General Guidelines

The Merchant Shipping (Deck Cargo) Regulations, set out some

of the general ideas to be followed when securing deck cargoes. The list of requirements provides a realistic base from which to work,

Deck cargo shall be so distributed and stowed:

1) as to avoid excessive loading having regard to the strength of the deck and integral supporting structure of the ship;

2) as to ensure that the ship will retain adequate stability at all stages of the voyage having regard in particular to:

  1. a) the vertical distribution of the deck cargo;
  2. b) wind moments which may normally be expected on the voyage;
    1. c) losses of weight in the ship, including in particular those due to the consumption of fuel and stores; and
    2. d) possible increases of weight of the ship or deck cargo, including in particular those due to the absorption of water and to icing;

    3) as not to impair the weather-tight or watertight integrity of any part of the ship or its fittings or appliances, and as to ensure the proper protection of ventilators and air pipes;

    4) that its height above the deck or any other part of the ship on which it stands will not interfere with the navigation or working of the ship;

    5) that it will not interfere with or obstruct access to the ship’s steering arrangements, including emergency steering arrangements;

    6) that it will not interfere with or obstruct safe and efficient access by the crew to or between their quarters and any machinery space or other part of the ship used in the working of the ship, and will not in particular obstruct any opening giving access to those positions or impede its being readily secured weather-tight.”

  3. Causes of loss Of Deck cargoUnfortunately, despite all the loss prevention guidance available, there is a continuing incidence of the collapse and loss, overboard of deck cargo items.Losses continue of large vehicles, rail cars, cased machinery, steel pipes, structural steelwork, packaged timber, freight containers, hazardous chemicals, boats,  etc.

    When investigated fully, the causes of such losses fall into the following categories, which are not exhaustive


    – Severe adverse weather conditions

    ƒ – lack of appreciation of the various forces involved

    ƒ-  ignorance of the relevant rules and guiding recommendations

    ƒ-  cost limitation (budget constraints)

    ƒ – insufficient time and/or personnel to complete the necessary work before the vessel leaves port


    – dunnage not utilised in an effective manner

    ƒ – inadequate strength, balance and/or number of lashings

    – wire attachment eyes and loops made up wrongly, including incorrect methods of using bulldog grips

    ƒ – lack of strength continuity between the various securing components

    ƒ – taking lashing materials around unprotected sharp edges

    ƒ-  incorrect/unbalanced stowage and inadequate weight distribution

    ƒ – the improper way of lashing done by shore-based labour when required to do the job properly

    ƒ -securing arrangements, both supplied and approved, not fully utilised on  the voyage under consideration.