Macgregor

Most vessels are fitted with steel hatchcovers of what is known as ‘Macgregor type‘ Macgregor’s being an organisation which pioneered and patented hatchcover designs in the period following World War II, and which still plays an important role in the design of cargo-handling equipment. These hatches open and close with a concertina like action but other types are also commonly encountered. Some will roll either to the end of the hatch or on large bulk carriers to the side where they provide some protection for personnel working on the deck during loading or discharging operations. Some ships have piggy-back hatches where the covers stack on top of one another and for container ships, pontoon hatches, which are lifted on and off using similar fitting as found on the containers, are most commonly used. Most hatchcovers are opened and closed by electric or hydraulic power and some by winches and chains. They are relatively labour-free but, like derricks and cranes, are subject to stringent testing by Classification Societies to ensure that they remain safe and watertight. Cargo damage by moisture may well be found to result from water ingress through hatchcovers and, as with cargo-handling equipment, Charter Party clauses usually stipulate that Owners will maintain hatchcovers in efficient, watertight condition. Depending upon the design of the vessel, tweendecks and cargo holds may be served by one or more hatchways. In the case of the Freedom Cargo Hold/Tweendeck No.1 can be seen to be served by Hatchway No.1, whereas Cargo Hold/Tweendeck No.2 is served by Hatchways 2 and 3, Hatchway No.2 located above the forward part of the cargo hold/tweendeck and Hatchway No.3 located above the after part. A similar pattern will be observed over Holds 3 and 4. The Charter Party description of a Freedom Mk I should therefore contain the expression ‘4 holds/6 hatches’, whereas an SD14 would be described as having ‘5 holds/5 hatches’.