We know that the main purpose of most types of ships is to carry cargo or passengers from one place to another. Of course there are other special-purpose vessels such as research ships or icebreakers but in this article we will concentrate on cargo carrying ships only. Please note that when I use the word cargo in context of this article, it refers to any type of cargo carrying ship such as bulkers, tankers, reefers, OBOs and so forth.
Cargo Ship Plans
Even an average sized ship can carry thousands of tons of cargo, and this cargo cannot be simply dumped on board the vessel in a haphazard manner but needs to be stowed in an orderly fashion. This is necessary due to several reasons such as the following:.
Ship Stability: The safety of the ship’s crew as well as the ship itself is of foremost importance as unplanned stowage of cargo could lead to the ship capsizing on being unstable in the rough seas. This is certainly to be avoided at all costs and there are some basic rules to be followed depending on the type of cargo. For example in case of solid cargo such as containers it is important to store heavy objects towards the bottom while the lighter ones on top just as you would do when stowing luggage on top of your car. Similarly in case of liquid cargoes it should be ensured that the cargo is compartmentalized in such a manner so as to reduce or minimize the free surface effect of the cargo which could lead to instability during the voyage. For example just see the picture of a small ship which was overloaded and what happened to it. Of course this just shows a small ship which is near the harbour but just image the case it this were to happen in the open sea
Structural Safety: Apart from stability, another factor to be kept in mind for safety reasons is to remain within the prescribed working loads for the ship structure parts such as the decks and so forth. Care should be taken not to exceed the load density of the decks.
1. Safety Codes: There are safety codes available for all types of dangerous cargoes such as chemicals and gases and these rules have been laid down by classification societies and/or regulatory bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation. These codes must be adhered to under all conditions so as to ensure safety of the ship staff who handles such cargoes.
Economy: since the main purpose of the ship is to maximize profit for the owners and operators, it can be achieved by carrying or transporting the maximum amount of cargo in a single voyage. Hence a proper cargo plan ensures that the available cargo space is utilized to the maximum possible efficiency. Of course this is subject the previously described norms of safety and one cannot overload a ship for maximizing profit while it jeopardizes the safety of the ship, staff and the very cargo it is carrying.
Intermixing: when more than one type of cargo is being carried, it is quite possible that some or all of these cargoes may not be compatible with each other in the sense that they could either get damaged on getting in contact with each other, or could produce some unwanted chemical reactions and so forth.
Safety Nuggets (For Persons)
Alarm Instruction/Escape Route Plan:
This is posted in all cabins. For your own safety we recommend that you read this carefully as it tells you what to do in an emergency situation and indicates the escape routes from your cabin to the assembly/rescue stations.
It is forbidden to stay on the car deck during the crossing. All doors will be locked. The car deck is under continuous camera surveillance from the bridge and the control room.
The ship is divided into fire zones so that any outbreak of fire can be easily contained. Openings in the bulkheads between fire zones are fitted with fire doors. Under normal conditions the doors will generally remain open. The doors can be shut by remote control from the bridge or each door may be shut by a means of a switch or push button adjacent to the door, marked «Fire door release». The crew will shut the doors. Some doors are hinged; others are sliding doors. All fire doors can be opened manually to allow you passage. The doors will close again automatically. A sign on or next to the door will show you how to open it. The car deck is isolated from the rest of the ship as a separate fire zone.
To prevent the ship from listing heavily or from sinking if badly damaged in a collision or grounding, the ship is divided into a number of watertight compartments below the main car deck. These compartments also serve as fire zones. Watertight doors are fitted in the bulkheads between the compartments. Most of these doors are in restricted areas where only the ship’s crew has access. The doors can be opened and shut locally or from a number of locations on board. When closing or opening the doors, a loud bell will sound to warn everybody to mind the doors when they are in motion.
To prevent the ship from capsizing or listing heavily if the car deck becomes flooded due to damage to the hull, the car deck has also been divided into watertight compartments. The ship has either sliding partition walls dividing the car deck (closed when at sea), or watertight compartments on both sides of the car deck. Some ships have a combination of both.
All interior fittings (panelling, ceilings, doors, staircases etc.) are non-inflammable. Soft furnishings (carpets, curtains, upholstery, mattresses etc.) are made of fire-retardant materials.
Fire Alarm Call Points/Warning:
Manual call points are installed at strategic points all over the ship. Should you see smoke from what you think could be a fire, press the nearest call-point button or warn the crew. The call point consists of a button inside a small red box marked BRANN/FIRE.
The ship is equipped with an advanced automatic fire detection system. Automatic smoke detection devices are installed in all rooms on the ship including cabins, corridors, public rooms, store rooms, linen rooms, car deck and engine room. These are monitored from the bridge and the engine control room. The detectors will be activated by just a small amount of smoke and the exact location of the smoke will be indicated on the fire alarm central panel.
Members of the crew are organised into fire-fighting teams with specific tasks and duties when a fire alarm is sounded. Each member of a fire-fighting team is specially trained in using a self-contained breathing apparatus (smoke diver) enabling them to operate in dense smoke.
There are several fully equipped fire stations on board. In an emergency these will be manned by specially trained fire-fighting crew. Fire posts and hoses are located at frequent intervals on all decks throughout the ship and connected to the fire main and the pump system. A large number of portable extinguishers are located in all corridors and public rooms as well as on the car deck and in the engine room.
A sprinkler system is installed on all car decks and connected to a separate fire pump. The engine rooms and the galley area are protected by either Halon or CO2 extinguishing systems.
A fire/security patrol in radio contact with the bridge is on duty at all times. This patrol covers the entire ship and its position is registered and monitored by computer.
The car deck, engine room, other technical rooms and watertight doors (in the bow) are under camera surveillance.
The officers and crew are trained to extinguish all types of fire on board. Emergency drills, including training in evacuating/guiding passengers out of the danger area to assembly stations, are held regularly.
There are at least five fully equipped fire stations on board containing fire-fighting equipment, tools, breathing apparatus and communication equipment.
In an emergency situation appointed members of the crew will search through the entire ship to ensure that everybody has been evacuated from cabins, shops, public rooms etc. in the danger area.
If you encounter dense smoke from a fire, hold a wet cloth/towel over your mouth and nose. Crawl along the floor as smokes rises so there will be less smoke near the floor.
Assembly stations are the locations where passengers must gather in an emergency or when the order has been given to go to the assembly stations. These are situated on the upper deck close to the rescue stations. When the alarm signal sounds (7 short and one long tone) or the crew gives the order, you must immediately go to the nearest assembly station. The ship’s crew will inform you of the situation and how to proceed.
The emergency exits are marked with «Emergency Exit» signs and lead to the rescue stations. Note the location of the emergency signs wherever you are on board.
Lifejackets are placed in boxes or lockers marked «Lifejackets» at or near the rescue stations. The lifejackets are to be put on when you are ordered to do so. The ship’s crew will assist you. Lifejackets for children are also available at the rescue stations. They will be handed out by the crew.
In an emergency situation the ship’s crew will lead the passengers to the rescue stations where lifeboats, life rafts etc. are situated. The officer in charge will lead the operation at the rescue stations. Nobody is allowed to enter the lifeboats, liferafts etc. until the order to board the rescue crafts/abandon ship has been given.
Lifeboats and liferafts are located on the «Boat deck» (evacuation deck). The capacity of the lifeboats and liferafts on board is 25% more than the total number of persons allowed on board.
Inspection And Maintenance:
All fire-fighting, safety and lifesaving equipment is regularly inspected and maintained in accordance with a computer maintenance program.
The Norwegian Ship Control Authority also tests and inspects this equipment once a year, and every three months the officers’ and crew’s ability to carry out fire-fighting and evacuation procedures is tested through comprehensive drills.
All officers and crew are required to participate in weekly emergency drills. They are instructed and trained in all aspects of fire fighting, damage control, crowd management, passenger evacuation, communications, lifesaving and use of all safety equipment. Once a month a major rescue drill is held, where all safety equipment is tested and lifeboats and liferafts are manned and launched. The fire-fighting crew and smoke divers are trained under realistic conditions at the Fire Brigade training facility on shore. The officers and most of the crew are also thoroughly trained in first-aid treatment.
Color Line’s special environmental policy commits the company to finding ways to reduce pollution of the environment. We use fuel oil with low sulphur content. We sort all waste for delivery ashore for recycling. We ask our passengers to refrain from throwing any waste overboard and to put it in a waste container so we can deliver it ashore.
Smoking in bed is strictly forbidden. Exercise great care when smoking and only extinguish cigarettes in ashtrays.
The ship has non-smoking zones. Please show consideration to non-smokers and refrain from smoking in the non-smoking zones.
In an alarm situation all lifts will normally be shut down. Stairways must be used. Handicapped persons will receive special assistance from the crew.
Causing malicious damage to any safety equipment is prohibited by law. Compensation will be demanded for any damaged equipment and the offence will be reported to the police.