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Author Archives: Rick Bridges

Minimizing Ship Risks: Choosing the Right Vessel for Project Needs

  Multipurpose covers a huge variation of vessels including heavy-lift capability, but all are typically geared with some type of crane or derrick. In this modern age, multipurpose vessels will also have hatch openings that allow full access to ’tween decks and lower holds. While ’tween decks can be fixed but often flexible in their location, lower holds can often stretch the full length of the allowable cargo area. Some multipurpose vessels have lift-on, lift-off; roll-on, roll-off; or float-on, floatoff capabilities, and many have container carrying facilities, both in the hold and on deck. Tony Betteridge, head of marine – Asia at Munich Re Syndicate, agrees with me that the ideal for most underwriters, risk engineers and seafarers is that breakbulk cargoes should only be carried on vessels that allow full access to the stowage location and have their own lifting gear, so that vessels are not dependent upon port infrastructure for load or discharge operations. In addition, the ability to weld seafastenings is a major advantage, although some multipurpose carriers prefer not to. In short, geared bulk carriers and multipurpose vessels deliver flexibility and, additionally, the ability to modify a stow plan late in the game should surprises pop up during loading. Capt. Glenn Walker from Atlantic Marine Associates, or AMA, a worldwide surveying firm, points out additional risks associated using bulk carriers over multipurpose vessels. He lists the risks as a lack of deck strength, and a lack of adequate lashing equipment and points in cargo holds and/or on deck. Betteridge adds that the ability to weld adequate sea fastenings on the tank top in the cargo holds of a bulk carrier will likely not be an option due to the lack of vessel structure and deck strengthening, as well as the close proximity to bunker tanks. When weldments are considered in the holds of bulk carriers, weldments on the deck should be aligned with vessel internals to cope with high accelerations. Geared bulk carriers may also lack suitable lifting equipment where heavy-lifts are concerned. In all events, the type of vessel needs to be properly evaluated where loading and securing of cargo is concerned in order to ensure suitability. Chief Engineer John Poulson, director from AMA’s New York office, offers advice on carrying nonhomogeneous cargo such as steel coils in conventional bulk carriers. Carrying such products can…
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