General Cargo

Importance of Separation and marking of Cargo

 

The need for separation and marking of cargo

Cargo for different ports must be kept separated for easy identification to aid correct discharge. Stevedore labour in many countries may be illiterate and may not understand any port name or markings on the cargo.

Separation of consignments:

There may be many shippers shipping the same type of cargo to the same destination. Hence to retain the identification of each consignment as described in the bills of lading they are kept separated from the other.

Separations are also placed to prevent one cargo from chafing or damaging a more fragile cargo.

Non-compatible cargoes need to be kept separate; hence there will be a need to segregate dangerous cargoes, cargoes liable to contamination by odour tainting or fragile cargoes as failure to observe such requirements could give rise to a most hazardous situation involving toxics or flammable gas being given off as a by-product.

Incompatible materials – are those materials which may react dangerously when mixed and are subject to recommendations for segregation.

Stowage of cargo and distribution on board, as per discharge ports is important in order to control trim, list and stresses of the vessel during various stages when cargo is discharged at subsequent ports.

Stowage of cargo and distribution on board, as per discharge ports is important in order to control trim, list and stresses of the vessel during various stages when cargo is discharged at subsequent ports.

Segregation of different Cargoes with reference to Dangerous Goods

If more than one class of dangerous goods is carried on board - they either require proper separation or they cannot be stowed together in the same compartment. Depending on the class and nature of the goods they have to be segregated using the IMDG Segregation table.

separation and marking
Cargo Plan

General Precautions while planning stowage of Dangerous Cargo

  • Dangerous cargoes in packaged form are preferably given deck stowage (depending upon the special requirements if any for the IMDG goods class).
  • The dangerous goods are preferably stowed away from living quarters, in well ventilated spaces. These are further stowed in sheltered areas protected from weather and away from hot surfaces and bulkheads.
  • Marine Pollutants are not stowed on deck in order to avoid loss overboard.
  • Poisonous/ toxic cargoes are stowed clear of food items/ edible cargoes and areas where crew normally works.

Segregation of different Cargoes with reference to Dry, Wet and Delicate Goods

Dirty cargoes should never be carried in the same compartment as clean cargoes. A general comparison of dirty cargoes would include such commodities as oils, paints or animal products, whereas clean cargoes would cover the likes of foodstuffs or fabrics.

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Delicate cargoes shall be suitably marked as fragile and shall be so stowed that these are handled with care. Same shall not be stowed in the same compartment where heavy cargoes are stowed.

The stowage of hides must be away from dry goods and iron work. They have a pungent odour and should be stowed well away from other goods that are liable to spoil. They should not be over-stowed.

Cocoa – stow away from heat and from other cargoes which are liable to taint.

Coffee – requires plenty of ventilation and susceptible to damage from strong smelling goods.

Copra – dried coconut flesh. Liable to heat and spontaneous combustion. It could taint other cargoes and cause oxygen deficiency in the compartment.

Dried blood – used as a fertilizer and must be stowed away from any cargoes liable to taint (similar stow for bones).

Expeller seed – must be shipped dry. It is extremely high risk to spontaneous combustion and must not be stowed close to bulkheads, especially hot bulkheads.

Flour – easily tainted. The stow must be kept dry and clear of smelly goods.

Quebracho extract – this is a resin extract used in the tanning industry. Bags are known to stick together and should be separated on loading by wood

Soda ash – should be stowed away from ironwork and foodstuffs, and must be kept dry.

Sugar – also carried as bulk cargo. Bagged green sugar exudes a lot of syrup. Stowage should be kept clear of the ship’s side as the bags are susceptible to tearing as the cargo settles. Dry refined sugar and wet or green sugar must not be stowed together.Cover steelwork with brown paper for bulk sugar and keep dry.

Fibres – such as jute, hemp, sisal, coir, flax or kapok are all easily combustible. A strict no-smoking policy should be observed at all stages of contact. Bales must be kept away from oil and should not be stowed in the same compartment as coal or other inflammable substances or other cargoes liable to spontaneous combustion.

Dried fruits – these include: apricots, currents, dates, figs, prunes, raisins and sultanas. May be shipped in cases, cartons, small boxes or even baskets. However carried, they must be stowed away from cargoes which are liable to taint. Dried fruits tend to give off a strong smell and generally may contain drugs and insects which could contaminate other cargoes, especially foodstuffs.

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Garlic and onions – shipped in bags, cases or crates and these give off a pungent odour and must be stowed clear of other cargoes liable to taint. They are also liable to germinate and rot in moist environment.

Separation between parcels of cargo and methods of separation

In order to carry goods safely, the vessel must be seaworthy and the cargo spaces must be in such a condition as not to damage cargo parcels by ships sweat, taint or cause any other harmful factor. To this end the Chief Officer would cause a cargo plan to be constructed to ensure that separation of cargoes are easily identifiable and that no contamination of products could take place during the course of the voyage.

Separation of cargoes – it is often a requirement when separate parcels of the same cargo are carried together that a degree of separation between the units is essential. Depending on the type of goods being shipped will reflect the type of separation method employed.

Examples of separation materials include colour wash, tarpaulins, burlap, paper sheeting, dunnage, chalk marks, rope yarns or polythene sheets. The idea of separation is to ensure that the cargo parcels, although maybe looking the same, are not allowed to become inadvertently mixed.

Cargoes can be loaded together in the same hold or tween deck using various forms of separation material:

  1. Thin netting (different colours are available) usually synthetic.
  2. Ropes (different colours are available).
  3. Paint (Water-soluble as it may damage the cargo, for example: timber)
  4. Marking pens (very suitable for cartons and cased goods).
  5. Chalk (but beware as this may be easily erased)
  6. Layers of dunnage (flatboard or plywood).
  7. Construction of bulkheads from timber or occasionally, steel plate.
  8. Separation cloth like Burlap.
  9. Plastic sheet (but make sure restriction of ventilation will not harm the cargo)
  10. Use of markings (for example: bags marked on one side can be separated by stowing them mark up/ mark down).

Separation between parcels of cargo for different consignees or different ports of discharge is often required. This is achieved using any of the means discussed above as suitable. It shall be borne in mind that the cargoes for the designated port are clearly identified. Discharge of cargo in any other port than the destination is likely to result in huge costs.

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