Correct stow? How do we know?
Following the YM Efficiency disaster, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a notice to remind vessel owners, operators and masters of the need to stow and secure cargo containers in accordance with approved arrangements.
AMSA should also acknowledge that safe stowing and securing of containers cannot occur unless ship planners are provided with accurate, validated information about containers’ weights.
This information is essential to prevent incidents like those AMSA alludes to ‘in recent years in which… loaded containers were carried in slots only intended for empty units… [and] the weight of some loaded containers exceeded the maximum weight for containers permitted to be stowed in that slot.’
The notice states that ‘additional focus will be directed towards stowage and securing arrangements during forthcoming port State control (PSC) inspections in Australia’. We hope that part of AMSA's focus in this area will be more thorough auditing to compare actual container weights to their declared Verified Gross Mass.
A 2017 survey by Victorian International Container Terminals revealed significant misreporting: 20% of Australian export containers and more than 40% of import containers varied from their declared weight by 500kg, while more than 8% of exports and 11% of imports varied by a tonne or more.
Misreporting occurs to cut costs and save time, but safety is dangerously compromised as a result. Efficient, affordable and consistent weight management practices across the whole shipping sector are long overdue.
Cindicium's innovative CLAW technology allows users to quickly and easily weigh containers on the ground or back of a truck, and share data remotely. If validated against the decalred weight on the Pre-Receival Advice (PRA), this information will allow ship planners to do their jobs correctly and protect workers, ships and cargo, as well as the environment, by preventing container stack collapse or overboard loss.