New Rule to Verify Gross Mass of a Container Enters into Force

photo of container vessel heavy listing during cargo operation
Photo of Containers Stacked in Port.
Around 170 million containers are transported each year through ship to bring vital commodities and consumer goods to billion people around the world.

In response to the number of  reported incidents that involves loss of containers and container ships, last 2011, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) began to develop measures to prevent the loss of containers and some alike incidents. They aim to develop further measures complementing existing provisions aimed at safe operation and the stability of ships, including the safe packing, handling and transport of containers.

The new amendments on SOLAS regulation VI/2, requires the gross mass of a packed container to be verified before being loaded onto ship, enters into force this July 1, 2016. There are already existing requirements under SOLAS to declare the gross mass of cargo and containers since 2014, but the new requirement specify the need of requiring verification of the mass.

There are two methods allowed by the SOLAS regulation to verify the gross mass of packed containers:
  1. Getting the total weigh of the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or
  2. Getting the weigh of all cargo items and packages, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material that will be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the certified authority of the State where the packing of container was completed.
MSC Container Vessel conducting Loading Operation on Port
Container Vessel docked on Port for Loading Operation.
photo credits to gettyimages
This will ensure that millions of containers carried on ships each year are properly stowed, thereby preventing problems like improper stowage of container that could lead to collapsed container stacks thus damaging the cargo or worse making the ship list or even sinking.

The shipper must provide a shipping document that verifies gross mass of each packed container. The document signed by the shipper or his representative must be submitted to the master or his representative, and to the terminal representative, in a reasonable time before the ship draw its stowage plan. If not, the terminal and/or the master can refuse to load the containers.

Everybody should watch out as last May, according to Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) on MSC.1/Circ.1548 advice the Administrations and port State control authorities to adopt a practical and pragmatic approach when verifying compliance during the first three months of the new requirement, with specifying conditions to containers packed loaded before 1 July 2016 without document verifying gross mass information.
(source)
photo header credits to fotodebarco.org
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Seaman Republic: New Rule to Verify Gross Mass of a Container Enters into Force
New Rule to Verify Gross Mass of a Container Enters into Force
New amendment on SOLAS regulation VI/2 requires the verification of the gross mass of a packed container before being loaded on ship to improve safety
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Seaman Republic
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