Timber

Seaborne carriage of timber and forest products encompasses hardwood and softwood logs; sawn lumber; wooden products (such as railway sleepers); by-products (such as plywood); pulpwood, wood-pulp and wood-chips; and paper products, each in its way demanding specialized handling in sophisticated ships. Most timber cargoes are limited to volume, however, in that ships’ cargo compartments will be filled before deadweight capacity is attained. Consequently, where practicable, timber is carried on deck as well as in holds, ships being specially built with this feature in mind. Legislation on such deck-carried cargo is extremely strict, though, and is clearly laid-out in IMO’s Deck Cargo Regulations as framed by the International Conference on Load-Lines, 1966, on which certain national laws have been based. General considerations when carrying timber on deck encompass stability of the vessel; security of the cargo (ie: avoidance of its shifting at sea); excess weight on deck and/or hatchcovers; safe movement of crew around the vessel; and visibility from the navigation bridge. Ships built for such a trade should moreover be fully equipped with padeyes; chains; wires; pearlinks; turnbuckles and stanchions. These stanchions may be permanent; collapsible steel stanchions; or wooden stanchions; which are the Owners responsibility to provide. The deck stow should not exceed a height above the deck equivalent to one third of the ship’s overall beam, and the heights of stanchions and crane pedestals may affect the quantity of cargo a ship can carry in this way. The secure and proper stowage of deck timber has the effect of increasing a vessel’s freeboard and, because of this, timber carriers may be measured and allotted lumber loadlines in addition to the usual loadlines, these being painted in at midships and permitting somewhat deeper loading.