Stevedores are dock workers who assist the ship’s crew in loading and unloading of cargo when the container ship is at port.
Cargo operation on container ships requires specialized knowledge and skills to operate loading equipment and proper techniques for lifting and stowing cargo. Stevedores are sent on board ships to ensure proper lashing and securing of cargo containers.
However, the cargo operation on container ships involves several complexities and thus proper planning should be done to prepare a container ship for loading such cargo. It is the responsibility of the ship to prevent any kind of injuries to stevedores and to eliminate potential danger from the working environment.
Careful consideration must be taken for planning cargo containers stowage in order to minimize the risks and to increase the level of safety.
The ship’s crew involved in cargo operation must be aware of all important points for safe container lashing.
Before the cargo operation begins, the chief officer must inspect working areas and cargo handling equipment to ensure safety of ship’s personnel and stevedores. The results of the inspection are noted in the deck log book.
Working areas must be checked for any slippery matter and obstructions. They must also be structurally sound and well lit before the cargo operation begins and stevedores come on board ship.
Before the cargo operation starts, the chief officer would request the responsible stevedoring person to sign the “Stevedore Accident Notice Request Form”.
Ship’s crew members must also help in eliminating potential dangers in the working environment by informing the duty officer on noticing any kind of obstruction or oil, grease, or other slippery material on the working floor.
The duty officer must take continuous rounds to monitor the cargo handling operation and to warn stevedores against potential dangers. He should also check if the lashing is properly done to ensure safety of the cargo containers when the ship is at the sea.
If the duty officers finds out about any unsafe working method undertaken by the stevedores, he should ask the responsible stevedoring person to sign a statement for carrying out such unsafe practices. The duty officer must also take all steps possible to prevent injury to personnel and also stay prepared for any kind of unfortunate incident.
Once the cargo handling procedure is complete, the chief officer of the ship would prepare a “Stevedore no injury” report and have the responsible stevedoring person sign the same.
Kindly note that the above mentioned points are not exhaustive in nature and every step possible must be taken to prevent injury to stevedores working on ships.
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Raunek Kantharia is a marine engineer turned maritime writer and entrepreneur. After a brief stint at the sea, he founded Marine Insight in 2010. Apart from managing Marine Insight, he also writes for a number of maritime magazines and websites.