Bulk Terminals

The vessel will have to have any specialised equipment required available and ready for use. The Master will have to work out exactly where he is going to stow the cargo and the loading sequence. The vessel must always stay in safe trim not only for the ocean voyage but also during the course of the actual loading so as to avoid undue strain to the structure of the vessel. The carriage of bulk cargoes is a relatively simple operation.  As mentioned the holds will have to be clean and dry to the Charterer’s satisfaction before loading starts.  In the case of ‘sensitive’ cargoes, it is usual to employ an independent surveyor.   In modern bulk terminals cargoes are now loaded by chute or grabs in such a way that no actual trimming of the cargo is necessary in order for the vessel to be in seaworthy trim.  Many charterers make it clear in their conditions that the cargo will be “loaded and spout-trimmed free of expense to the vessel”. In less sophisticated ports, manual trimming may be necessary in order to spread the cargo across the holds.  This obviates the risk of the cargo shifting dangerously during the voyage which might happen if it were simply left to take up its natural ‘angle of repose’ leading to a peaked pyramid shape in the centre of the hold. Bulk Grain – Before loading can commence the vessel’s holds will have to be clean to a high standard, dry and free from loose rust scale (“grain clean”).  In addition, because bulk grain is free flowing there is a risk of the cargo shifting when the vessel rolls in bad weather.  This could cause a list from which recovery is impossible and capsize becomes inevitable. The Master will, therefore, have to present to the Surveyor his stability calculations for checking and approval based upon the data in the vessel’s grain book which will have been approved by the Government of the nation whose flag the vessel flies.  Among other things the vessel’s grain book will state how many holds can be part loaded (“slack”).  As this number is usually limited to only one hold, great care has to be taken in calculating exactly how much cargo the vessel can take and remain in a stable safe condition.