In the summer of 1996 we were made aware of problems in Brownsville Texas in respect of poor lashing of steel coils (see Loss Prevention News Issue 7)
Steel Coils ex US Gulf
We have received reports of completely unsatisfactory procedures being employed in US Gulf ports in relation to the lashing and securing of steel coil cargoes. One report referred to the use of unskilled labour using simple hand tools to try to tension and secure the steel banding which is used for lashing and securing the coils.
As was noted in the report, it is essential for such procedures to be undertaken by skilled, competent labour using proper, purpose designed, pneumatic tools. The compressor fed tools will tension the bands a good ten times more effectively than hand tensioning.
The attending surveyor said the hand tensioned steel banding "felt like rubber bands". With unit weights approaching 20 tonnes it should be obvious that the consequences of coils coming adrift at sea are potentially disastrous.
We understand this port is now using the SIGNODE USLM system and that no accidents have been reported since the system was introduced.
Unfortunately the steel coils (which are produced in Mexico) are now not shipped out of Brownsville but out of Tampico Mexico. The same problems seen in Brownsville last year are now being reported in Tampico. Wrong bands, wrong seals with hand tensioning and sealing, and only one seal with one crimp per lashing. As winter is approaching problems are anticipated.
If you have any pre loading steel surveys in Tampico we would recommend close attention be paid to lashings. Further information/advice can be obtained through our steel expert Arthur Sparks.
Source of information - Arthur Sparks - Sparks & Company (Maritime Consultants) Limited, London