?Transporting bulk goods by vessel is clearly the most cost-efficient way of moving cargoes. However, is that enough for a company transporting the product? How safe are the goods being transported? What tools are used to ensure the safety of bulk cargoes?

The process of loading cargoes onto vessels is fraught with difficulties.

Spiro Malliaroudakis, Managing Director of S.A. Malliaroudakis Maritime (UK) Ltd., explains that the loading/unloading operation of a vessel is particularly crucial for the safety — not only for the cargo but also for the ship herself.

The company S.A. Malliaroudakis Maritime (UK) Ltd., has developed a range of automation and software products for the shipping industry, including:

* Multiload for Windows loading programme;

* steel coils loading software;

* ship's squat/under keel clearances/ speed loss at restricted waters & static condition from dynamic draughts/tide calculations software;

* deflection & DWT gain/loss software;

* draught survey software;

* draught survey online software;

* noon reporter software;

* SMM — voyage performance software;

* electronic deadweight scale software;

* maximum cargo intake software;

* cargo split and auto trim software ;

* vessel floating position software;

* multiload advanced cargo securing software;

* 24hr ship emergency response service;

* SMM bunkers & daily bunkers survey software;

* oil record book software

* EU MRV/IMO DCS reporting software;

* compliance with new Panama Canal moorings/towing requirements;

* SMM ship evaluation service;

* multitask ship management software;

* SMM crew rest hours software;

* Echoes — web-based management system;

* stability & strength manuals; and

* manuals-studies-services & plans as per Solas/ TMSA 3/ISM/MARPOL/IACS/ port state control requirements & ship management consultancy.

Spiro Malliaroudakis is therefore in a strong position when advising about the benefits of a loading system that protects both the ship and the cargo.

He explains that, contrary to the general belief, the strength of a vessel is, in ratio, much thinner than the shell of an egg. The thickness of plate is about 22mm, while length is about 220 metres and breadth about 19 metres. Therefore, taking into account the regular occurrences of challenging weather conditions under which ships must operate — as well as the operational restrictions of ports (e.g. draught restrictions) — then proper loading/unloading operations are of utmost importance.

When a vessel is at port, a certain loading/unloading sequence should be followed, not necessarily from aft to forward. For example, a 170m-long vessel is loading only from the aft and forward, it is very likely to suffer damage before even leaving the harbour.

S.A. Malliaroudakis Maritime’s Multiload© for Windows is a programme that pre-calculates the loading of a ship, ensuring the maximum allowable cargo intake in correlation with International Conventions and Regulations in terms of stability and strength. This product is customized to the specific aspects of the vessel, and adjusts loading to the potential port restrictions of several port calls worldwide.

Multiload for Windows covers all ship types amongst bulk carriers, tanker ships, general cargo vessels, container ships, vessels with dangerous cargoes, LPG, LNG, Ro-Ro, passenger vessels, motorships from 2,000dwt to 500,000dwt, etc.

The superiority of ‘Multiload for Windows’ is attributed to its simplicity and to its easy-to-use philosophy,. The software was designed by naval architects & marine engineers oriented to mariners.

The programme is based on simple questions on every screen, and the only thing that is needed is to input the cargo details (i.e. stowage factor, type) as well as possible restrictions (i.e. port draught restrictions, transit from Panama Canal (maximum allowable draught is 12.04m (tropical fresh water) and maximum allowable breadth is 32.20m), therefore avoiding considerable delays.

In particular, the parameters that are taken into account are distinguished into operational and technical ones. To begin with, ‘load line’ is defined and the allowable strength limits in harbor and at sea are calculated. Then, any check concerning port draught restriction is carried out, based on which the maximum DWT of the vessel is calculated. Besides the loading operation, it is possible to assess the F.O./D.O. quantities required for the several stages of a voyage, along with time and bunkering call, depending on the miles covered and consumption figures.

In terms of the technical parameters, says Spiro Malliaroudakis, “the shipowner is not well aware in full depth of all the vessel’s capabilities and technical aspects, as being mentioned analytically in the Loading Manual and Trim & Stability Booklet.”

During development of ‘Multiload for Windows’, the Naval Architects and Marine Engineers of the company, insert all the info included in these Manuals along with additional documentation for a flawless ship-specific onboard and office use.

Operational flexibility

The concept of operational flexibility is linked closely to the vessel’s technical aspects, along with the loading instrument that assist in the improvement of her flexibility capability. As Spiro Malliaroudakis notes, a vessel is commonly analysed purely based on her DWT. However, often it might be proved more beneficial for a vessel to carry cargo with certain cargo holds empty and some fully loaded, — especially in the case of heavy cargo, as the loading/unloading operation of such distributed cargo is more efficient.

An equally important parameter is the local strength, which commonly differs from one point to another. For instance, in some vessels, the plate is thinner locally, while somewhere else, the plate is found to be thicker.

It is therefore sensible that a vessel should be chosen according to numerous parameters, which can drastically affect operational flexibility. The contribution of advanced tools such as ‘Multiload’ to the maximization of operational capability cannot be overstated, as it has software that incorporates and calculates easily and simply all the essential parameters.

Source: Dry Cargo International