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Cargo Hold Cleaning Process

The ship’s holds must be thoroughly cleaned before loading the new cargo as a precautionary measure. For example, chrome ore renders manganese ore useless; even small amounts of sugar might impact succeeding cement shipments.

As mentioned in the voyage instructions/charter agreement, the cleanliness criteria of the shipper and charterer are important.

As part of their voyage instructions or orders, shippers and charterers might indicate how clean they want their holds or the cleaning regimen they want to use.

Also included in the charter agreement is the mention of one of a variety of industry standards for cleanliness, such as:

1. Stack Them One On Top Of The Other

A grab discharge may allow the next shipment to be “loaded on top” of the residual cargo residues remaining in the holds if the charterers are okay with this arrangement while carrying the same cargo on subsequent voyages. A comprehensive assessment of the hold steelwork for damage will be hindered by the presence of cargo residue in the holds, even if loading on top would save time and effort.

Therefore, there should be an effort to transfer the residues to one side in order to check the hold structures. After a few cargoes, it may still be necessary to clean the holds to avoid the staining of the paintwork (for example, by coal) or the hardening of residues (e.g., cement) that will make the cleaning operation more difficult the longer they are left.

2. Remove All Of The Dirt And Debris

To remove the dirt on the cargo, a bulldozer, wheel loader, bobcat, and shovels are often used, and many tons of goods may remain in each hold, necessitating the crew to remove and dispose of these leftovers after they are gone. Due to the need to follow MARPOL Annex V, however, large amounts of cargo residues can no longer be dumped overboard.

However, this process can be a lot eaiser with Robotic Cargo Hold cleaning.

3. Normal Cleaning

In the event that the charterer or the charter party does not specify any particular criteria, it is suggested that the following actions be taken:

  • Removing cargo residues;
  • Scrubbing the holds twice
  • Holds should be fully dried after a seawater and fresh water wash down.

Typical bulk cargoes needing standard cleaning holds include:

  • coal
  • bauxite
  • iron ore
  • salt
  • petrochemicals

4. Grain Cleaning

Holds must be completely dry and free of any smells or pests. They also can’t have any traces of the previous cargo or stains that could be transferred.This is the most needed quality of cleanliness.

Cargoes such as cement, fertilizer, grain, and mineral concentrates are all examples of bulk cargoes that need clean holds. Visit to learn how to automate this cleaning process.

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