Container Load Weighing Becomes Mandatory

By George Backwell
Monday, May 26, 2014
Image courtesy of DMA

The IMO has approved international regulations ensuring the weighing of containers before their carriage by sea informs the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) . The provisions will increase safety, contribute to preventing accidents and prevent loss of containers over board.

The DMA considers it a milestone that the IMO has now approved international SOLAS regulations. The regulations ensure that a container is not loaded without its weight having been verified in accordance with specific regulations and without the shipper having informed the ship and the loading terminal about this.

The weight of containers is of importance to safety, explains the DMA, as incorrect information may cause container stacks to collaps, containers to fall over board and, as the worst case scenario, ship accidents due to overloading of ships. This was illustrated recently when the container ship MOL COMFORT broke in two. Despite several attempts, it was not possible to recover the parts of the hull, which sank whereby several thousand containers were lost. The marine investigation report specifically points out that the accident occurred due to overload.

At the same time, container ships are getting larger and larger. Therefore, it is of great importance to the ship’s stability and hull integrity that exact weight data are available about the cargo.

It is possible to determine the correct weight of a container in two ways. Either by weighing the loaded container at an approved weighing station, or by ensuring that the individual elements in the container are weighed and added to the container’s own weight.

It is expected that the new regulations will be adopted at the session of the Maritime Safety Committee to be held in the autumn of 2014.
 

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