Heavylift Tip – Barges

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Barge Sea-Fastening
Mind the GAP

In a previous Heavy-lift Tip, we considered the problems that can arise when using lashings aboard an un-manned barge. A solution to those problems is to use welded sea-fastenings instead. However care must still be taken when using this sea-fastening method. It is always prudent to check for wrong or unsuitable welded sea-fastenings before any barge is cleared to sail.

While an engineered solution may be shown to have sufficient capacity to restrain the cargo, it’s only as useful as the paper it’s written on if it’s not installed correctly. It may seem an extremely obvious point to raise but experience within the industry has shown that without close supervision by a suitably informed professional who understands the requirements of the job and has the authority to correct any problems, critical issues can occur.

Some examples which we have previously caught include:
• Weld seams on the cargo, not considered in the design, in contact with stoppers increasing the resulting moment past the allowable limit.
• Heavy stoppers being pushed close to the cargo without actually coming into contact (or only making contact on one corner)
• Stoppers being applied to crated cargo, while the load in the crate was not secure
• Repositioning sea-fastenings to a weaker part of the deck without a subsequent design check, as the deck was not clear in way of the strong underdeck structure
• Older drawing revisions being supplied to the installation team on site

It is imperative to understand that any of the above issues could cause failure in the sea-fastenings during transportation and potentially result in cargo loss. To ensure a successful transportation aboard a barge, we always recommend that a qualified engineer who understands the sea-fastening design attends on site throughout the sea-fastening installation activities. This way they can continuously inspect the ongoing works and identify any issues before time and effort is wasted in remedial work, ensuring barge departs at the planned sailing time.

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