Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

A lift for lifting equipment

Posted on | November 15, 2011 | No Comments

You clearly neglect your cargo handling equipment at your peril, but it seems quite a lot of people do.

A recent survey in New Zealand, where ships’ gear tends to be used extensively for non-containerised trades like forest product revealed a great deal of hazardous machinery, which is curious in a country where the wharfies take a fairly robust attitude to anything that is not to their liking. Just imagine the consternation in the charterer’s office when it is revealed that some ship that has steamed half way around the world to pick up a cargo, has had its cargo gear condemned. It’s not a lot of use and the ship will be offhire before you can say “Whakatipu”.

There was a revealing meeting in London this week on the occasion of the launch of a Lloyd’s Register and UK P&I Club guide to the survey and examination of ships’ lifting appliances, which takes in cargo gear, stores and engineroom cranes and even davits for lifesaving equipment. There is a sort of gap in oversight that has been perceived as this equipment is more often than not regarded as an “optional” class item, while flags states vary greatly in their treatment of this survey. You would think that bearing in mind the importance of much of this stuff, it would be treated more seriously than it is.

There is, as the UK Club’s Karl Lumbers points out, few instances of an incident involving this equipment that does not end up with deaths and injuries. He has a gruesome collection of pictures of cranes which have ended up in the hold, or on the wharf, along with their drivers and others dead and injured. He also offers a list of reasons for this happening, which ranges from neglect of maintenance to bad design.

The new guide is a pocket sized compendium of useful advice on what surveyors and others need to look at in this equipment. Considering how important it all is, it might be considered overdue, but if it induces a new awareness, it will have been well worth while.

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