Practical guide on how to carry heavy-lift and project cargo safely at sea



The UK P&I Club has joined forces with leading marine cargo insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) to publish new practical guidance for shipowners and operators on how to carry heavy-lift and project cargo safely at sea.

The guide describes the characteristics of typical heavy-lift and project cargo and includes details of relevant regulations and codes, a review of vessel types and suitability, recommended loading and discharge procedures, detailed stowage and securing advice, and requirements for voyage planning, reporting and record keeping.Pitfalls highlighted include the use of inherently unsuitable bulk carriers; loading a ship such that it rolls too slowly or too quickly and overloads the cargo fastenings; mixing "hard" fastenings such as stoppers with "soft" fastenings such as lashings to resist the same force; and failing to ensure that heavy items in containers are properly secured.

Why is it important?

The costs involved in project cargo damages or loss can be very large, often running into tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars. The risks involved can be largely mitigated with careful planning and attention, before the cargo is received for shipment. In more difficult financial times, the pressure to reduce costs is very high and since the cost of shipment is essentially an overhead, there is a natural desire to reduce the shipping costs as far as possible.

The use of unsuitable vessels for the cargo, poor quality or inadequate securing and dunnage, poorly trained crew and a lack of detailed planning can all lead to damage to or loss of the cargo.

The consequence of this will involve a claim against the cargo and / or liability insurance and potentially for the delays to the project (e.g. delay in start up). With many other parties involved and the consequential costs high, these claims are often complicated and may result in lengthy and costly litigation.

Key points

Project cargoes require special attention during loading and transportation. Specialist knowledge and experience in the shipment of such cargoes is required to fully plan and engineer a safe project cargo shipment. All operations need to be carefully managed with agreed responsibilities, risk assessments and toolbox talks.

Vessel types and suitability

Project cargoes typically require specialised vessels with sufficient deck space, heavy-lift capability, 'tween-decks' and 'wall-sided' holds. Multi-purpose or heavy-lift vessels are best suited. Bulk carriers are not suited to this task and this has resulted in large cargo damage claims.



● The successful transport of project cargoes requires good teamwork

● The responsibilities of each party should be defined and agreed (shipper / charterer / vessel owner / receiver / contractors)

● A proper transport manual or method statement should be prepared and agreed by all parties

● A marine warranty surveyor (MWS) may be involved, on behalf of cargo insurers.

Cargo condition

● The cargo must be adequately packed and protected for its voyage to protect it from damage during sea transport

● Cargoes shipped inside containers should be properly packed (stuffed), with appropriate shoring and internal securing

● The cargo should be inspected at loading and any damage recorded and noted

● The cargo must have adequate number and strength lifting and securing points.

Cargo footprint and stowage location

● Project cargoes are often high volume, but relatively low deadweight

● The 'footprint' of the cargo is often large and does not allow 'over-stow'

● The positioning of the cargo and its sea-fastenings must be considered in relation to the strength of the deck, lashing locations and securing points, any adjacent cargo holds or bunker tanks and the requirements for protection from the sea / elements.


Further details may be found by reading the Guidance (please click at image below)


[Total: 1]