Heavylift Tip – Barges

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“Check me! I’m ‘Tense’!”
Issues with lashing cargo on barges

Barges are a fundamental part of today’s marine transport solutions and, at Malin Abram, we are occasionally asked why we always advise using welded sea-fastenings for securing cargo on barges. After all, lashing cargo using chains, wire or webbing straps is common practice especially on ships, so why do we take issue with it on barges?

Good seamanship practice dictates that a ship’s crew examine the lashings periodically and re-tension where lashings have become slack (this is typically a daily inspection). However, barges that are towed are usually un-manned and can be extremely unsafe for tug crews to board at sea. Therefore, it is not practical or safe to carry out regular checks on lashings aboard a barge.

Under tension, some lashing materials will start to stretch slightly and with cyclic loading will continue to stretch if left un-checked and not re-tensioned.

Vessel vibrations can also cause tensioning devices to loosen and allow lashings to become slack.

As a result, there is always significant risk that during a barge voyage, issues can arise with the lashings that cannot be identified and rectified, putting the cargo at risk.

Failure to correctly secure the cargo can lead to damage, or even total loss. To eliminate the chance of cargo being compromised whilst at sea, speak with a specialist who can determine the forces the cargo will be subjected to on a barge and who understands the safest sea-fastening method for a successful barge transport.

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