You are on page 1of 6

The use of Grabs for loading or Discharging Bulk Cargoes

Clamshell grabs. Clamshell grabs are used mainly for discharge of loose dry bulk cargoes, such as sulphur, soda ash, fertilizers and grains. The grabs may be connected to shore or ships cranes and there are several types. Single Wire Single wire hook-on dual scoop clamshell grabs are designed for cranes with one drum (shipboard cranes). Single line grabs can be connected to any crane. Just hook the grab on the crane with sufficient lifting capacity and your grab is ready for operation.

In order to minimise cargo loss and pollution of the environment, single wire grabs can be equipped with closed shells. Each single wire grab is provided with a lock mechanism to secure the closing of the grab. To open the grab, this mechanism must be unlocked. This can be managed by various methods
1. Hand tripped (Manual Control) To open this type of grab a separate wire must be pulled by hand, or separate winch. Mid-air opening. 2. Touch Down (Automatic) To open this type of grab, it has to be onto the cargo or hopper to unlock the system. 3. Radio remote control with stop-start Stop Start provides the opportunity to stop and start the opening of the shells several times. This type is used in Santos on

Saga vessels.

Double Wire Mechanical clamshell buckets for two - wire operated cranes (One Holding wire and one closing wire). The grabs are designed for loading and discharging any dry granular bulk materials. Grabs can be made with open or closed shells depending on the job and the type of material to be handled. The grabs are manufactured of high wear resistant steels. The shells can be constructed with removable spill / kick plates to reduce capacity. This gives an advantage when bulk materials with various densities are handled, to avoid overloading the grabs and cranes with high-density cargoes. This can be calculated to achieve optima; capacities in combination with the lifting capacity of the crane.

Double - wire clamshell grabs

Hydraulic Clamshells

These can be operated by one or 2-wire cranes, and are operated hydraulically. Suitable for compressed or heavy cargo, which needs more than the weight of the grab alone to dig into the cargo. Can be used for most cargoes, but not, for instance, ammonium nitrate which will become explosive if mixed with hydraulic oil if there is a leak. In any case, care should be taken that seals are in good order.

Electro-hydraulic clamshells

Open shells, left Closed shells, above, prevent pollution.

Specialised Grabs

Level cut clamshell grabs. These are designed so that the halves close in a horizontal line, without downward pressure. Used to avoid damage to vessels tank tops and also very common in dredging operations, where material can be removed to an exact degree as when removing polluted mud.

Orange-peel or Cactus Grabs

These grabs are used for discharging cargoes which consist of large irregular pieces, such as scrap metal or certain uncrushed minerals, pig iron, wood chips, crushed car bodies, etc. There are different types for different cargoes. Also used extensively in dredging operations.

Cactus grabs for scrap metal and large rocks

Grabs for timber

These are used for handling logs, telephone poles and other rough-cut timber. Choosing grabs for a specific purpose. In some cases, operators store grabs in a specific port, to be used for cargoes discharged there only. Other operators have general-purpose grabs which are carried on their ships, to be used in any port. This is the most convenient, as the grabs are always available, wherever cargoes are to be discharged. Grabs are rarely used for loading. When choosing agrab design to be used for specific cargoes, the following should be taken into account. 1. The largest capacity grabs possible in accordance with the crane capacity will ensure a quicker turnaround of the ships. 2. The average density of the cargoes: If the density will vary greatly, consideration should be given to installing removable kick-plates, so as not to overload the cranes when handling highdensity cargoes. 3. The reliability of the grabs, availability of spares and access to maintenance. In many areas there is poor access to maintenance. In these cases, the simpler the grab operation, the better, single-wire grabs should be considered. Ships staff is not normally trained in hydraulic grab maintenance. In all cases, whether the grabs are carried on the ships, or left ashore, a preventative maintenance schedule must be implemented.

4. Connections between grabs and cranes must be compatible. In most cases adaptors or extension wires have to be provided to prevent damage to the ships crane wires. Electrical connections, when used, must be compatible. 5. The nature of the cargoes and local pollution regulations. In some cases, closed shell grabs will be required to minimise pollution. When using hydraulics, the possibility of reaction between any spilled hydraulic oil and the cargo must be taken into account. Heavy-duty hydraulic connection may be fitted, but in these cases, best to avoid hydraulics completely. For this reason, many terminals handling fertilizers, for instance, have their own mechanical grabs. 6. Cutting edge suitability. If the grabs are to be used for soft cargoes, such as fertilizers, the edges, if not abused, will stay aligned for a considerable period, When used for hard /large cargoes, they will become chipped and misaligned. This results in spillage when reverting to fine cargoes. Spillage can result in cargo losses and pollution fines.Grab cutting edges should be constructed of the hardest material available, consistent with cost. 7. Weight of the grabs: there is no point in having a a 20 cbm grab that weighs so much that full capacity cannot be used. Weight savings in the design of the grab are important. 8. Bearing life. Whether using roller bearings or simple bushes, the pivot points must be sealed to prevent entry of cargo an damage to the bearings.

Advantages of shore storage of grabs over ship carriage under certain conditions. There are several possibilities: 1. A long-term contract of affreightment. In this case, the charterer should keep or rent grabs in the port(s) of discharge. If there is a good relationship and the charter does not want to be in the grab business, the carrier may supply grabs at a cost, to be written into the COA. As the carrier may not be using the same vessels to carry the cargo, having the grabs ashore is much more convenient. 2. Spot cargoes. Obviously more convenient to have grabs on the ships. Suitable grabs may not be available at discharge ports. 3. Even with long-term COAs, the carrier should carefully consider the option of providing grabs. If this option is taken, the carrier will be responsible for the proper operation and maintenance of the grabs, and any delays caused by malfunction will be for the carriers account. If various ships are to carry contract cargoes to the same port, and grabs are not required for the other cargoes loaded by those ships, it makes a lot more sense for the charterer, in the case of FIO cargoes, as most are, to rent the grabs from local suppliers if suitable units are available. If this is professionally executed with a reliable grab supplier, considerable savings can be achieved.