Emergency responses, contingency plans discussed at port, industry meeting

by Canadian Shipper

LONDON, UK–The International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA) held the 71st meeting of its ISP Technical Panel at the Port of Malaga, Spain from 11-12 February 2014. 

The meeting brought together experts and key players from across the supply chain to discuss technical and safety developments in the cargo handling, ports and shipping industries.

Presentations were given throughout the two-day event by speakers from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Lloyds Register, Noatum, the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) and ETS Consulting.

Kimihiko Endou, Director of the Engineering Administration Office at MLIT, updated delegates on recent work to develop new port response policies for major earthquake and tsunami incidents in the wake of Japan’s 2011 disaster. He also discussed the recent formation by MLIT of a new Committee on Large Container Ship Safety following the sinking of the MOL Comfort last year, as well as current investigation work into incidents of mooring rope failures in Japanese ports.

David Tozer, Business Manager Container Ships for Lloyds Register (LR), reviewed the ship classification process with specific focus on rules and calculations for container stowage. Tozer outlined new LR rules recently introduced for safe container stowage on-board following 6 years of research. “Our primary focus has been to create rule formations that better represent the motions of the latest generations of container ships,” he noted. 

He also reminded delegates that from 1 January 2015, MSC.1 Circular 1352, amending IMO’s Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code), will become mandatory. This will usher in new requirements for lashing and securing arrangements on container ships, affecting both new and existing vessels. Among other changes for new vessels, wider lashing bridges will be required and ship length will need to increase “with no consequential increase in carrying capacity.”

ICHCA plans a series of educational activities during 2014 to raise awareness of the new stowage rules and more broadly to discuss current safety and operational risks both on-board and at the ship-shore interface as a result of poor container securing practices, including inadequate maintenance of lashing and twistlock gear.

On a related topic, Bill Brassington of ETS Consulting spoke about recent research into container corner casting failures, particularly incidents of ‘cruciform’ casting deformations, which appear to be caused by container handling practices in ports during ship loading and unloading.

On environmental matters, Francisco Blanquer of Spanish terminal operator Noatum discussed the company’s recent development of an LNG-powered terminal tractor and general research into terminal energy efficiency as part of the EU-sponsored GreenCranes project.

A joint working session, held by ICHCA, PEMA and the TT Club, also provided a forum for industry experts to discuss critical safety issues in ports. The session included a talk on collision prevention in terminals by Laurence Jones, Deputy Chair of ICHCA and Stephan Stiehler, Chair of PEMA’s Safety Committee. The three organisations are now working to develop a new best practice document outlining new technologies available to help reduce collisions in ports, and operational processes to avoid man-machine, machine-machine and machine-container collisions.

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