Chain Register

Chain register has nothing to do with the anchor chain. It is however, a very useful document, which must be kept valid if ship’s cargo gear has to be used. 

Thus, it is a register of periodical test and examination and certificates thereof. It deals with lifting gear such as derricks, cranes or hoists, winches and their accessories. Its technical, safety and administration issues are regulated by ILO and Dock Safety regulations.

Certificates shall be obtained from competent person and attached to the register in appropriate section or part, in respect of the following:

(a) initial and periodical test and examination for-
(i) winches, derricks and their accessory gear.
(ii) cranes or hoists and their accessory gear.
(b) test and examination of loose gears.
(c) test and examination of wire ropes (maintained in the back enclosure of register).
(d) heat treatment ( if applicable) and examination of loose gears.
(e) annual thorough examination of the loose gears.

The register and the certificates attached to the register shall be kept on board the ship in case of ship’s lifting appliances, loose gears and wire ropes. The Register should be  produced on demand before an Inspector.

Note: The register may be in the format acceptable to the Administration, Thus, as per Dock Safety Regulation in accordance with the relevant ILO Convention. The tests, examinations and inspections are intended to ensure that ships having lifting appliances are initially certified by a competent person to ensure their sound functioning initially and subsequently, in the due course.

Initial Examination and Certification
Every lifting appliance and machinery shall be certified by a competent person before being taken into use for the first time to ensure that it is of good design and construction and of adequate strength for the purpose for which it is intended. He shall thoroughly examine every lifting appliance. The loose gear also shall, before being taken into use for the first time, be tested, thoroughly and examined and then certified by a competent person, in accordance with national law or regulations.

After satisfactory completion of the procedures indicated above, the competent person shall complete and issue the Register of lifting appliances and attach the appropriate certificates. An entry shall be made in part I of the Register. An approved rigging plan showing the arrangement of lifting appliances shall be provided. In the case of derricks and cranes the rigging plan should diagrammatically, show the positions of guys, preventers, (showing their lead) and the blocks. The resultant force on blocks, guys, wire ropes and booms must be indicated. It should be appropriate in guiding a mate to rig a lifting appliance correctly and completely from start to finish. The SWL and types of blocks, sheeves, shackles; size and type of guys; etc are clearly provided to rule out any possibility of a weak link or non compatible component in the system. Working range of crane, union purchase; limiting angle wrt deck or vertical; etc are provided for all lifting appliance. If a derrick must be used as swinging derrick, in yoyo, in union purchase, as gun tackle or as luff tackle, the provision and details must be provided in the rigging plan.

Periodic Examination and Re-testing:
Part I

1.   All lifting appliances and every item of loose gear shall be thoroughly examined by a competent person at least once a year.

2.   Re-testing and thorough examination of all lifting appliances and every item of loose gear is to be carried out after any substantial alteration or renewal, or after repair to any stress bearing part. The lifting appliances, shall be thoroughly examined at least once in every five years. The retesting after alteration or repair of a certain component may be omitted provided the part which has been renewed or repaired is subjected by separate test, to the same stress as would be imposed on it if it had been tested in-situ during the testing of the lifting appliance. A major part of the system if renewed must be duly tested. Thus, if the boom was bent and the same was renewed or repaired.

3. Appropriate details of every thorough examination and test shall be entered in part I of the Register.

4. Items which need annealing are obsolete on ship nowadays. No new item of loose gear shall be manufactured of wrought iron. Heat treatment of any existing wrought iron components should be carried out to the satisfaction of the competent person. No heat treatment should be applied to any item of loose gear unless the treatment is in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction; and to the satisfaction of the competent person. The heat treatment (if any) and the associated examination are to be recorded by the competent person in part I of the Register.

Part II
Regular visual inspections of every item of loose gear shall be carried out by a responsible person before use. A record of these regular inspections is to be entered in part II of the Register, but entries need only be made when the inspection has indicated a defect in the item. Chief Officer or more commonly Chief Engineer may be the ‘Responsible Officer’ deputed by Master.


The relevant certification details to be included in appropriate forms as follows:

Form No. 2: Certificate of test and thorough examination of lifting appliance.

Form No. 2(U): Certificate of test and thorough examination of derricks used in union purchase.

Form No. 3: Certificate of test and thorough examination of loose gear. Form No. 4: Certificate of test and thorough examination of wire rope.


(a) The term “competent authority” means a minister, government department, or other authority empowered to issue regulations, orders or other instructions having the force of law.

(b) The term “competent person” means a person possessing the knowledge and experience required for the performance of thorough examinations and tests of lifting appliances and loose gear and who is acceptable to the competent authority.

(c)The term “responsible person” means a person appointed by the Master of the ship or the owner of the gear to be responsible for the performance of inspections and has sufficient knowledge and experience to undertake such inspections.

(d) Thorough Examination a means detailed visual examination by a competent person supplemented if necessary by other means such as hammer test, carried out as carefully as conditions permit, in order to arrive at a reliable conclusion of the safety of the parts concerned and examined.

If necessary for the purpose, parts of the lifting machinery and gear shall be dismantled and checked for wear and tear, lubricated and assembled. (e) The term “lifting appliance” covers all stationary or mobile cargo handling appliances used on board ship for suspending, raising or lowering loads or moving them from one position to another while suspended or supported.

(f) The term “loose gear” covers any gear by means of which a load can be attached to a lifting appliance, but which does not form an integral part of the appliance or load.

(g) Annealing: In metallurgy and material science, annealing is a heat treatment that alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties of a material to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness making it more workable. It involves heating a material above its recrystallization temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature for an appropriate amount of time and then cooling. it slowly. Annealing also relieves any internal stresses which may be present in the metal.

(h) Static Test using spring and hydraulic balances: A spring loaded balance showing the stress in tons is fixed to a strong point on the deck. The derrick runner is attached to the other end and the load is built up. The proof load is decided by a competent person. After the appropriate load is built up as indicated by the meter, the runner is slacked and the derrick is thoroughly examined to see that no part has been damaged or permanently deformed during the test. Balance must remain constant at the test load for a period of at least 5 min.

(i)  Dynamic test: Carried out by using deadweight as per proof load decided by the competent person. A proof load is hung from the derrick and the derrick is swung across the complete slewing angle and the lifted to be the maximum and minimum topping angle. The derrick is then subjected to a thorough examination. During the test, the boom is swung as far as possible in both the directions. Adequate transverse stability must be ensured.

Where, on one side the ‘Competent Person’ authorize by Competent Authority is techno-administrative officer who has technical capability, in respect of ship’s appliances, the ‘Inspector’  is safety cum administrative officer in respect of ship plus dock (covering other areas including transportation, hygiene, safety, etc)

The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986
 “Chief Inspector” means the Chief Inspector of Dock Safety, appointed under sub-section (1) of section 3;

3. Inspectors:—(1) The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint such person as it thinks fit to be the Chief Inspector of Dock Safety and such persons as it thinks fit to be Inspectors subordinate to the Chief Inspector for the purposes of this Act at such ports as may be specified in the notification. (2) The Chief Inspector shall also exercise the powers of an Inspector

Powers of Inspectors.-

(a) An Inspector may at any port for which he is appointed:-

(i) enter, with such assistance, (if any), as he thinks fit, any ship, dock, warehouse or other premises, where any dock work, is being carried on, or where he has reason to believe that any dock work is being carried on;

(ii) make examination of the ship’s or dock’s, lifting appliance, loose gear, lifting device, staging; transport equipment in warehouse or other premises, used or to be used, for any dock work;

(iii) require the production of any testing muster roll or other document relating to the employment of dock workers and examine such document;

(iv) take on the spot or otherwise such evidence of any person which he may deem necessary:

Provided that no person shall be compelled under sub-regulation 3 (a) (iv) to answer any question or, give any evidence tending to incriminate himself;

(v) take copies of registers, records or other documents or portions thereof as he may consider relevant in respect of any offence which he has reason to believe has been committed or for the purpose of any inquiry;

(vi) take photograph, sketch, sample, weight measure or record as he may consider necessary for the purpose of any examination or inquiry;

(vii) hold an inquiry into the cause of any accident or dangerous occurrence which he has reason to believe was the result of the collapse or failure of any lifting appliance loose gear, transport equipment, staging non-compliance with any of the provisions of the Act or the regulations;

(viii) issue show-cause notice relating to the safety, health and welfare provisions arising under the Act or the regulations;

(ix) prosecute, conduct or defend before any court any complaint or other proceedings, arising under the Act or the regulations;

(x) direct the port authority, dock labour board and other employers of dock workers for getting the dock workers medically examined if considered necessary.

(b) A person having general management and control of the premises or the owner, Master, officer-in-charge or agents of the ship, as the case may be, shall provide such means as may be required by the Inspector for entry, inspection, examination, inquiry, otherwise for the exercise of his powers under Act and the regulations in relation to that ship or premises which shall also include the provision of launch or other means of transport.

4. Notice of Inspection:-

(1) An inspector may notify any defects or deficiencies which may come to his notice during his inspection and examination which he wishes to point out together with any orders passed by him under the Act to-

(i) the owner, Master, officer in charge or agents of the ship; or

(ii) the port authority; or

(iii) the owner of lifting appliances, loose gears, lifting devices & transport equipment; or

(iv) the employer of dock workers.

(2) When an Inspector serves notice, under sub-regulation (1) above, in relation to any dock, lifting appliance, loose gear, lifting device, transport equipment, ladder or staging, he may, in the notice prohibit the dock work where conditions are dangerous to life, safety or health of dock workers and the use of the same in connection with the dock work and such dock, lifting appliances, loose gears, lifting devices transport equipment, ladders or stagings shall not be used until the defect or defects specified in the notice have been remedied and the Inspector has withdrawn the prohibitory order.

5. Appeal.-Any person aggrieved by an order of the Chief Inspector passed under Sec. 5 of the Act may, within 15 days from the date on which the order is communicated to him prefer an appeal to the Secretary in Government of India, Ministry of Labour, New Delhi and the provisions of Sec. 8 of the Act shall apply accordingly.

6. Penalties.-Only save as is otherwise expressly provided in these regulations, whoever being a person responsible to comply with any of the regulations commits a breach of such regulations shall be guilty of an offence and punishable with imprisonment; for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both, and, if the breach is continued after conviction, with a further fine which may extend to one hundred rupees for each day on which the breach is so continued.

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