CSS Code-1 (General Idea and loading of Container on deck)

Securing of goods in most cases is undertaken by the stevedores. Though, they have a good work experience but the securing always needs a cross check by a certified officer. The utility of a lashing unit must be checked carefully. A ship in rough seas experiences combination of longitudinal, vertical and predominantly transverse motions. These give rise to erratic and random accelerations, which act on cargo units. It is important that appropriate amount of lashing and securing is done. The measures must also be taken to reduce the amplitude and frequency of ship motions. There should be regular monitoring and a continuous concern about the lashings and the lashed cargoes in different parts of the ship. A very useful reference guide in this respect is the cargo securing manual. It is a ship specific document prepared on the guidance provided by CSS Code. The Assembly adopted the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code) in November 1991 by resolution A.714(17). CSS Code has undergone subsequent changes through the years.

The aim of CSS Code is to provide an international standard in respect of the safe stowage and securing of cargoes. It works towards the mutual compatibility the ship with the cargo that would be carried. The ship should be equipped with proper cargo securing means. A proper securing would minimize the risks to the ship and personnel. It’s purpose also is to guide in situations like odd cargoes; heavy sea conditions; and post cargo shift situations.

Summarizing above, the safe stowage and securing of cargoes depend on;

  1. Proper planning, execution, supervision; and
  2. Duly qualified and experienced personnel.
  3. Appropriate use of Cargo Securing Manual.

Measures of stowage and securing cargo should be based on the most severe weather conditions. Master in handling the ship should take into account the type and stowage position of the cargo and the securing arrangements. He should visualize and assess the strain on lashings every time a course is altered or the vessel takes a heavy roll.

CSS Code in its various chapters deals with application, principles used, etc. The standardized , non standardized and semi standardised stowage and securing system are dealt with. The areas covered under these chapters are also pertaining the complications which might arise, during a passage, etc.

The code applies to cargoes carried on board ships other than solid and liquid bulk cargoes and timber stowed on deck, whose stowage and securing have created difficulties in practice. Cargo unit, IBC, portable tank road vehicle etc. are defined. Thus, IBC is intermediate bulk container which means a rigid, semi rigid or flexible portable bulk container packaging of a capacity of not more than 3m3, designed for its satisfactory resistance to handling & transport stresses. Portable tank on the other hand is a tank not permanently secured on board a ship and has a capacity of >450l & a shell fitted with external stabilizing members & items of service equipment & structural equipment necessary for transport of gases, liquids or solids. So it is obvious that the ships carrying the cargo units and entities covered by this code must carry cargo securing manual.

Code also deals with suitability of cargo for transport, cargo distribution stressing upon planning and care, cargo securing arrangement, frictional forces, stowage and securing declaration with a sample certificate provided. Code recommends that the ships intended for carrying standardize cargo to be designed accordingly and to carry semi standardized cargo appropriate securing arrangements must be done. Thus, if ever a non standard shipment has to be carried, the code would provide a useful guidance.

Cargo securing manual as stated earlier, is a ship specific document incorporating the principles laid in the CSS Code. The Guidelines for the Preparation of the Cargo Securing Manual was published by IMO in 1997 to show how a manual should be arranged and what it should contain. Under SOLAS a Cargo Securing Manual, which has been approved by the Administration, must be provided on board. The purpose of a Cargo Securing Manual is to set out the standards for cargo securing devices used on board bearing in mind;

  • the type, weight, dimensions (heavy, voluminous, etc), etc of cargo;
  • the type of the ship; and
  • the appropriate strength of material, angle of lashing material etc.

Thus, if a wire rope is used to secure a container on deck, then the size of rope and the lead direction, etc. The manual should be easy to use and must contain information and guidance applicable to the ship for which the manual was drawn up; the idea being that all of the information in the ship’s manual should be of use to those on board and information that relates to cargoes that are not carried should not be included in the manual. The ship’s mate must make a good use of securing manual, not only to make the best use of it but also to train the junior officers about using it. In fact these practices will be helpful in bridging the gap between the theory and practical aspects of the subject. The information given in the manual should follow the layout described in the Guidelines, using the headings and sub-headings in the order shown, and should contain the necessary information specific to the ship. All Cargo Securing Manuals will therefore be in the same format, so that seafarers will become used to that format and will be able to use the manual on any ship efficiently. After the manual has been prepared by, or on behalf of, the ship operator, it must be approved by the administration of the flag state. This document of course will then also be an essential part of the ISM practice on board.

The Appendices contain guidelines for the Preparation of the Cargo Securing Manual. In appendix 5 there are recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships. Appendices also provide safe stowage and securing of cargo units and other entities in ships other than cellular container ships; elements to be taken into account when considering the safe stowage and securing of cargo units and vehicles in ships; and guidelines for securing arrangements for the transport of road vehicles on ro-ro ships.

Loading containers on the deck of ships not specially designed to carry containers
Annex 1 deals with Safe stowage and securing of containers on deck of ships which are not specially designed and fitted for the purpose of carrying containers.

Containers carried on deck or on hatches of such ships should preferably be stowed in the fore and-aft direction. Containers should not extend over the ship’s sides. Adequate supports should be provided when containers overhang hatches or deck structures. Containers should be stowed and secured so as to permit safe access for personnel. Containers should at no time overstress the deck or hatches. Assuming that the volume of a container stowed on deck is 36m3 and say about 60% gets immersed in seawater, an upthrust of 36 x 0.6 x 1.025 = 22 t is caused. The transverse skidding due rolling motions can cause lashings to part if not applied adequately.

A good use should be made of locking devices, cones, or similar stacking aids, as appropriate, between them. The best use of container fittings is very important. In absence of weight data, 20ft units and 40ft units should be assumed to have a gross weight of 20 and 26 tonnes respectively with the centre of gravity at the geometrical centre. Though, a cargo plan is invariably made ashore but the stability calculations for all the stages must be done on board by the shipmate. Care should be taken to ensure that the safe weight load of each individual container is not exceeded and that the gross and tare weights are accurately recorded and declared. Stowing containers in cargo holds requires securing in solid blocks. The containers should be keyed to the tank top and adequate inter-locking of units should be provided. The resulting block must be secured to the ship structure using common sense.

The bottom tier is most effectively secured to ship’s body with the help of bottom shoes or cones stuck to the deck. In want of the appropriate infrastructure, it is best to use appropriate dunnage providing adequate friction between the surfaces.

All containers should be effectively secured in such a way as to protect them from sliding and tipping. Hatch covers carrying containers should be adequately secured to the ship. Containers should be secured using one of the three methods recommended or methods equivalent thereto. Lashings should preferably consist of wire ropes, chains or material with equivalent strength and elongation characteristics. Timber shoring should not exceed 2 m in length. Wire clips should be adequately greased and tightened so that the dead end of the wire is visibly compressed. Lashings should be kept, when possible, under equal tension. Care should be taken when:
– It is required to mix general break-bulk cargo with containers.
– Loading general cargo on top of containers.

The Annex 14 of the CSS Code is the “Guidance on Providing Safe Working Conditions for Securing of Containers on Deck”. This was introduced to the CSS Code by the Maritime Safety Committee, at its eighty-seventh session and subsequently amended. To ensure that persons engaged in carrying out container securing operations on deck have safe working conditions and, in particular safe access, appropriate securing equipment and safe places of work. These guidelines should be taken into account at the design stage when securing systems are devised. These guidelines provide shipowners, ship builders, classification societies, Administrations and ship designers with guidance on producing or authorizing a Cargo Safe Access Plan (CSAP). The ships which are specifically designed and fitted for the purpose of carrying containers to have an approved Cargo Safe Access Plan (CSAP) on board, for all areas where containers are secured.

Personnel engaged in cargo securing operations should be:
trained in the lashing and unlashing of containers in a safe manner;
trained in the identification and handling of defective securing gear;
trained to develop the knowledge and mental and physical manual handling skills and to develop general safety awareness to recognize and avoid potential dangers;
trained in the use of fall protection and other safety  equipment.

Risk assessments should be performed at the design stage taking into account the recommendations of this annex to ensure that securing operations can be safely carried out in all anticipated container configurations. This assessment should be conducted with a view toward developing the Cargo Safe Access Plan (CSAP).

The existing ships should at least comply by the first scheduled drydocking on or after 1 January 2016 as follows:

  • provide for safe container lashing operations in spaces between containers stows;
  • provide non-slip surfaces on decks used for movement about the ship and all passageways and stairs, delineating walkways by painted lines or pictorial signs, highlighting protrusions on access ways that may give rise to a trip hazard;
  • provide toe boards (or kick plates) around the sides of elevated lashing bridges or platforms; provide for closing of openings in lashing platforms through which people can fall;
  • provide for fences and handrails to be highlighted with a contrasting color to the background;
  • provide for protection of unguarded edges on athwartships cargo securing walkways when the hatch cover is removed;
  • provide for handholds at the top of the ladder to enable safe access to the platform;
  • provide for manhole openings that may present a fall hazard to be highlighted in contrasting colour around the rim of the opening; and
  • protection of openings necessary for the operation of the ship, which are not protected by fencing.

In the pursuance of safety the shipowners must not wait for any compliance date and prepare themselves with the required standards as much as possible. In para 6.2 of the annex guidance is provided in respect of following, connected with securing of containers:

  • Lashing position (platforms, bridges and other lashing positions
  • Fencing
  • Ladder and manhole
  • Lashing systems
  • Lashing rod
  • Turnbuckle
  • Storage bins and lashing equipment stowage
  • Lighting

The supplement to the annex provides various scantling and dimension details of various things required under the annex. A few of them being as follows:
width of work area between container stacks to be at least  750mm;
distance between lashing plates on deck or on hatch covers to be at least  600mm
distance from lashing bridge fencing to container stack not more than 1100mm,
width of lashing bridge between top rails of fencing  at least 750mm, etc.
maximum distance from lashing plate to container stack (lashing bridge) 220 minimum. Distance from lashing plate to container stack (elsewhere) 130 minimum F (Width of lashing bridge between top rails of fencing) 750 minimum.

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