Part #2: Who is responsible for the costs of over-lashing?

By Will van 't Hek

Dear all, thank you for your comments, all of them. After reading them very carefully, I found out that some people think there is no such thing as under- or over- lashing. One cannot exist without the other. The question would be how to define these words?

Under-lashing seems quite easy to me, at first thought. If the cargo is not 100% lashed it is called under-lashing (not sufficient lashing). At least that was what I thought. But if the cargo is lashed 100%, one could say that it is okay. All set to go for a safe voyage. But if one chain is a little bit slack, we reach below the 100%, so initially saying that 100% is justified and safe could be argued here.

I inferred from some comments that lashing & securing calculations already have some safety build in. I fully agree with this.

In many calculations, additional safety has been taken into account, by taking the accelerations from Annex13, a safety factor from Break Lload to Maximum Securing Load of 50% (Chains) and an additional safety factor of 1.35 (or 1.5) for the capacity of each chain. (20ts BL – becomes 10ts MSL – becomes 7.41ts for each chain).

So again, is 100% safe? In my opinion it is. One could request for an additional 10-15% safety by increasing the amount of chains or stoppers. All relevant parties should agree this up front. Relevant means those who can have influence on it. This could mean cargo owners, shipping lines, insurance companies and if applicable a MWS.

So if all parties agree on the 110%-115% being sufficient for the project, the quotes of the shipping lines will be based on this information. Normally you have a long-term relationship between parties involved so you know what to expect from each other, but sometimes this is not the case.

Now the term over-lashing, too much lashing, or extreme lashing. I heard them all passing by over the years. I think it should be called over-lashing if you exceed the agreed safety percentage.

So if you exceed the 110%-115%, it should be called over-lashing. Is this a problem?
No, but it depends on how much you exceed. If you want one or two additional chains, no one will argue about this. But sometimes, someone requests so much additional lashings that could be shared “Extreme lashing”, one could ask yourself the question: Why?

“Offshore Xmas trees are often lashed to the max” I read, because the receiver or the owner of the Xmas trees insists on this up front. Maybe it is their company policy to lash all cargo 200%. So, this is where they agreed upon and the shipping line issues a price based on this requirement. But this is not called over-lashing. This is simply agreed upfront. Again, no problem.

Also, the phrase “Master decides….” Is a common heard phrase. At some point, you are right. He has a final saying in lashing & securing before getting out to sea. But if a proper plan was prepared, all calculations were presented and followed, why should he doubt that.

He can argue bad weather is coming, but all calculated acceleration forces are already calculated on these bad weathers. The considered acceleration forces are always higher than the real values. He can always add chains if he wants, these expenses are never relayed to anyone else but the shipping line.

Some load-outs are lashed without the knowledge if it is sufficient or not.
If i.e. 20 chains are applied (because of the rule of thumb), people think it is sufficient. In my humble opinion this is unbelievable. If the Master inspects it and adds another 20 chains, one still cannot say whether it is safe or not, simply because no one calculated it.

Some comments were about “One should forget about theoretical calculations…”. I do not understand this at all. Calculations are the basis!

One can be more intelligent than the other, but all can be learned. If you can calculate it, you have grounds to argue. It is also nice to argue, because you know where and what you talk about. When you found another person who also knows what he is talking about, you have a cup of coffee within the next 15 minutes because you speak the same language.

Comments about the CSS Annex 13 are well made, but if we would lash with only the CSS Annex 13 at hand, I think we would have a problem. Many of us use stoppers (brackets) to stop the cargo for sliding (shear) or for tipping (clips) but IMO does not recognize these. Hopefully some amendments will be made in that direction as we use these stoppers for many years now.

Now the question, which I stated from the beginning: 
Who is going to pay the extra costs for over-lashing?

If the cargo is lashed according plan, no additional costs have been made.
No one will argue for a few extra chains. If this is lashed according plan of 125-150% lashing, it is still not over-lashing because they agreed about it and the revenue for transporting this piece (lashing, spacing etc.), in this way is all in the price. Still no additional expenses are made and no extra lay-time for the vessel. But when surveyors request additional lashing and securing, and they can prove that their calculations are correct, it can be discussed. If he is right, means that all the people who started this project did not know what they are doing, or additional information came into daylight what was not known before.

Honestly speaking, many companies know exactly what they are doing. Insurance companies have capable people who can verify calculations very well. All the additional expenses would get back to the cargo owners/insurance/freight forwarders, depending on their agreement with each other.

But if one requests more lashing and securing than needed and he cannot prove anything, why would anybody pay for it other than himself. However, I would never agree blindly to add more and more, regardless who is paying for it.

“More chains do not automatically mean more safety”
Firstly, the basis of the mentioned issues is knowledge, knowledge about this kind of work. It is not always easy to determine what you need and how you should use your knowledge, but all in all it is workable, it is not rocket-science. Some topics are easy to learn, some need more training, education or practice but it all starts with knowledge.

How far do you need to go in all this “calculations”, one asked?
We are often requested to act as an expert witness in Court and I found these court cases all very educational. Details and knowledge are eminent to each case. Therefore, I always ask myself: If my case would be in court I think you must be able to defend yourself. At least for the technical part you have been assigned for in the first place.

Now, let’s say there are three options:

1. An experienced surveyor in the heavy-lift and project cargo business
2. An experienced surveyor, but not in the heavy-lift and project cargo business
3. An unexperienced surveyor in the heavy-lift and project cargo business

I challenge you to note down a percentage behind each option, based on their business share.

Option 1:
He can easily defend himself in court, prove and substantiate the calculations he made. He will have a good night sleep afterwards.

Option 2:
If something goes wrong and questions arise, this surveyor can’t really substantiate his actions. He will seek help and they will try to build case to defend the actions he did. In today’s world, many pictures are taken and videos are recorded and I feel you can never have enough pictures or video material.

Option 3:
If something goes wrong and this surveyor has to go to court, what will happen?
They will blame him and he has very little chance to defend himself. But in the end, someone appointed him to do a good job, probably preferably cheap.

Is there any reason to invest in people or in yourself to gain particular knowledge?
I think there are enough grounds to do.

Who wants to invest in training?
Remarks would come, why train them, if they leave someone else will have the benefit from it. They very well know the answer: What if we don’t train them, and they stay…

Will van ‘t Hek 
Executive Director at and 

Lashing calculationsLashing & securing


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