Since the inception of merchant ships, bulk carrier is one type of ship that has been used extensively for transporting cargo across oceans. With the passage of time, bulk carriers have been improvised to enhance both the cargo carrying capacity and safety of the cargo and crew.
However, several maritime accidents in the past have involved bulk carrier ships mainly because of the failure of ship’s structure which resulted from deterioration of ship’s hull, corrosion, fatigue, effects of cargo, water ingress etc.
Therefore, in order to safe guard from these factors, bulk carrier ships are now added in the enhanced survey program (ESP) along with oil tanker ships. In this article, we mention about twelve points that help in improving the overall safety of the ship.
Following are 12 steps taken on bulk carrier ships to enhance the safety standards
1. Reinforcing the corrugated transverse bulkhead: Reinforcing the corrugated transverse bulkhead installed between No.1 and No.2 cargo holds and the double bottom of No. 1 hold. This ensures water tight integrity to be maintained at all time even when side hold or bottom is damaged
2. Water Ingress Alarm: Checking and maintaining an active water ingress alarm in the cargo hold as per SOLAS requirement at all times. Also check and maintain water ingress alarm in area located at the forward of the cargo area
3. Hull Survey: A complete hull survey of bulk carriers as per IACS condition to maintain the strength of the ship’s hull
4. Avoiding Deck Wetness: Increasing the Integrity of fore-deck fittings on bulk carriers to avoid the problem of deck wetness i.e. flowing of water on ship’s deck due to rough weather, also known as green water loading
5. Fitting Bulwark: Fitting of suitable bulwark in the fore part of the ship as per the requirement to avoid green water condition
6. Reinforcing Hatch Cover: Reinforce the hatch cover which is located at the forward of the ship within 0.25L, where L is length of the ship
7. Maintain Water Tightness: Maintaining water tightness of all the hatch covers to avoid water ingress
8. Double Skin Side Shell Frame: Side shell frame to be double skin ensuring extra safety in case of structural damage
9. Cargo Hatch Cover Alarm: Installing Alarm for opening and closing of hatch cover for additional safety
10. Anti Corrosion Paint: A good anti corrosive coating on the ship’s structure to avoid damage due to corrosion
11. Free Fall Life Boat: A free fall life boat is now a requirement in all bulk carrier ships. All crew must know the emergency evacuation procedure from free fall life boat