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Containership operation: Opening closing hatch covers

Hatch cover operations are frequently carried out on board container ships but due care is necessary to prevent damage by incorrect operation. Most cellular container vessels have lift on / lift off type hatch covers and these are operated by shore cranes. 
Before opening hatch covers, it must be ensured that all securing including Hatch cleats, Jumping stoppers, King bolts etc are cleared and that no obstructions are present. 
Before placing hatch covers back, it must be ensured that no obstructions in the form of loose gear, damaged plating etc are present and coamings are clear. Cargo watch personnel must be present on site when opening/closing hatch covers to ensure above.

Vessels operation manual or manufacturers instructions must be consulted for information on correct stowage of hatch covers. There may be procedures, restrictions or limitations for stowing hatch covers one on top of the other and these must be correctly followed.

After closing hatch covers, they must be secured with Hatch cleats, Jumping stoppers, King bolts or applicable devices to prevent movement at sea. 

On some vessels where a container spans Across Two Hatch covers, special care is required as such containers are subject to high stresses due to motion of the hatch covers in a seaway.

These hatch covers shall be particularly well secured and any special arrangements (like Different Base Twist Locks etc) complied with in order to prevent damage to containers. 

Source:1.ShipsBusiness
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