Every day thousands of ships dot the world’s oceans and seas, making the intercontinental journeys thanks to which Europeans can use Asian produce, Americans can but African goods, and vice versa. But what goes on on these cargo carriers?
Once a ship is docked, emptied and refuelled, it’s ready to be stocked up again. Most cargo ships transport goods all bundled up in large metal containers. These are easy to stack using cranes. The containers also safeguard whatever is in them from the elements.
Loading the ship is a major operation that requires a lot of attention to detail so as not to cause any breakages or accidents.
Once the cargo has been loaded, the ship can set sail to its faraway destination. Big crews are involved in controlling the vessel, and maintaining safety onboard. Technical advances mean a ship can travel on “auto-pilot” in clear seas, but does need someone to steer it through congested areas, and choppy seas.
Staff on a cargo ship have many responsibilities. Their work varies a lot from that of their counterparts on cruise liners. On container carriers there are no customers to serve.
There always has to be someone awake onboard a ship to be on the lookout for potential dangers, and avert any crises. This means crew sleeping patterns tend to be quite irregular.
During the day staff take care of the ship’s general maintenance. This can involve washing the deck, painting, removing rust, tightening ropes, greasing equipment, and other essential odd jobs.
Overall responsibility over the ship, its cargo, staff, and safety lies with the Captain. He must be aware of any rules and regulations affecting the ship, and be very knowledgeable in navigation. As the chief member of staff he has to deal with a lot of paperwork from health and safety forms to tax and duty claims.
Crew members have been known to complain of the loneliness you feel at sea. Ships can go for days without passing other traffic en route. Even when they do, no communication is exchanged. So it’s not uncommon for lifelong friendships to form among individuals onboard who spend so much time together at sea with Markey Machinery.
Accidents onboard are quite commonplace while at sea. With so much heavy equipment and machinery it’s all to easy for something to malfunction. A ship’s deck can get particularly hazardous in stormy weather.
Common accidents include falls, cuts, and grazes. Tragic incidents can occur if any containers start falling about.
Fires are also very dangerous due to the close proximity of fuel. Unfortunately, these are most often caused by cigarette ends, and electrical faults.
Cargo carrier crew members have to familiarise themselves with a whole host of technical equipment that plays its part in shipping. They have to be aware of the functions of ballast tanks, foremasts, mooring winches, windlasses, bow thrusters and many, many other complex technical devices.
Load bank rental is an industry that depends largely on shipping. Load banks are used for power system testing. This is very important to avoid equipment malfunctions resulting in fires.
Containers also come in different shapes and sizes. Crew members have to know if the particular type is suitable to be transported on the ship. Some types of goods might also not be appropriate.
Harvey McEwan writes to offer information and advice on a variety of areas, from load bank rental to technology to holiday destinations. View Harvey’s other articles to find out more.