Slow down and stay safe in the expedition


The ships themselves may be slowing down in the process, ostensibly to save the planet, but from the shippers who use them to the management that sends them through the ports, all are united to maintain their productivity, despite their more pedestrian crossings.

Those on board are encouraged to dock their ships faster and leave earlier, with pilots in some ports being assessed based on their progress. The stevedoring companies are told that the carriers will go and do their business elsewhere if the dockworkers hang around too much. Where there was once a degree of caution, impatience and urgency are almost becoming behaviors, both on the ship and ashore. The respectable phrase “fastest shipment” has been relegated to a fierce injunction to always be in a hurry.

How many costly accidents can be attributed to this desperate emergency? If the Ever Given captain thought his management would tolerate a weather delay while waiting for the crosswinds in the Suez Canal to subside, could he have delayed his transit? There was this collision case which went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, with knowledgeable and very expensive lawyers arguing over the rule of the road – I wondered if the impatience issue was there. made more relevant. Surely, caution could have suggested that an incoming ship might have kept well clear of a port entrance while another ship was leaving?

Barely a week goes by these days without watching a video showing an entering ship dramatically destroying a multi-million dollar ship loading gantry, in a cascade of crashing beams and booms. . You could argue that speed is key to maintaining steering, or that the tugs were slow to begin with, but I’m just wondering if less haste could have kept that whole metal frame intact. And you might also find it relevant to make a connection with the urgency of getting ships to sea, the time available for stowage and all those containers that ended up being wrecked or in the sea.

There are some very relevant suggestions made recently by the Gard P&I Club to those both afloat and ashore at the car transporter docks, following costly and spectacular incidents where these huge multi-deck ro-ro rolled off. found on their beam ends.

God knows the advice offered is simple and basic and if a master or companion in a less frenetic time had been ordered not to leave the bunk until stability had been calculated, they would have been insulted to do so. tell the evidence of flowering. But the clues are contained in Gard’s opening remarks, pointing out that car carriers today operate against tight schedules and rapid port rotations, with freight planning being done ashore. Is there a need to say more? Will the world end if they slow down a bit?

But what is also lacking in the practices that lead to these unpleasant incidents is any respect or leeway towards those on board the ships, who have to take them to sea. It’s that “heart-wrenching haste” – the cargo is over. – lift the ramp, close the door and let go from front to back.

Gard notes that cargo planning can be a sort of mobile feast – nothing wrong with that, if the ship is notified in a timely manner of changes to the cargo plan, so that stability calculations can be adjusted. It is emphasized that the ship needs more than just weight estimates – accurate weights are essential with a proper stowage plan, not something that follows the ship in an email as it leaves port.

And the P&I Club urges the captain not to leave the berth until the stability calculations are complete. If not, the start should be delayed, although in “real life” you can imagine the screams and threats that can follow such a sensible and natural action. But a little more respect for the ship and a reflection on the possible consequences of the instability would not hurt. Slowing down actually saves lives.

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