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A beginner’s guide to the Baltic 99 questionnaire

A guide for anyone who wants to understand the Baltic 99 questionnaire

Chapter 4: Cargo Arrangements

In this section, information about the cargo holds and the hatch covers should be provided.

3.1. HOLDS:

There are a number of questions related with the cargo holds of the vessel as follows:

A. NUMBER OF HOLDS:

Rather straightforward. This is clearly shown in the vessel’s GA Plan or Capacity Plan.

B. ARE VESSEL’S HOLDS CLEAR AND FREE OF ANY OBSTRUCTIONS?

This is mainly referring to the holds’ tanktop - in some cases, the cargo holds have fittings which are used for lashing purposes etc. This could be an example of an obstruction.

This is required since upon vessel’s discharge, small bulldozers are moved into the cargo hold and used to discharge the cargo residues. Any such obstructions might create difficulties to stevedores in case of dry bulk commodities.

The Master can provide this information.

C. GRAIN/BALE CAPACITY IN HOLDS EXCLUDING HATCHWAYS, WING/TOP SIDE TANKS (M3):

In this section the volume of the cargo holds should be inserted. There are two types of capacity: The Grain capacity and the Bale capacity.

The Grain Capacity is the maximum cargo capacity of the vessel and it takes into consideration all the parts of the cargo holds (including frames etc) and is used in case of dry bulk cargo (e.g. iron ore, coal, grains etc) when the cargo flows to conform to the shape of the ship.

The Bale Capacity is used as a measurement of capacity for general cargoes such as pellets, scrap etc where the cargo does not conform to the shape of the ship (and therefore this measurement excludes the frames, beams etc).

This point is relevant with point “D” below and in some cases only one of the two can be completed.

D. GRAIN/BALE CAPACITIES BY HOLD EXCLUDING WING/TOP SIDE TANKS BUT INCLUDING HATCHWAYS (M3):

The only difference between point C and D is that point D asks for the Grain and Bale capacity of the cargo holds including the Hatchways while the point C excludes this.

This information for both the grain and bale capacity is included in the vessel’s Capacity Plan. This is very important information for chartering and operational issues since by dividing the capacity with the cargo’s stowage factor, someone can find out the maximum loadable quantity in terms of vessel’s capacity.

E. IS VESSEL STRENGTHENED FOR THE CARRIAGE OF HEAVY CARGOES? (YES/NO) IF YES STATE WHICH HOLDS MAY BE LEFT EMPTY:

In case heavy cargoes are loaded (e.g. iron ore), the vessel can reach her maximum deadweight while the cargo holds are almost empty. This happens since these cargoes have a low stowage factor (low cuft/mt).

If the vessel is strengthened for heavy cargoes, the information is included in the Certificate of Classification.

F. IS TANKTOP STEEL AND SUITABLE FOR GRAB DISCHARGE? (YES/NO):

In case of discharge with grabs, the cargo is dropped from a higher point to the tanktop. If tanktops are not made of steel it may create damages to the tanktop, which of course under the terms and conditions of the c/p it might need to be compensated for by the Charterer.

In more recent years, the tanktop of the ships is have mainly been made of steel, but the vessel’s Master can confirm this information in case of doubt.

G. STATE WHETHER BULKHEAD CORRUGATIONS VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL:

Bulk carriers are provided with transverse watertight bulkheads between holds that divide the ship into watertight compartments.

The secondary purpose of these bulkheads is to provide additional transverse strength to the ship structure. In case the bulkhead corrugations are horizontal, cargo residues may be more difficult to be removed before vessel’s completion of discharge (in case of bulk cargo) and Charterers therefore are interested in this information.

The pictures of the cargo holds and/or the GA Plan can give a picture of whether this is vertical or horizontal.

H. TANKTOP STRENGTH (METRIC TONS PER SQM):

This information is especially important if heavy cargoes are going to be loaded in the holds (e.g. steel coils) and shows the maximum weight per Square Meters that the vessel can take.

The GA plan, the Capacity Plan and the midship section include this information.

I. ARE HOLDS CO2 FITTED? (YES/NO):

CO2 fire fighting systems in the cargo holds are quite expensive and those ships that are fitted are able to load combustible cargoes that other ships cannot. Cotton seeds are one such cargo.

The CO2 system consists of a fire detection system (smoke detectors) and an alarm system, along with CO2 cylinders. During an indication of fire in the cargo hold, the gang of CO2 bottles are released depending upon the cargo permeability (how much space is empty over the cargo for CO2).

In case the vessel is CO2 fitted, this is usually mentioned in the TC description since this is very important information but it will also be included in the DOC for the carriage of solid bulk cargoes

J. ARE HOLDS FITTED WITH SMOKE DETECTION SYSTEM:

Even if the ships are not CO2 fitted, they may have a smoke detection system in the holds. T

he existence of a smoke detection system are needed to load cargoes with fire risk, though cargoes which require CO2 (as per the IMSBC Code) cannot be loaded with existence of the smoke detection system only.

The Master will advise whether such system exists or not.

K. IS VESSEL FITTED WITH AUSTRALIAN TYPE APPROVED HOLDS LADDERS:

The Australian type ladders are round ladders (instead of vertical) and provide a safer way for the crew to enter/exit the cargo holds.

The General Arrangement Plan includes a symbol showing that the vessel does have Australian type hold ladders. Alternatively, the Master can advise whether the vessel is fitted or not. A photo from the cargo holds can also indicate whether Australian ladders exist or not.

L. HAS VESSEL A FUNCTIONING CLASS CERTIFIED LOADMASTER/LOADICATOR OR SIMILAR CALCULATOR:

Loadmaster/ Loadicator is a computer program that is used to make calculations in regards to the loadable quantity in each hold so as to ensure the stability of the vessel.

If the vessel has a calculator, there is a class certificate for this software however since it is not a main certificate it may not be available at the office. Therefore, the Master should provide information on whether such calculator exists or not.

M. ARE HOLDS HOPPERED AT: HOLD SIDE, FORWARD BULKHEAD, AFT BULKHEAD? CAN VESSEL’S HOLDS BE DESCRIBED AS BOX SHAPED?:

Cargo holds which have cutaway corners. Such hoppers may be found either at the sides of the hold or at the bulkheads or in both positions. Hoppers are shown in the following picture.

Information on whether a cargo hold is hoppered or box-shaped can be found in the mid-ship section plan or from the photos of the cargo holds can take a clear picture of whether hoppers exist and at which position.

If no hoppers exist in the cargo holds, the vessel is called “box shaped”. Box shaped vessels are the best ships for loading general cargoes while hoppered holds are better for bulk cargoes since they assist in the self-trimming of the cargo.

N. MEASUREMENT OF ANY TANK SLOPES/HOPPERING (HEIGHT AND DISTANCE FROM VESSEL’S SIDE AT TANK TOP) (METRES):

This is the dimension of the hoppers in the cargo holds since it calculates the distance from the tanktop (bottom side of the hopper) to the sides of the hold (upper side of the hopper). This is a specific dimension which can be provided by the vessel’s Master.

O. FLAT FLOOR MEASUREMENT OF CARGO HOLDS AT TANK TOP (METRES):

In this section, the length and width dimensions of the tanktop of each cargo holds should be provided. This may be different between each hold and also in some cases (e.g first or last hold) the dimensions may be different between the fore and the aft side of each cargo hold.

The measurement of the tank tops is required mainly for general cargoes that the stowage requires special attention and the exact dimensions matters (e.g. scrap, coils etc).

P. ARE VESSEL’S HOLDS ELECTRICALLY VENTILATED? IF YES STATE NUMBER OF AIRCHANGES PER HOUR BASIS EMPTY HOLDS:

Bulk cargoes are ventilated to prevent the formation of cargo sweat or ship’s sweat which could damage the cargo, to reduce the harmful heating of a cargo, and/or to remove hazardous gases from the cargo spaces. Ventilation assisted by fans is known as mechanical ventilation, whilst ventilation which occurs as a result of natural movement of air is called natural ventilation.

In case the vessel does have mechanical ventilation, it is usually included in the T/C description as an additional feature since in this case the vessel can load additional cargoes which require mechanical ventilation. This information along with the number of airchanges per hour can be provided by the Master.

3.2. DECK AND HATCHES:

There are various points related with the Deck and Hatches as follows:

A. NUMBER OF HATCHES:

The number of hatches is shown in the vessel’s capacity plan. The information is required in order to structure the loading/discharge sequence. It is rather usual the number of hatches to be same with the number of holds.

B. MAKE AND TYPE OF HATCH COVERS:

As its name implies, this section requires the maker and the type of hatch covers. There are two main types of hatch covers. The folding type and the side-rolling. The folding type hatch covers are opening in fore and aft directions accordingly while the side-rolling are opening on the sides (starboard and port side). The GA plan shows whether this is folding or side-rolling. Additionally, covers can be hydraulically or manually operated.

This, along with the maker will be provided by the Master of the vessel.

C. HATCH SIZES (METRES):

The dimensions of Hatch covers are shown in the vessel’s General Arrangement Plan.

D STRENGTH OF HATCH COVERS (METRIC TONS PER SQM):

This is the maximum weight which can be placed on the hatch covers and the information is provided in the vessel’s GA plan.

E. DISTANCE FROM SHIP’S RAIL TO NEAR AND FAR EDGE OF HATCH COVERS/COAMING NEAR AND FAR (METRES):

As the name implies, here is requested the distance from the vessel’s rails to each one of the two edges of the hatch coaming for each hold. The Master should provide the answer to this question.

F. DISTANCE FROM BOW TO FORE OF 1ST HOLD OPENING (METRES)

The distance from the vessel’s bow to the first hold is required here. With this, we find out what is the length from Hold number 1 to the bow of the vessel.

G. DISTANCE FROM STERN TO AFT OF LAST HOLD OPENING (METRES):

The distance between the vessel’s stern and the last hold (closest to stern) is required here. This figure measures the vessel’s length beyond the last hold to the vessel’s stern. Points F and G are similar and they are not very common dimensions but may be required only in special occasions such as ports/berths with special restrictions. This is another point that the Master’s advice is required.

3.3 STATE DECK STRENGTH (METRIC TONS PER SQM):

This is the maximum weight which can be loaded on the deck and it might be useful in cases that the deck cargo is loaded.

This information can be found in the vessel’s GA Plan.

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