139 - 05/00 - Container Securing Equipment Problems

The recent successful launch of the Club's latest video "Container Matters" has highlighted the fact that container losses are all too common and that many could be eliminated by diligent checking and verification of the proper lashing methods as contained in each ship's Cargo Securing Manual.

The Club Inspectors quite frequently see evidence of improper securing of containers.  It is important that the master and officers are aware of their duties and responsibilities in this regard.  In the attached photographs are two of the most common errors.


On this particular ship the locking device at the base of the stow on deck is supposed to be a fixed cone with a large right angled pin which goes through the corner casting. The cone and pin are then is rotated 90 degrees effecting the locking mechanism.  Instead of this the stevedores have used two broken twistlocks that have had their levers sheared off. The photograph shows clearly that the twistlocks  are unlocked. As a result the containers are not locked to the deck. The only positive securing of the container stow is the lashing rods and turnbuckles that are secured to the second tier.

Two lessons here: remove broken or damaged twistlocks from the cargo area immediately they are noticed. Secondly, ensure that the stevedores are instructed on the type of securing device to be used. The duty Mate should be checking that they follow the correct securing methods as required by the ship’s Cargo Securing Manual.


Here we have another fairly common problem. Two different twistlocks are in use.  This vessel should only use RH (right hand) locking twistlocks.  Instead there are both RH and a LH locking twistlocks in the same stow.  This can cause all sorts of problems.  In a recent case a ship was discharging in Rotterdam and the stevedores had prepared the stow for discharge, removing the lashings and unlocking - as they thought - all the twistlocks.  When discharge started one of the containers still had one corner locked on and as the port container crane lifted the loaded container it was momentarily held fast and then released suddenly.  The container swung heavily and knocked into the mixed outboard stow of 40 foot and 20 foot containers  with sufficient force to cause eight (8) containers to topple into the dock like dominoes.  Fortunately most of the containers were empty but a loaded twenty footer narrowly missed the bunker barge that was on the starboard side at the time.

This problem of having mixed twistlocks should be checked for on a regular basis

If any are sighted they should be marked and highlighted for removal from the ship.

Remember the Cargo Securing Manual is quite specific as to what equipment is to be used.  It is the Master who is held responsible for ensuring the checking of the equipment and verification that only approved equipment is in use on board.  Masters should therefore ensure that the officers delegated to carry out this important task are fully aware of the contents of the Cargo Securing Manual and conduct their duty with due diligence.

Source of Information : 

Capt D Wright (Ship Inspection Dept)

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