Guidance on ensuring the weathertight integrity of hatch covers

Shipowners’ Club, in collaboration with McAusland Turner, has published advice on effective hatch cover maintenance for dry cargo ships, including preventative action against ingress of water.

One of the key requirements in cargo vessel operations is ensuring that the cargo is delivered to the discharge port in the same condition in which it was loaded. Despite improvements in the methods for ensuring that hatch covers are weathertight, Shipowners” Club observed that members continued to experience claims for wetted cargo that has resulted from water ingress through hatch covers.

The Club noted that, in order to ensure that hatch covers were closed sufficiently it was vital that the correct procedures were followed every time the hatches were closed and opened.

It was noted that, occasionally, charterers or shippers might request that additional measures be taken to seal the hatch covers, regardless of their condition. “Such request should always be treated with caution as temporary sealing measures such as Ram-Nek tape, expandable foam or tarpaulin (if not part of the vessel’s certified design) often imply that there is an underlying defect with the hatch cover securing arrangement.”