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Webinar: Live Q&A - A Master's Guide to Container Securing

3 February 2021

Capt. Yves Vandenborn, Director of Loss Prevention and Capt. Kirk McGregor, Senior Surveyor at Standard Club, were joined by Seb Brindley, Lead Specialist at Lloyd's Register, and William Leschaeve, Senior Naval Architect at Brookes Bell, to discuss the topic and answer audience questions with regards to container securing.

As part of the Standard Club Loss Prevention department’s continuing commitment to safety at sea, a number of ‘Master’s Guides’ have been produced in recent years. The Master's Guides focus on delivering best practice advice on key areas of vessel operations to avert avoidable claims and prevent accidents, casualties and incidents at sea. The third and most recent guide to be updated is 'A Master's Guide to Container Securing'. This new guide revises the advice on applying extra lashings to realign the publication with current standards and includes additional advice on design roll angle and the container securing arrangement, periodic checks of lashings, and avoidance of overtightening lashings.

During this session the reviewers of this guide, plus guest industry experts, raised key issues and discussed best practice with regards to container securing and take audience questions/queries on the contents of the guide. 


  • Capt Kirk McGregor, Senior Surveyor at Standard Club
  • Capt Yves Vandenborn, Director of Loss Prevention at Standard Club
  • Seb Brindley, Lead Specialist at Lloyd's Register
  • William Leschaeve, Senior Naval Architect at Brookes Bell


Watch here. Recorded on Wednesday 20 January, 2021 at 9am GMT. 


When do you replace lashing gear?
Any damaged or wasted lashing gear should be replaced. Regular inspections of the loose and fixed fittings will indicate when the items need to be replaced.

Is a lashing programme possible for open top ships? Suppliers said it was too difficult to make lashing programme for open top.
Open top container carriers are not standard and hence a specific solution would be needed. LR's container securing Rules are flexible enough to accommodate this type of configuration. Please ask your software supplier to contact us.

Guidance notes are good, but what do I HAVE to do? 
There are two sources of requirements:
1) Statutory requirements
2) Classification requirements
With regard to cargo securing and operation, the most important statutory document on board is the CSM. This should be updated to reflect any changes onboard the vessel. Critical information regarding the fitting types and their maintenance must be recorded in this document.
Classification society requirements mainly focus on the assessment of the containers onboard the vessel. This is a complicated assessment and there are key assumptions in its calculation. Generally, container securing software onboard the vessel and the CSA uses these calculations.

What are the assumptions made for determining the suitability of a stack? What is the background of the stack assessments in the onboard software?
There are two main assumptions in the container securing assessment:
1) The vessel motions predicted for the voyage
2) The containers, lashing, twistlocks are all working effectively
Based on these two assumptions the stack assessment will determine the accelerations the containers will experience and then determine the load distribution to each component of the stack.

How are the Willected vessel motions defined?
Classification societies define the core vessel motions (roll, pitch, heave, sway, surge, and yaw) based on the properties of the vessel (L, B, T, GM etc). However, when looking at on-deck containers, roll and wind load are the dominant factors which are also easily understood by the Master. Knowing these values will support the Master in making good decisions when operating the vessel.

How does route specific operation tie in? What is the vessel’s responsibility? What can be done on weather routeing?
Route specific operation was developed considering that it is not always a winter North Atlantic storm. This permits flexibility in operation, however it also increases complexity. The Master needs to ensure that the conditions implemented for relaxation is applicable for the voyage.

What is PSC looking for these days?
PSC are looking for statutory compliance, for cargo securing it focus on compliance with the CSM. If there are any doubts on the container stack arrangements, please contact your classification society who can support with the assessment of the safety of the stacks.

CSC Plate states that only 192t allowable stack weight can be loaded. Why do the rules/onboard software permit larger stack weights?
The 192t on the CSC Plate is based on a vertical acceleration of 1.8g and is used to determine the SWL of the corner post. Providing the loading will remain within the SWL of the corner posts for the predicted vessel motions, the stack arrangement can be permitted.

In what circumstances does class need to be notified?
Class will need to be notified if any of the loose or fixed fittings are replaced. Class will need to be notified if the vessel requires to operate with different container types or change the stack arrangements. Following an incident class will need to be notified if there is damage to the vessel.

Global warming – increased frequency of detrimental weather?
Vessel motion is typically determined based on IACS Rec 34 standard wave data. This is deemed valid for the current representation of the ocean loads. Weather buoys, although only positioned in certain locations, are currently collecting data which can be used for revising the ocean wave energy spectrum.

There are common structural rules (CSR) for tankers and bulkers. From the classification society perspective, do you think that by having a similar CSR for container ships will assist in resolving several issues, particularly as the ship size keeps getting bigger? If so, what is holding IACS back in rolling out such unified rules?
The harmonisation of container ship requirements covered longitudinal strength only. IACS has no plans for further harmonisation at present.

To what extent is the container stowage arrangement reviewed by the class society when approving the Cargo Securing Manual?
For LR, where the stacks are determined using LR's Rules, the stacks in the CSA are reviewed for compliance against LR’s container securing requirements. Both in hold and on-deck container stacks are checked.

Is the provision (and use) of lashing software mandatory?
The provision and use of lashing software is not a statutory requirement.
For the 2021 Rules, LR has requested for appraised container securing software to be onboard container vessels.

What was the rule Seb referred to in the live webinar re ship's masters and seamanship, to reduce the effect of forces acting on the lashing equipment?
For LR's this is in the Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Ships Pt3, Ch14, Sec1.

What are some of the practical steps the ship staff can take prior departure to ensure the ship is ready for a voyage?
See Chapter 3 of the guide.

Are ship masters at risk of company pressure when refusing to sail or reducing speed due to bad weather?
Ships Master are always under pressure commercially to maintain schedules and ETA's. The fact remains that if bad weather is encounter reducing speed, avoiding beam seas, and proceeding with caution is solely their responsibility.

Might you have guidance on the proper securing of cargo on flat racks?
Numerous resources on the internet from container lines, and CTU code.

Regarding VGM, what is the legal tolerance for weights? Even with VGM declared, there are still significant differences in weights.
The regulation assume that the Verified Gross Mass is 100% correct but most states allow between 2 to 5 %. In the UK it is +/_ 5% or +/_ 500kg whichever is greater. Read this new alert on our website.

Have there been any circulars from class societies or P&I clubs detailing countries that are flouting VGM?
MAIB casualty report into the EVER SMART 36.4 % were outside the tolerance limit of 5%.

With the high-speed turnaround of container ships in port, how can crew ensure that lashing equipment has been properly secured?
A quick turnaround in port may be necessitate the provision for extra crew on board. All bays loaded and/or restowed must be checked to confirm that they are properly secured prior to departing port.

How to ensure proper maintenance of the lashing equipment is done?
It is a requirement that maintenance of lashing equipment be recorded. There should be a process in place on board for performing checks, inspection, and maintenance. This can be achieved by a well-trained and observant crew, for example segregating defective lashing equipment when sighted as part of their cargo watch duties, or whilst performing a tally of lashing equipment.

How tight should lashings be?
Turnbuckles and bottlescrew should be tightened by us of the approved spanner or if there is a hand wheel then by hand. No extension bars should be used to provide extra leverage, and this will induce excessive loads.

How often do you need to check lashings?
Lashings should be checked prior to departure, daily at sea and prior to encounter adverse weather. Section 10 Page 38 of the Guide, linked on the right.

カテゴリー: Loss Prevention

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