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London P&I Club presents practical advice on holds and hatches to enhance seafarer safety and reduce cargo claims

Recognising that around a third of all cargo claims and a significant number of seafarer accidents are connected with the use and operation of holds and hatches, The London P&I Club has, today, launched comprehensive guidance to help seafarers and ship operators protect themselves further.

A common-sense booklet generously illustrated with practical examples of best practice is being offered to all Club members and is particularly aimed at fleet superintendents and serving mariners of all ranks.

Safe operating procedures for all types of hatch covers is given with the specific aim of preventing injuries. The new guidance contains a wealth of illustrated practical advice that clearly demonstrates how seafarers should behave when working in cargo holds and around hatches. Advice includes not working alone, checking toxicity levels, ensuring ladders and other access arrangements are secure, and precautions to take when fumigating.

A range of cargo damage examples are given to show how poor-performing hatches can negatively impact on the cargo itself and, ultimately, increase the likelihood of a claim. Relevant inspections and tests are also detailed alongside advice on routine maintenance and repair work.

Carl Durow, Loss Prevention Manager at The London P&I Club said:

“The guide aims to be immediately accessible, readable and understandable for the majority of serving seafarers. Safety of seafarers is one of the principal issues it focuses on. Aligned with that, we also want to help our members reduce claims associated with damaged cargoes due to poor performing holds and hatch covers. We will be making this guide available to all our members and we will encourage them to ensure copies are sent to each of their vessels.”

A copy of The London P&I Club guide to holds and hatch covers can be downloaded from here.