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14
Nov
2023

Case Study: Overcoming Challenges in Cargo Hold Cleaning

by Calista Nicks November 14th, 2023 in Cargo Hold Cleaning
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Cargo hold cleaning presents many challenges. For one, there must be enough personnel and equipment to do the job. There must be enough time allotted to complete it. It’s also imperative that cargo holds are cleaned to the expected standard.

Charterers sent a panamax bulk carrier to load barley in a Black Sea port. Upon arrival, the holds needed to be in grain-clean condition: “Compartments are to be completely clean, dry, odour-free, and gas-free. All loose scale is to be removed.” 

However, the ability of the crew to adequately perform the required cargo hold cleaning was limited due to poor weather conditions. Additionally, the ship’s last 4 cargoes had been various coal products.

Petcoke and coal are notorious stainers as well as being potentially corrosive when wet. Our RBM HoldBlock helps protect the hold from these effects and RBM Holdwash is ideal for removing coal residue. But if holds are not cleaned after every (or every 2nd) load, stains take longer to remove.

Ultimately, the crew did not have enough time to clean the holds to a grain-ready standard. Preliminary inspections were failed due to residues from previous cargos still being present.

The holds were cleaned again by shore cleaning gangs but the surveyor failed them a second time, for residue, plus loose scale. This crew did not have the personnel, the equipment, nor the solutions to do the job properly. 

The ship was sent to another port. After another failure and the efforts of another shore cleaning gang, the ship passed (despite staining evidence still on the hold bulkheads) and was able to take on cargo a full two weeks after it had initially set out.

The end result was a claim for ~$400 000; a costly consequence.

It behoves chartering parties to understand what is involved in effective cargo hold cleaning. They can then ensure the requirements for success are provided: time, training, quality solutions and equipment.



RBM Hold Solutions’ environmentally-friendly cleaning & barrier formulations are easy for the Owner/Operator to apply when preparing their ships to handle dry bulk cargo. Please do not hesitate to contact RBM HoldSolutions® should you have any questions.


Calista Nicks

Senior Content Writer
Marketing Writer for Cityline Websites


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