– Reasons and Importance for Hold Inspection
Cargo Hold must be inspected by the Cargo Officer (Chief Officer) before commencing loading operation to ensure that the hold is suitable for the next cargo, and to eliminate the possibility of cargo damage due to contamination, ensure that all fittings are in good order (Bilge, Ventilation, Lighting, Fire and Hatch covers)
– Items to be inspected
1) General cleanliness (No Rust or loose rust).
2) Spar ceiling.
3) Tween Deck draining holes.
4) Bilge system (Bilge well, strum box & non-return valve).
5) Sounding Pipes (Bilge & Double Bottom Tanks).
6) Air Vent. Pipes.
7) Electric cables, Lighting and connections.
8) General condition of side shell, bulkheads, frames and beams.
9) Double Bottom Tanks manholes
10) Ventilation ducts.
11) Fire detection and fixed fire extinguishing systems.
12) Hatch cover, check for water tightness (any damaged rubber must be changed) (grease all moving parts including wheels, hinges and cleats).
13) Fixed hold ladders (Repair as necessary or place temporary ladders).
14) Hold manholes on the weather deck.
Reasons and Importance for cleaning holds
Generally speaking, it is the ship’s responsibility to deliver the cargo (at the Port of discharge) as received (at the Port of loading), cargo damage claim is one of the main concerns of the shipping companies, shipping companies entrust the cargo care to the ship’s Master and crew.
Cargo damage can be caused by contamination from the previous cargo, so it is a must to clean the hold thoroughly (from top to bottom) after every cargo.
It is a common practice with some types of cargo (expensive and delicate cargo) to hire a surveyor to inspect the ship’s holds before commencing loading, unclean holds will result in refusing to load till it is cleaned or re-cleaned; time lost will be on the owner account.
Hold cleaning procedure
Cleaning: The amount of cleaning with a cargo space will depend upon the nature of the cargo which has been discharged and that which is to be loaded; hold which is ready to receive cargo should be clean and dry, well ventilated and free from any odour.
1) When discharging is finished, Collect and stack all serviceable dunnage.
2) Unsuitable dunnage must be sent up on deck to be disposed of. It is a common practice in two deck vessels to shift a quantity of the lower hold dunnage up to the tween deck, to be passed down again as required in the lower hold. This saves unnecessary shifting of dunnage when stowing the lower hold.
3) The hold is then thoroughly swept down and all rubbish is sent up on deck.
4) The Bilge covers are lifted and the bilges thoroughly cleaned out.
5) Particularly, attention must be given to the rose boxes and it is most important to see that all the holes in the boxes are clear.
6) If necessary, the bilges may be cement or lime washed or coated with bitumastic; this tends to prevent corrosion and also disinfects them.
7) Before the Bilge covers are replaced, bilge suction must be tested.
8) To clean a hold from which a coal cargo (Or any dusty bulk cargo) has just been discharged it is necessary first to sweep it down and then to wash it down with a hose. The bilge suctions and/or rose boxes must be attended to so that the water can be pumped away. Hold must be wiped down (washed) with fresh water to remove any salt residues.
9) Ventilate the hold by mechanical ventilation (leaving the hatch cover opened will help accelerate dryness.). Sawdust sprinkled on all ironwork and on the tank top (or ceiling) will help to absorb the damp and may be swept up after a short interval.
– Bilges or (drain wells)
The bilges (bilge well) are small collecting space for any water in the hold, there are two bilges in each hold located in the aft end of the hold, one to the port side and one to the starboard
Any water accidentally enters the hold or as a result of sweat, will drain to the bilges carrying with it dust, cargo residues and cargo odour.
Over time (in the long run) dust and cargo residues will form solid mass blocking bilge suction pipes, so piping out bilge water will be impossible, over flow of the bilge water will occur contaminating the cargo.
The cargo residue especially if it was Hygroscopic Cargo in contact with water will start decomposing (rotting-decay) giving terrible odour (smell); this smell will be transferred to odour contracting cargo such as coffee, resulting in contaminated cargo which will be refused by the receiver resulting on cargo damage claim on the vessel.