these depend on the structural condition of the ship and available spaces. A ship should hold a class attestation that a designated area is allowed for helicopter landing. For routine operations, any area may be agreed between the pilot and ship’s master. A helicopter in order to land needs a particular area which should be marked on the ship’s deck or a hatch cover. AMSA recommends that the landing site or winching area should be laid out for D = 20 meters. Helicopter landing sites consist of 3 zones which should be clearly marked as follows (AMSA 2016) :


a)  Touchdown zone, Centre marked by white or yellow capital H measuring 0.2D x 0.1D formed of lines 0.02D wide.

b) Clear zone, which is the area required for safe rotation of the rotor blades. The clear zone shall be D in diameter.

c) Manoeuvring zone, which is the extra allowed are for manoeuvring. Outer limit marked by hatched white or yellow line at least 20 cm wide.


In a case, a winching area is located then AMSA recommends that this should be laid out for D equal to 20 meters (or minimum 12 meters). The phrase  “WINCH ONLY” should be clearly marked to be visible for pilots. A typical marking scheme should consist of the phrase above marked in white or yellow capital letters with dimensions 0.2D. In a winching area, a helicopter can operate in low altitude to transfer personnel or stores, an operation which is called over.


Helicopter Operations (Case Study)


The use of a helicopter in an emergency may be crucial for the rescue of a seafarer. The ship’s master should be aware that immediate contact with coastal authorities demonstrates responsibility regarding the safety of the crew. On 2 November 2014, a fishing vessel was foundered 100 miles north-east of Tynemouth. The casualty has, as a result, the of three fatalities. In the investigation report the authorities made the following comment (MAIB Report No 23/2015):


“It is important that procedures are followed to avoid essential information being overlooked when staff is engaged in demanding situations. The opportunity to appoint a rescue helicopter at an earlier stage of the incident was missed.”




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INTERTANKO Official Confirms Problems with Operation of Water Ballast Treatment Plants.

Posted 12/1/2018

The Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) was introduced by the IMO and aims at minimising the transfer of pathogens microorganisms to the sensitive ecological marine areas, through the ballast of the oceangoing ships. Although it is already enforced worldwide, there are some concerns about the technical requirements of the BWMC and in particular, the application of the Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) onboard ships. Up to date, there is not sufficient data regarding the performance of existing BWTS making an obstacle to their approval requirement by some states.


In our research, a methodology was proposed to assist ship operators in the selection of the BWTS. The finding of that research published in   2017 revealed seven primary criteria for selection of a BWTS such as costs, maintenance, power consumption and installation challenges due to the plants' size.


In a recession period, costs generated by the BWMC enforcement may be a significant burden for the ship operators, especially those with older ships, where the maintenance costs are relatively high. However, a major aspect expected to cause challenges is the potential human error from the inappropriate use of a BWTS. Complicated devices may need significant efforts and time from the crew members until some degree of competency is achieved.

In some cases, the use of chemicals may cause additional challenges, such as the training of the crew, the maintenance costs and the safety risks.

Our research findings have been proven from a recent statement from an INTERTANKO official who states the following:


“Between 60 to 80% of BWTSs installed on members’ ships had suffered a range of problems in operation. The 60-80% figures came about after members began using the systems more frequently and began to realise that although they may be operating and ballasting is occurring, the system wasn’t necessarily treating as desired,”

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Which are the Real Hazards of a Bulk Carrier in Case of Collision?

Posted 11/17/2018

The ISM Code and ISO 9001:2015 standards include the risk management principles such as review of existing procedures and plans.


Through the SOPEP plan, emphasis is given to the actions of the captain in an emergency situation in order to deal with an unexpected discharge of oil and safety of the crew. Further requirements include issues such as reporting to authorities and cooperation. However, despite the experience of the master and his crew, many reasons such as stress may force the seaman to be confused and act in a wrong way. The SOPEP manual fulfils objective 1.2.2 of the ISM Code where ship management companies have to develop procedures regarding shipboard emergencies.


The data of a research study "The Contribution of Risk Management in Ship Management The Case of Ship Collision" were collected from GISIS, which is a database provided by the IMO.


From the total 43 collisions that were examined, 45 bulk carriers where involved of which two did not cause any notable harm, meaning that the bulk carrier remained fit to proceed and human and environmental safety was not threatened as a result of the collision. In another ten incidents, the damages caused by collisions were found minor. From the remaining incidents, twelve collisions caused severe structural damages to at least one of the ships involved. Two ships flooded without sinking and two fire incidents were reported.


The most catastrophic results were the total loss of eight fishing boats where seven of them incidents caused loss of life and two pollution cases.

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Incorrect Warning Signs

Posted 9/29/2018

Several warnings are usually placed on board to inform seafarers about the location of safety equipment, firefighting equipment.

However when warnings are placed should comply with the IMO has established some mandatory colours for notification in A .952, A.760(18), MSC/Circ.1050. The same practice should be used when notes are painted on board to provide some information, e.g. SOPEP equipment, battery room.


Therefore the following colours should be used for marking:


Green: Safety Information 

Blue: Mandatory 

Red: Firefighting Information 

Yellow: Hazard & warnings

Black: Information 


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New Post Title

Posted 2/24/2018



Radio communications is a critical aspect of safe ship operations, especially in emergency conditions. For a ship, its radio communication efficiency is crucial for enforcing contingency plans in an emergency. Otherwise, rescue operations may be very challenging especially in oceans.


A frequency analysis of 392 ships with radio equipment malfunctions showed that ships of certain characteristics, such as type and size, frequently have radio communication failures. On the contrary, the classification society and flag state of a ship were not deterministic factors.

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Posted 11/26/2017

The Standard Club issued:


All bulk carrier officers should have clear guidance and
instructions available onboard their ship. There should be guidance on:
• preparation of holds
• carriage requirements of bulk cargo
• safety aspects of bulk cargo carriage etc (liquefaction, heating, hazardous gases, oxygen depletion, entry into enclosed spaces)


Read full report



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Operation and maintenance of rescue boat outboard motors

Posted 11/26/2017

"A rescue boat is designed to rescue persons in distress and to marshal survival craft.

A lack of understanding on how outboard motors are operated and maintained could result in poor performance, or total failure, of these motors. This is an unacceptable risk during a rescue operation that could have catastrophic consequences"


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