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Cargo Ships Lifting appliances - Maintenance, testing, controls & safety measures

Regular Maintenance for Lifting appliances on board

General Cargo Ships deck crane

Fig: Cargo Ships deck crane

In order to ensure that all parts of lifting equipment and related equipment are kept in good repair and working order, regular preventative maintenance should be carried out. Maintenance should include regular examinations by a competent person. Such examinations should be carried out as required by the Regulations but in any event at least once annually. Checks should look for general material defects such as cracks, distortion, corrosion and wear and tear that could affect safe working load and overall strength.

When there is any suspicion that any appliance or item of equipment may have been subjected to excessive loads, exceeding the Safe Working Load (SWL), or subjected to treatment likely to cause damage, it should be taken out of service until it can be subjected to a thorough examination by a competent person.

Listed below are some suggested maintenance items:-

i) Greasing should be thorough and frequent, as dry bearings impose additional loads that can lead to failure.

ii) The condition of all ropes and chains should be checked regularly for wear, damage and corrosion and replaced as necessary.

iii) Shackles, links and rings should be renewed when wear or damage is evident.

iv) Structures should be examined frequently for corrosion, cracks, distortion and wear of bearings, securing points etc.

v) Hollow structures such as gantries or masts should be checked for trapped water inside. If water is found, the structure should be drained, appropriately treated and then sealed.

vi) Regular function tests of controls, stops, brakes, safety devices for hoisting gear etc, should be carried out preferably before the start of operations.

Additional items may be appropriate dependant upon the equipment fitted to an individual vessel.

Testing of lifting appliances on board

No lifting equipment, accessory for lifting or loose gear is to be used after manufacture or installation, or after any repair or modification which is likely to alter the safe working load or affect the strength or stability of the equipment, without having been first tested by a competent person.

Upon the completion of any test of lifting equipment, accessory for lifting or item of loose gear carried out in accordance with , the equipment, accessory or gear shall be thoroughly examined and certified for use by the person carrying out the test.

Additionally Ship's lifting equipment is not to be used unless it has been tested by a competent person within the preceding five years.

Where the safety of lifting equipment depends on the installation conditions, it should be inspected by a competent person before it is used for the first time. Such inspections should be undertaken on initial installation or after re-assembly at another location, to ensure that it has been installed correctly, in accordance with any manufacturer's instructions, and is safe for workers to operate as well as being able to function safely.

Any lifting equipment or accessory for lifting which is, or has been, exposed to conditions which could cause deterioration in its condition should be:-

(a) thoroughly examined (i) in the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons or an accessory for lifting, at least every 6 months;

(ii) in the case of other lifting equipment, at least every 12 months; or

(iii) in either case, in accordance with an examination scheme; and

(iv) whenever exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the lifting equipment have occurred; and

(b) where appropriate, inspected by a competent person at suitable intervals,

On some vessels, it was reported that the ship's staff had carried out unauthorised repairs to crane jibs by cropping and welding inserts over damaged or wasted sections. Crane jibs are subject to heavy, fluctuating loads and must be periodically inspected, surveyed, load-tested and certified. They are often made of high-tensile, for which special procedures have to be observed during repairs. Therefore, repairs must be carried out only in consultation with the manufacturer and classification society concerned. Any damage noticed to crane jibs must be reported to the ship owner/manager and advice sought before carrying out any kind of repair.

Controls of lifting appliances

Controls of lifting appliances should be permanently and legibly marked with their function and their operating directions shown by arrows or other simple means, indicating the position or direction of movement for hoisting or lowering, slewing or luffing, etc.

Make-shift extensions should not be fitted to controls nor any unauthorised alterations made to them. Foot-operated controls should have slip resistant surfaces.

No lifting device should be used with any locking pawl, safety attachment or device rendered inoperative. If, exceptionally, limit switches need to be isolated in order to lower a crane to its stowage position, the utmost care should be taken to ensure the operation is completed safely.

Safety measures

A powered appliance should always have a person at the controls while it is in operation; it should never be left to run with a control secured in the "ON" position.

If any powered appliance is to be left unattended with the power on, loads should be taken off and controls put in "NEUTRAL" or "OFF" positions. Where practical, controls should be locked or otherwise inactivated to prevent accidental restarting. When work is completed, power should be shut off.

The person operating any lifting appliance should have no other duties which might interfere with their primary task. They should be in a proper and protected position, facing controls and, so far as is practicable, with a clear view of the whole operation.

Where the operator of the lifting appliance does not have a clear view of the whole of the path of travel of any load carried by that applianc appropriate precautions should be taken to prevent danger. Generally this requirement should be met by the employment of a competent and properly trained signaller designated to give instructions to the operator. A signaller includes any person who gives directional instructions to an operator while they are moving a load, whether by manual signals, by radio or otherwise.

The signaller should have a clear view of the path of travel of the load where the operator of the lifting appliance cannot see it.

Where necessary, additional signallers should be employed to giv instructions to the first signaller.

Every signaller should be in a position that is:-

(a) safe; and
(b) in plain view of the person to whom they are signalling unless an effective system of radio or other contact is in use.

All signallers should be instructed in and should follow a clear cod of signals, agreed in advance and understood by all concerned in the operation.

If a load can be guided by fixed guides, or by electronic means, or some other way, so that it is as safely moved as if it was being controlled by competent team of driver and signallers, signallers will not be necessary.

Positioning and installation

Permanently installed lifting equipment should not be used unless it has been positioned or installed in such a way as to minimise the risk of any of the following occurrences-

(a) the equipment or a load striking a worker;
(b) a load drifting dangerously or falling freely;
(c) a load being released unintentionally.

More on general cargo ship :
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  3. Synthetic man-made ropes and hawsers

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  5. Natural fibre rope

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  7. Lay of Ropes and hawsers - Small Stuff descriptions

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  9. Stresses in ship structures and how to mitigate

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  11. Anchoring safe practice

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  13. MacGregor single-pull weather-deck hatch cover

  14. Hatch covers are used to close off the hatch opening and make it watertight. Wooden hatch covers, consisting of beams and boards over the opening and covered with tarpaulins, were once used but are no longer fitted. Steel hatch covers, comprising a number of linked steel covers, are now fitted universally. Various designs exist for particular applications, but most offer simple and quick opening and closing, which speed up the cargo handling operation..
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  15. Cargo holds access arrangement

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  17. Prepare cargo holds prior loading

  18. Washing is always carried out after the compartment has been swept. Drying time for washed compartments must be allowed for, before loading the next cargo; this time will vary with the climate, but two to three days must be expected.
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  19. Strength and stability of the Lifting appliances

  20. The vessel's structure, crane, derrick or other lifting device and the supporting structure should be of sufficient strength to withstand the loads that will be imposed when operating at its maximum load moment .
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  21. Lifting appliances - Maintenance, testing, controls & safety measures

  22. When there is any suspicion that any appliance or item of equipment may have been subjected to excessive loads, exceeding the Safe Working Load (SWL), or subjected to treatment likely to cause damage, it should be taken out of service until it can be subjected to a thorough examination by a competent person.
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  23. Safe operation of Lifting appliances and gears

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  25. Derricks for lifting cargo on board

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  27. Deck cranes

  28. Deck cranes have a number of advantages, the rigging time being negligible, and the crane is able to pick up and land permitted loads anywhere within its working radius. The safe working loads of cranes is generally of the order of 10 to 15 tonnes and larger cranes are available capable of lifts from 30 to 40 tonnes..
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  35. Periodic survey requirement by classification societies

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