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Cargo Work Full Notes

Cargo Work Full Notes


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Published by: Wak Lanang on Dec 08, 2010
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Cargo Officers

The term ‘Cargo Officers’ implies the person
responsible for the safe and efficient handling
and stowage of cargo on board. This
responsibility also includes the proper
preparation of the hold prior to loading, correct
supervision during the working of cargoes
proper to the preservation of cargo whilst in
transit and the co-operation/co-ordination with
relevant port authorities whilst in port/harbour.

The Master to the senior most deck officer i.e.
the Chief Officer generally delegates the
responsibilities of the Cargo Officer. The 2nd
and 3rd Officers, who are called the ‘Junior
Cargo Officers’, assist the Chief Officer in
carrying out these duties.

Duties And Responsibilities

The main duties and responsibilities of the
Cargo Officer are listed below:
1)To ensure the proper preparation of all
cargo spaces for the types of cargo to be

2)To inspect the ship’s cargo gear to ensure
that it is in good working condition and in
accordance with the statutory requirements.

3)To ensure that all holds, accesses and
parts of the ship comply with the requirements
of the Dock Safety Regulations.

4)To ensure proper status of guardrails,
manhole covers, side ports, stern doors,
container fittings etc.

5)To plan and supervise the proper stowage
of cargo on board ensuring the safety of life
and property, and avoiding excessive ship
stresses whilst having adequate stability
during loading and discharging and at all
stages of the voyage.
6)To achieve proper stowage of cargo not in
such a manner as to prevent correct and
speedy discharge, taking into account the

proper rotation of ports and also ensure that
no cargo is over stowed.

7)To undertake measures to prevent the out-
break of fire on board and to ensure that fire
fighting equipment is in readiness all the time.

8)To ensure the safe operation of all ship’s
cargo handling gears.

9)To avoid damage to the cargo - to ensure
the proper handling, slinging, discharging,
separation, ventilation, slinging, distribution of
cargo. In the case of refrigerated cargoes -
The proper control of temperature.

10)To take adequate measures to prevent the
pilferage of cargo.

11)To maintain a daily check and record of
cargo loaded or discharged including the
vessel’s draught.

12)To make proper and correct entries into
the Mate’s Log Book, issue relevant Mate’s
Receipts for cargo loaded, drawing up of
cargo plans, hatch lists, cargo summaries,
dangerous cargo lists etc. To maintain the
Dangerous Cargo Register.

13)To attempt a good distribution of cargo at
loading and discharge ports, so as to obtain
the fastest turn round of the vessel and
minimise port stay.

14)To ensure that all cargo is properly
secured, hatches well battened down and
cargo gears secured before the vessel
proceeds to sea.

15)To ensures that proper ventilation of cargo
spaces is carried out to prevent cargo damage
due to condensation/sweat. To check and
record temperatures and CO2


in refrigerated cargo spaces.

16)In the event of bad or adverse weather
conditions, to ensure the water tightness of

ALAM/July 2002 Page 11

Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork

compartments, proper trimming of ventilators
and the lashings of cargo etc.

17)To ensure that all work on board is carried
out in accordance with the “Code of Safe
Working Practices”.

18)To properly delegate duties to Junior
Cargo Officers with adequate instructions for
the proper loading/discharging and stowage of
cargo and the overall safety of the vessel.

Packaging Of General Cargo

General cargo may be presented for shipment
with various forms of packaging, such as:
Bags - made from natural fibres like
jute/cotton or from synthetic fibres and paper.
Used for cement, grain, sugar etc. They are
liable to bursting at their seams.
Cartons - made from cardboard. Used for
finished goods like condensed milk, shoes, or
for carrying fruits etc. They are very fragile and
liable to be crushed.
Chests - rectangular/square boxes made
from plywood. Used for carrying tea. They are
fragile and liable to be crushed.
Cases - rectangular boxes made from
wooden planks nailed and banded. Can be
strong or fragile depending on quality of wood
& construction of case. Used for heavier
goods like spare parts etc. or to protect fragile
Crates - rectangular, made from wooden
planks with ‘grated’ design. Not as strong
as cases and sides are fragile. Used for
machinery parts etc.
Bales - formed when commodities such as
natural fibre, cloth etc. are pressed tightly into
a rectangular bundle and then strapped firmly
with metal bands or cord. Lifting by hooking
onto bands should be avoided.
Barrels - made from shaped wooden
planks called ‘staves’ and held by metal
hoops. The weakest part is the rounded
middle called the ‘bilge’ and the strongest is at
the quarter hoop’. The opening for filling the
contents is called the ‘bung’. Ideally placed on
wedges, called ‘quoins’ placed below the
quarter hoops keeping the ‘bilge off the
ground and the ‘bung’ upwards (i.e. ‘Bung
up and bilge free’). Used for carriage of wine
etc. and similar produce.

Slinging Of General Cargoes

Loading and discharging of cargo is facilitated
by the use of proper cargo handling gears
namely, derricks/cranes (the lifting machines)
and slings. Slings facilitate the ‘grouping’ of
unit packages of cargo conveniently for
connecting to derricks / cranes. Various types
of slings, for use with different types of general
cargo, are available and are designed to
minimise damage to the cargo during the
lifting process.

Some of the principle types of slings, available
are clearly explained in various textbook.


To further facilitate quicker dispatch of cargo
into/out of the ship, and to allow it to be
handled mechanically by machines such as
forklift trucks, small packages of cargo (unit
packages) of uniform size are sometimes
consolidated into ‘unit loads’ on ‘pallets’
(double-layered wooden platforms of standard
dimensions capable of being lifted
conveniently by fork lift trucks). Special ‘pallet
slings’ make the slinging of pallets, onto
derrick/cranes, faster and easier. The concept
being to assist the process of cargo handling
by reducing the number of occasions when a
piece of cargo has to be manually handled
thereby increasing cargo throughout.

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Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork

‘Pre-slinging’ of cargo, where slings are left on
after loading so as to facilitate quicker
discharge at the other end (by avoiding the
building up of sling loads again) is a form of
unitization and is used on some trades.

‘Containerisation” is a special form of
unitization and will be discussed later.


Chain Sling

Consists of a length of chain with a large ring
at one end and a hook on smaller ring at the
other end. It is used for lifting heavy logs,
bundles of iron and most steel work. Care
must always be taken that no kinks are
allowed to form in the chain when goods are
being lifted.

Can Hooks

The hook slips under the lip of the drum or
barrel. There are frequently four or five sets of
hooks on a ring, which enables drums and
barrels to be handled very rapidly. They are
not to be recommended for handling heavy
barrels as there is a possibility that the staves
will be pulled out.


May be made of either rope or wire by forming
an eye at each end of a 16mm - 20mm wire
(2” - 2.5 “) or 50mm - 60mm rope (6” - 7”) 4 to
6 metres (2-3 fathoms) in length. It is used for
slinging cases, bales, wet hides and timber.

Plate Clamps

There are various type o plate clamps, but the
principle is that the plate is gripped when the
weight is taken, so that there is no chance of
plate slipping as it could do if a chain sling was

ALAM/July 2002 Page 13

Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork

Rope Sling

This is formed by joining the ends of a piece of
25mm - 30mm rope 3” - 3.5“) about 10 to 12
metres (5 to 7 fathoms) in length with a short
splice. The sling is in very common use. Bags,
baled goods, barrels and cases may all be
along with this.


Similar to the tray by a wooden side is fixed
around it. Used for handling explosives.


May be square, rectangular or round. They are
slung by pieces of rope called legs, attached
to the corners. Used for small cases and

Canvas Sling

This is formed by sewing a piece of canvas
between the parts of a rope sling. It is used for
bagged grain, rice, coffee and similar cargoes
where the contents of the bag are small. Any
spillage is retained in the canvas and is not
wasted. The stress on the outside bags is
spread more evenly and thus the chance of
splitting is reduced.


Much cargo damage results from careless or
improper handling during the loading and
discharging processes, the following being the
principal sources of such damage: -

Careless Winch Work

Lowering heavy slings or drafts of cargo too
fast on to cargo already in stowage not
infrequently is responsible for damage which,
often goes undetected until discharge.

Cargo Hooks

The use of these implements is indispensable
in the handling of a large variety of
commodities, but with bag cargo, fine bale
goods, hides, fire rolls of paper and matting,
etc., light packages, liquid containers, crates
and like packages whose contents are
exposed or unprotected, the use of cargo
hooks should be strictly prohibited.

Crow and Pinch Bars

These also are indispensable to the sound
stowage of many classes of heavy packages,
but their use should never be permitted when
stowing barrels, or other liquid containers, or
with any packages which are not substantial
enough to withstand damage from their use.

Crushing against Ship’s

Hatch coamings, beam sockets, etc., should
be safeguarded against by the use of overside
skids, the correct plumbing and guying of
derricks, and careful winch driving, especially
when swinging booms are in use.

ALAM/July 2002 Page 14

Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork

Dragging Cargo

Dragging Cargo by winches along the deck to
save trucking, from remote ends and wings of
holds and ‘tween decks instead of making up
the “draft” or “sling” near the hatch, is a prolific
source of damage to, and loss of contents of
the lighter class of packages, as well as to the
cargo in stowage over which such is dragged.

Dropping Packages

Dropping packages from trays, trucks, railway
cars, top tiers of lighters, etc., by which their
contents are broken or exposed, the packages
splintered, deformed or loosened in their
fastenings and rendered unfit for the
subsequent handling they are subjected to. To
avoid this, suitable skids should be used for
packages, which are too heavy to be handed

Improper Appliances

The use of special appliances tends to be
expeditious and economical in handling of
cargo, but damage is frequently caused by the
improper use of such appliances.

Net slings are most useful with many kinds of
small packages, but if used with bagstuff, light
cases, etc., a great deal of damage results.
Similarly chain slings are indispensable for
certain types of packages and useful for most
classes of iron goods, but the use of such with
light cases, sheet iron, coils of lead or copper
piping, sawn logs of valuable timber and other
goods liable to buckling, fraying or marking by
chain is productive of damage and claims.

Canvas or web slings should be used for
slinging bag flour, coffee and like cargo, while
the use of trays for certain classes of goods is
much to be preferred to slinging by net or

Improper Slinging

Too much weight in a draft endangers the
safety of packages situated at the outside
edge of bottom and top tiers into which the
sling is liable to be drawn by weight below and
compression above.

A draft composed of many packages should
taper off on top to prevent springing or

crushing the outside upper packages by
compression of the sling. Light or fragile
packages should not be slung along with
heavy packages.

Lack of Walking Boards

Lack of Walking Boards and landing platforms.
Where these are not provided and used,
damage is caused to packages, in towage,
over which other cargo has to be worked into
the position where it is to be stowed.

Packages, which are damaged after they are
at “ship’s risk”, should be carefully re-
coopered or repaired before stowing away.



a)“Sweat” is condensation, which forms on
all surfaces in a cargo compartment due to the
inability of the cooled air in the compartment,
to hold water vapour in suspension (warm air
can hold much more water vapour than cool

b)Sweat may be differentiated as follows:

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Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork


Ship’s Sweat - exists when water
droplets are deposited onto the ship’s
structure in the compartment (e.g. deckheads,
beams, frames, shipside, stringers etc.) and
then fall onto or come in contact with the

It occurs when the dew point of the air in the
cargo compartment is more than the
temperature of the outside air/structural parts
of the compartment.

It is usually found on voyages from warm
places to colder places.


Cargo Sweat - arises when
condensation forms directly on the body of
cargo itself.

It occurs when the temperature of the air in the
compartment (or the cargo itself) is lower than
the dew point of the incoming air.

It is likely to be found on voyages from cold to
warmer places.

c)Prevention of Damage by Sweat
Although intelligent use of dunnage can
minimise damage from sweat, it is more
prudent to consider the prevention of damage
by the elimination/minimisation of sweat by
efficient ventilation.

The controlling factor for the formation sweat
is the relationship between the temperature
and humidity of the air in/outside the
compartment. Air having 100% humidity is
said to be “saturated the temperature at which
this occurs is called its dew point.

i)When the dew point of the outside air is
lower than or equal to the dew point of the air
in the compartment - VENTILATE.
)iiWhen the dew point of the outside air is
greater than the dew point of the air in the
compartment - DO NOT VENTILATE.


a)Ventilation has the main objectives of:
preventing moisture damage to cargo
originating from condensation (sweat) within
the cargo compartment.

removing fumes and odours
emanating from cargoes stowed in the
compartment to prevent ‘taint’ or other
thus preventing fire.

b)Ventilation may be described as
)iThrough Ventilation - with the flow of air
occurring through the body of the cargo
assisted by proper ‘trimming’ of ventilators and
the judicious use of dunnage.


Surface Ventilation - with the flow of
air occurring only at the upper surface of the
cargo and not being forced into the body of the

c)Ventilation may be provided by two major


Natural Ventilation - this is achieved
by ‘trimming’ the ship’s ventilators and
obtaining a natural flow of air caused by the
vessels movement or outside wind.

Trimming the leeward ventilation into the wind
and trimming the winward vents away from the
wind can effect ‘Through natural Ventilation’.
The air in the compartment will then move in a
direction contrary to the flow of outside air.


Mechanical or Forced Draught
- The simplest of such systems
consists of a fan of appropriate size and
design which delivers outside air into the
compartment, and the used air from the
compartment is discharged to the atmosphere
via the natural exhaust ventilator.

ALAM/July 2002 Page 16

Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork

Sometimes such an arrangement does not
prove satisfactory and hence the exhausting is
also done mechanically by means of a suitable
exhaust fan. The delivery and exhaust is
properly balanced to provided good airflow.


Dunnage’ may be referred to as the wood that
is used to protect cargo. It may be in the form
of wooden planks, or slats, bamboo, bamboo
or rush mats.

Many general cargo ships have permanent
dunnage, called ‘spar ceiling’ or ‘cargo
battens’, fitted over the side frames in the hold
(and sometimes over the bulkhead stiffeners).
It consists of 150mm x 50mm (6” x 2”) timber
usually fitted horizontally into cleats over the

side frames with the distance between the
‘battens’ of about 230mm (9”).

Cargo battens are sometimes fitted vertically
and in such cases the initial expense is
generally greater. However there tends to be
less subsequent damage to the battens and
better protection is afforded to the cargo.

The tank top is usually covered with a double
layer of non-permanent dunnage called
‘portable dunnage’. The bottom layer consists
of 50mm x 50mm (2” x 2”) timber spaced
about 0.7 to 1.0 metre (2-3 feet) apart and laid
athwartships - if the ship has conventional side
bilges (otherwise laid fore-and-aft in case of
‘bilge wells’) to allow free drainage. The upper
layer consists of 150mm x 25mm (6” x 1”)
boards laid across the lower layer, about
230mm (9”) apart.

In some ships the tank top, in way of the
hatch, is protected from impact damage by
cargo by a permanent wooden sheating called
the ‘tank top ceiling’. This does not replace
dunnage and the portable dunnage should be
laid over this and it should also extend over
limber boards.

Similar dunnage arrangements will be found in
the tween decks, however the lower layer of
portable dunnage may also consist of 150mm
x 25mm boards (sometimes only a single layer
is used). Particular attention should be paid at
the shipside stringer, where a thicker layer of
portable dunnage may be prudent, as water
tends to accumulate here.

Timber used for dunnage should be clean, dry,
stain free, odour free and free from nails and
large splinters. New timber should be free
from resin and the strong smell of new wood.

ALAM/July 2002 Page 17

Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork

With some cargoes such as bagged rice etc,
the hold pillars should be lagged with bamboo
mats. When battens are not fitted on bulkhead
stiffeners, a lattice of bamboos may have to be
erected as a temporary measure.

It must be noted that dunnage need not be laid
if the cargo does not require ventilation. For
example, when coal is loaded in bulk, the
cargo battens are removed and no portable
dunnage is laid.

The use of dunnage may be summarised as:
Preventing cargo coming into contact with
free moisture/water on the tween deck or tank
Preventing cargo from coming into contact
with the steel boundary of the hold thus
minimising damage due to ‘ship’s sweat’.
Assisting in providing ventilation, thus
preventing / reducing ‘sweat’.
Preventing spontaneous heating by
affording good ventilation.
Aiding distribution of weight over a layer of
cargo thus minimising crushing damage to
Preventing chafage between cargoes.
Certain types can prevent pilferage of
Aiding in distribution of cargo weight over
tank top etc.
Can be used to separate cargoes (this is
not considered as a normal practice).

Entry Into Enclosed Spaces

There are many enclosed spaces on a ship - if
in doubt about any space you may have to
enter CHECK FIRST with Chief Officer.

An Enclosed Space Is

any space or compartment that has been
closed or unventilated for some time.
any space or compartment that may,
because of the cargo carried, contain noxious,
flammable or harmful gases.
any space or compartment which may be
contaminated by cargo or gases leaking
through a bulkhead or pipeline.
any storeroom or space containing noxious
or harmful materials
any space or compartment which may be
deficient in oxygen.

These definitions include pump rooms on
tankers. There may be special instructions for
routine entry into pump rooms on your ship.
Make sure you know what they are.


The atmosphere in any enclosed space may
be incapable of supporting human life. It may
contain flammable or toxic gases or not
enough oxygen.

This is why it is essential that the Master or
officer in charge, who will ensure that all the
necessary safety precautions have been taken
before anyone is allowed to enter an enclosed
space, must give instructions or permission.

Precautions Before Entering
Tanks Or Confined Spaces

1)Prior to entry into enclosed space it is
essential to obtain permission first.
2)Test on tank atmosphere - should be
checked by using explosimeter and oxygen
analyser where appropriate for safe entry.
3)Ventilate space prior to entry and
continuously during the operation so as to
ensure the environment is safe.
4)Entry should be restricted to the minimum
number of personnel required for the job and a
record is made on the number of personnel.
5)Adequate lighting to be provided for the
6)Properly attired and safety gear should be
observed by all personnel involved in the entry
into enclosed spaces.
7)Use only intrinsically safe equipment when
the enclosed space was used to store or carry
flammable cargoes prior to the entry.
8)Post signs at entrance and one competent
man on standby to monitor the operation.
9)Proper and effective communication
established between all parties involved in the
10)Emergency procedures and evacuation
should be briefed and well understood to all
personnel involved.

ALAM/July 2002 Page 18

Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork


Please complete the assignment and return to

1)State the functions of a cargo plan in a
bulk carrier.

2)Describe ship sweat and cargo sweat and
the factor affecting sweat.

ALAM/July 2002 Page 19

Malaysian Maritime Academy Correspondence Course Cargowork

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