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Sloppy stowing in China risks lives, says insurer

Sloppy stowing in China risks lives, says insurer

Shanghai: Badly secured breakbulk cargoes are coming loose and putting lives and vessels at risk – especially in China - according to a report from the North P&I club.

The insurer cites an increasing number of insurance claims arising from poor stowage of goods, with over-stowing of incompatible cargoes and insufficient lashings, dunnage and shoring, particularly from vessels leaving Chinese ports. According to Tony Baker, head of loss prevention at North P&I: “Poor loading practices of breakbulk cargoes are particularly prevalent in Chinese ports and have led to cargo shifting and stows collapsing during voyages. This in turn has resulted in damage to vessels and cargo and to items of cargo being lost overboard, resulting in substantial claims.”

“We have seen heavy cargoes such as steel girders, vehicles and containers stowed over jumbo bulk bags, and lashings tied to ship's ladders and pipework that are obviously not designed for the task.”

North recommends that charterers be involved as soon as problems arise, with notes of protest issued if stevedores fail to address concerns. “We are aware of instances where Masters have challenged stevedores on the method of stowage and securing of the cargo and yet stevedores have ignored these objections," says Baker. "It is vital in such situations that masters exercise their authority and stop further loading until satisfied the stowage and securing is safe.”

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