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Hatch Covers Explained and How to Safely Work with Them

A cargo storage space of any vessel should be protected well to prevent spoilage and preserve the cargo. A cargo space should also be water and air-tight to conserve cargo for a long time.

If cargo goods contain perishable products, then it is very imperative to protect them against adverse weather conditions and moisture, especially rain.

Failure to do this may lead to spoilage of products and increase the chances of spreading illnesses. This is where hatch covers come in handy to help in such a situation. You can learn more information here.

Factors Contributing to a Leaking Cover

Lack of weather tightness can be attributed to a few causes, which may then be classed into two types. These can be those resulting from normal use of hatch cover systems, like deformation and normal wear of cleating arrangements that might be corrected through extensive overhauls or repairs.

Another type is those resulting from a lack of maintenance. Corrosion of plating because of lack of protection from corrosion, use of gaskets, and inadequate lubrication of the moving parts that don’t comply with manufacturer’s standards.

Hatch Cover Types

There are different forms of hatch covers, which are majorly used on board. The lifting-type hatch cover is normally used on container ships, while the rolling type is used mainly on bulk carriers. Rolling types are divided into side rolling, end rolling, and piggyback & telescopic.

A folding hatch cover is used on cargo ships. But these vary based on the stowage space and the kind of goods being carried.

Another common type is stacking hatch covers. This type is used on ships that have smaller hatch covers. It comprises hydraulically powered lifting cranes whose role is lifting covers longitudinally and stacking them together over or at one end of empty stowage tanks. It is cheaper and mostly used in a barge.

Hatch Cover their Roles

The function and purpose of hatch covers are to avoid ingress of water in cargo after a large opening is cut. A hatch cover is a moveable structure mainly designed to weathertight standards.

Modern design techniques using finite element technology allow for material distribution that leads to thinner or lighter structures.

Construction from a high tensile steel lead to thinner plates being used. For that reason, hatch covers should be dealt with care.

How to Safely Work with a Hatch Cover

Ensuring a hatch cover is well-maintained helps to minimize the cost and number of cargo. As a matter of fact, the main cause of cargo damage claims on a dry cargo ship is normally attributed to a leaking hatch cover.

Leaking happens for various reasons. But the major reason for this is failure to close them well or poor maintenance. This is why it is imperative to ensure safety at sea and the protection of the environment so as to maintain the strength and weather tightness of hatch covers.

The Takeaway!

Seawater damages to goods continue to be the main source of P&I claims and losses. Mostly, this can be prevented through due diligence. In terms of shipping, this encompasses maintenance of hatch covers and the use of good seamanship during an inspection.

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