Purpose and general use of Seagoing bulk carriers
Operation of sea going bulk carriers involved numerous hazards . Careful planning and exercising due caution for all critical shipboard matters are important . This site is a quick reference to international shipping community with guidance and information on the loading and discharging of various bulk cargo types and is to remain within the limitations as specified by the classification society. The guide outlines precautions to be taken before accepting bulk cargoes for shipment, sets out procedures for safe loading and carriage and spells out the primary hazards associated with different types of cargoes.
It is vital to reduce the likelihood of over-stressing the ship's structure and also complying with all essential safety measures for a safe passage at sea. Our detail pages contain various bulk carrier related topics that might be useful for people working on board and those who working ashore in the terminal.
In a statement, the UK P&I Club noted that when bulk cargoes shift, liquefy, catch fire or explode as a result of poor loading procedure, the consequences can be massive. Ships may capsize, lose stability or sustain severe structural damage. A quick checklist and handy information would help the officers and agents to lessen the risk of death and injury due to a poor loading procedure, it added.
General features of seagoing bulk carriers
Bulk carriers are single-deck vessels, designed with top-side tanks and hopper side tanks in cargo spaces and are intended primarily to carry single-commodity solid bulk cargo.
Solid bulk cargo means any material, other than liquid or gas , consisting of a combination of particles , granules or any larger piece of material, generally uniform in composition, which is loaded directly into the cargo spaces of a ship without any immediate form of containment. Example of
such dry cargo are grain, sugar and ores in bulk.
Fig : A Bulk carrier on sea passage
In its broadest sense, the term bulk carrier embraces all ships designed primarily for the carriage of solid or liquid cargo
in bulk form, and so would include tankers. In ordinary usage, however, the term is normally used for those vessels designed for the transport
of solid bulk cargos, typically grain and similar agricultural products, and mineral products like coal, ore, stone, etc., on one or more voyage
General features of bulk carriers are:
- Carrying capacity varying from 3,000 tonnes to
- average speed of 12 ~ 15 knots
- single deck ships, ie no tweendecks
- small to medium sized bulk carriers (carrying
capacity up to 40,000 tonnes) generally have
cargo handling gear fitted, while larger vessels
use shore based facilities for loading and
- the cargo holds are usually large, without any
obstructions, with larger hatch sizes to allow easy
loading/unloading of cargoes
- most bulk carriers have one cargo hold dedicated
as a ballast hold. This can be used on ballast
voyages for improved stability. One or two further
holds may be permitted for partially ballasting but
only in port
- they have hydraulic, single pull or stacking (piggy-
back) type steel hatch covers
- these ships usually have four types of ballast
sloping topside wing tanks
sloping bottom side wing tanks
double bottom tanks
fore peak and after peak ballast water tank.
The first reference source for the carriage of bulk cargo should be the
International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC), issued by
IMO. It was revised and reissued in 2009. It is a requirement that a
copy of the Code should be onboard a bulk carrier, and the revised
Code is mandatory under SOLAS from 1 January 2011.
Other reference publications
- Thomas Stowage: The Properties of Stowage of Cargoes
- IMDG Code + Supplement to the Code
- MARPOL 73/78 and amendments
- IMO Resolution A.868 (20) – “Guidelines for Preventing
the Introduction of Unwanted Aquatic Organisms and
Pathogens from Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediment Discharged”
- Ship’s “Cargo Securing Manual” (Approved by Class)
- SOLAS 1974 and amendments
- Guide to Port Entry
For any remarks please
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"A bulk carrier which is intended primarily to carry dry cargo
in bulk, including such types as ore carriers and
- Care of cargo during loading- Trimming pours
- Classification of various dry bulk commodities