Carrying Cargoes

Life Aboard a Ship

The major trade of the world is by sea. The merchant vessels generally known as freighters as distinct from passenger ships make the transportation possible from one part of the globe to another.
The type I work on are the kind which carry stuff in bulk like coal, iron ore, grain etc. and hence known as Bulk Carriers. Today I’ll give you a sneak preview of all works and planning that goes behind carrying cargoes, from the time of fixing a cargo to when it is delivered to its rightful owners.
The moment any cargo is fixed the charterers or owners as the case may be ask the vessel how much would it be possible to load, given the fuel, freshwater, unpumpable ballast, constant (unknown weights) and stowage factor(volume occupied by one ton of cargo). All this is calculated and cargo distributed in holds (compartments in the ship where cargo is stowed) in the loading computer to ensure stresses and other parameters are within acceptable limits.
Once the cargo quantity is calculated and sent back to the charterers and voyage confirmed preparations for loading in the holds start, depending on the type of cargo. It basically requires a dry sweeping, and washing by high pressure water jet. I love this high pressure cleaning. It is so efficient and satisfying. If required to clean for high grade cargoes such cleaning is done to a higher standard.
On arrival load port, the holds are inspected by a surveyor who checks if the condition of the holds is acceptable to load the cargo that has been fixed. An initial draft survey is done to ascertain the displacement before loading and another one after completion of loading to arrive at figure of cargo loaded. After this go ahead, the vessel starts to load cargo as per the loading plan that had been prepared with due consideration to the fact that at no stage of loading, the maximum allowable stresses are exceeded. There have been instances when vessels have snapped into two, in port while loading. After the final draft survey, the Master signs the bill of lading, which is a kind of receipt for the cargo loaded and a second original serves as means of identification of the rightful owner of cargo at the discharge port. I love the sight of a fully laden ship, all battened up, ready to move out of the harbor and head for her port of destination to yet again deliver one more time what she has been delivering eversince her inaugural voyage.
On arrival at the discharge port the Master is presented by a Bill of lading or other legally acceptable instrument. Once he is satisfied as to the authenticity of the receiver, the discharge of cargo begins. Here too there are the two draft surveys to ascertain the quantity of cargo discharged. The discharge plan like the loading plan is followed, for the same reasons. Once the cargo is safely delivered to the receiver, the vessel is ready to start her preparation for next loading, the instructions for which would have been received by now.
As a result of the present economic downturn a number of ships had to be laid off due to lack of business. An indication of which was the number of vessels seen at anchorages off Singapore, till a few month ago, which is by far the world’s busiest port. That number has started to decrease, as I noticed during our last call at Singapore. An indication that the world trade is picking up again which is good news for each one of us, I guess.

Humor 360
Once a man was asked to make observations on the effect of breaking legs on a cockroach. He broke one leg, and he shouted “Move” and the roach started limping. He noted the roach starts limping when one leg is broken. He broke the second leg and roach started dragging. He made the observation in his notebook. After a couple of more leg breakings, he wrote the roach starts wobbling. And finally it was the turn of the last remaining leg. He broke it and shouted “Move” but the roach did not respond. After a little thought the man concluded that cockroach gets deaf when all it legs are broken.
I have just been back after just over six months at sea. I plan to be home for some time now as I would be building our home. I sure would blog more frequently now.

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Today I bring you a picture of Mother Nature taken during a long drive not long ago.

First Life 360 - A blog of humor, nature and spirituality I Wish I Had a Home Here

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Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Great post and photo. You have a very interesting blog!!!

Cheers! JJ

Vinay Kiran said...

Its truly a nice picture Govind. This is Vinay and I found you at

We can work together in developing our blogs. Mail id: