Gard issues advice on container lashing safety

Container lashing onboard a huge vessel. Credit: Danny Cornelissen

Norwegian insurance provider Gard has issued advisory concerning container lashing practices, warning that over-tightening container lashing equipment is just as dangerous as under-tightening.

The loss of containers at sea is a problem for the industry that can, in part, be attributed to human error during lashing arrangement. One factor that influences adequate container lashing is tightness. In a recent newsletter, Gard issued the recommendation that lashings should be spanner tight, because slack lashings on container bays are not desirable due to the safety risk that loose containers present.

However, Gard also highlighted that over-tightening can result in the lashing rods coming under excessive strain, which can increase the pre-tension by a few tonnes, leading to their failure when under load.

Tightening equipment was also a focus of the advisory, with Gard recommending that crew should not apply excessive force or use tools to increase the mechanical advantage on the lever that allows them to over-tighten the lashings. As such, Gard advises that stevedores and crew should only spanner tight the lashings, keeping in mind the following factors when lashing containers:

·        The lashings should be evenly tightened

·         Locking/check nuts should be locked to prevent the turnbuckles becoming slack

·         Lashings should be of an approved type

·         There should be no visible damages

·         Securing should be in accordance with the Cargo Securing Manual (CSM)

In the newsletter, Gard also called for caution statements, highlighting this to be included in the CSM which should be prepared in accordance with the guidelines in MSC.1/Circ.1353/Rev.1, Ch.4. Furthermore, they strongly recommended that the lashing software used onboard is integrated with the loading stability software.