Jan 112010

image Both Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority, AMSA, and the United States Coast Guard, USCG, are turning their attention to safe cargo stowage in coming months. AMSA is to launch a ‘focussed inspection campaign’ fro February through April while the USCG is appealing for public comments on cargo securing methods for packages in transport vehicles or freight containers.

Says AMSA in Marine Notice 2/2010 :”The purpose of this notice is to advise members of the maritime industry engaged in the loading and securing of cargo containers in Australian ports of AMSA’s intention to conduct a three month Focused Inspection Campaign (FIC) between 1 February to 30 April 2010.

”AMSA will conduct the FIC on all vessels to which the Navigation Act 1912 (the Navigation Act) applies.

”The FIC will primarily concentrate on container securing equipment; both fixed and portable. The equipment inspected will include such things as twist locks, lashing bars and wires, along with the lashing anchor and securing points, etc.

”AMSAs intention is to ensure that Masters fulfil their obligations under Regulation 5 to Chapter VI of SOLAS relating to the safe stowage and securing of cargo. This also includes securing arrangements on vessels of less that 500GT.

”AMSA surveyors will normally conduct the FIC in conjunction with a port/flag State control inspection.”

Meanwhile the US Coast Guard seeks comments from the public on methods for securing cargo in transport vehicles and freight containers in order to determine if a standardized approval or certification process or improved performance criteria for flexible strapping securing systems is needed.

Under current US regulations and international codes, there is no certification or qualification standard for blocking, bracing, or for the use of strapping systems for securing cargo. Cargo must be secured to prevent shifting in any direction during transport. Packages of hazardous materials must be braced and dunnaged within a container so that they are not likely to be pierced or crushed and the materials
must be in proper condition for transportation. Currently, the specific method for securing cargo is left to the discretion of the individual or company packing the
container. The Coast Guard is considering whether there is a need for a standardized certification or approval process for cargo securing systems.

Comments and related material must either be submitted to the USCG online docket at http://www.regulations.gov or the Docket Management Facility, US
Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

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