Basic Stability for Small Vessels

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The Club provides insurance solutions for many types of vessels and operations, each one having their own unique stability requirements. Over the years we have dealt with a number of claims involving general cargo vessels and container ships with inadequate stability being allowed to undertake voyage.

There have also been a large number of similar incidents involving flat top barges, loaded with break bulk, containers, scrap metal or combinations of all three, whereby the lack of sufficient stability was overlooked until external factors were at play, such as heavy sea conditions, a sharp alteration of course or the pushing of an assisting tug.

Prompted by these claims and changes in industry regulations, the Club has updated its popular guidance booklet ‘Basic Stability for Small Vessels’. The booklet explains the fundamentals of stability an area frequently misunderstood by those on board.

The booklet covers:

  • Stability requirements
  • Basic principles of stablity
  • How to overcome the errors in calculations

The new edition takes into account the amendments to SOLAS Chapter VI regarding container gross mass verifications which came into force on the 1 July 2016. This new addition to SOLAS requires the verification of the gross mass of every container prior to loading. The responsibility for providing this verified gross mass (VGM) lies with the shipper and the VGM needs to be documented as part of the shipping documents. The container should not be loaded onto a vessel to which this regulation applies unless the Master or his representative has this information to hand in the form of a shipping document. In the event that the VGM is not available the Master, his representative or the terminal may obtain the VGM on behalf of the shipper by weighing at the local facilities.

To assist further on this subject the Club has created a helpful infographic to answer any questions you may have on the new amendments including why they have been implemented, what vessels they apply to and what qualifies as ‘verified gross mass’. View our SOLAS amendments infographic.

This publication is primarily aimed at Members with, and crews for, dry cargo vessels and barges.