Bulk carriers must be handled with care in port as well as at sea. Stevedores and ships’ officers responsible for cargo operations become key partners for ship safety, because the lives of seafarers may ultimately depend on careful cargo handling. Ship-to-shore planning, information and communication become vital.
Port and terminal authorities, together with owners and classification societies, therefore, have a role to minimise risk in bulk carrier operations. IACS – whose members class over 90% of the world bulk carrier fleet – has investigated why bulk carriers have become vulnerable to structural problems … how their safety margins can be increased … and how day-to-day operations can become safer for their seafarers.
IACS’ research shows that improper handling of heavy, high density cargo during cargo loading and discharge may cause excessive stress – and physical damage to holds and transverse bulkheads. Over time, this may reduce or threaten structural safety margins when the ship is at sea in heavy weather. Careful cargo handling helps maintain bulk carrier safety – bad practice lowers safety margins and increases risk for damage.