Many goods are capable of carriage on deck and exposure to the elements, perhaps the most notable and obvious being containers, and bulky heavy objects.
Container ships and timber carrying vessels are in fact, specially constructed to load considerable quantities of cargo on their main, weather decks.
Deck cargo must be generally loaded, stowed and carried with extreme care.
Not only must the carrying vessel’s stability be carefully calculated along with its metacentric height, but lashings should be strong enough to withstand severe weather and sea conditions; adequate access provision must be made for crew movement about the ship; the cargo protected from the sun; and where necessary, weights spread carefully over deck and hatch covers and not concentrated over a point of potential weakness.
Deck cargo is usually carried at charterer’s/shipper’s risk and expense, a typical charter-party clause covering the carriage of deck cargo being:
“Deck cargo to be loaded, stowed, secured, carried and discharged under Master’s supervision but at Charterer’s risk and expense, to obtain maximum deck load consistent with good practice in the trade”.