Carriage of deck cargo at sea


Carriage of deck cargo at sea -General cargo ships guideline 

Unless the contract contained

-in the bill of lading,

-charter party or

-sea waybill expressly provides

cargoes stated in the contract of carriage as being carried on deck(which are, in fact, stowed on deck) will not be protected by the Hague-Visby Rules.

Various  Types of Deck cargo
-Timber deck cargo
– Containers
– Vehicles
– Livestock
– Dangerous goods
– Heavy lifts & locomotives
– Industrial boilers & heavy machineries.

A shipper of deck cargo must make a separate contract with the carrier. The carrier, not being bound by any special rules covering deck cargo, is then free to insert in his “on deck” bill of lading any exceptions from liability he wishes. This generally means that the deck cargo will be carried on deck “at shipper’s risk”, i.e. without liability to the carrier for any loss or damage, however caused.

Where goods are, with the shipper’s agreement, stowed on deck, the carrier (or the master or agent on his behalf) should issue a bill of lading expressly recording the fact that the goods are carried on deck (e.g. by a “STOWED ON DECK” endorsement on the face of the bill) so that there is no doubt as to the special risks of the carriage.

Cargo which is carried on deck without being expressly stated as such in the bill of lading or waybill will be subject to the Rules, as will cargo which is stated as being carried on deck but which is, in fact, carried below deck.
Causes of Loss of deck cargo:-
– severe adverse weather condition
– Failure to comply with guidelines, rules & recommendations
– In sufficient / inadequate lashing
– failure of securing material
– Improper stowage of deck cargo

Stowage of deck cargo
1. Excessive loading on deck has to be avoided having regards to the strength of the deck & integrated supporting structure of the ship.
2. Vessel has to retain adequate stability at all stages of voyage.
3. Water tight Integrity of the ship should not be impaired ( Sounding pipes, Air pipes, & ventilators protected ) by such loading.
4. Height of deck cargo should not impair the Navigational look-out visibility.
5. Deck cargoes shall not interfere with normal working & maintenance of the ship.