What is meaning of Block Hold Loading and part Loaded Conditions on Bulk carriers?

Block hold loading and part-loaded conditions are terms used in the context of bulk carriers, which are specialized ships designed to transport bulk cargoes such as grain, coal, ore, and other dry commodities.

Block hold loading refers to a loading method in which cargo is loaded in a way that creates a solid block of cargo in the cargo hold. This is achieved by loading the cargo in a uniform manner from the bottom of the hold to the hatch coaming level, without any void spaces. The block hold loading method is preferred for certain types of cargoes, such as grain and other commodities that need to be kept stable during transportation.

Part-loaded conditions, on the other hand, refer to the loading of cargo in a way that leaves void spaces within the cargo hold. This can occur when the cargo is not uniformly distributed or when there is not enough cargo to create a solid block within the hold. Part-loaded conditions can affect the stability and strength of the ship, and can potentially cause cargo shift and other safety issues.

Block Hold Loading and Part Loaded Conditions

A block hold loading condition refers to the stowage of cargo in a block of two or more adjoining cargo holds with the cargo holds adjacent to the block of loaded cargo holds empty.

In many cases, block hold loading is adopted when the ship is partly loaded. Part loaded and block hold loading conditions are not usually described in the ship’s loading manual unless they are specially requested to be considered in the design of the ship.

When adopting a part loaded condition, to avoid over-stressing of the hull structure, careful consideration needs to be given to the amount of cargo carried in each cargo hold and the anticipated sailing draught.

When a ship is partly loaded, the cargo transported is less than the full cargo carrying capacity of the ship. Hence, the sailing draught of the ship is likely to be less than its maximum design draught.

The weight of cargo in each hold must be adequately supported by the buoyancy upthrust acting on the bottom shell. A reduction in the ship’s draught causes a reduction in the buoyancy upthrust on the bottom shell to counteract the downward force exerted by the cargo in the hold. Therefore,when a ship is partly loaded with a reduced draught, it may be necessary to reduce the amount of cargo carried in any hold.

To enable cargoes to be carried in blocks, the cross deck and double bottom structure needs to be specially designed and reinforced. Block loading results in higher stresses in the localised  structure in way of the cross deck and double bottom structures and higher shear stress in the transverse bulkheads between the block loaded holds. The weight of cargo that can be carried in the block of cargo holds needs to be specially considered against the ship’s sailing draught and the capability of the structure.

Fig : Block hold loading conditions

In general, the cargo load that can be carried in blocks is much less than the sum of the full cargo capacity of the individual holds at the maximum draught condition.

Part loaded and block hold loading conditions should only be adopted in either of the following situations:

Also, It is important for the crew and the ship’s officers to carefully monitor the loading and distribution of cargo to ensure that the ship is loaded safely and within the prescribed limits. The loading of a bulk carrier must comply with the ship’s cargo securing manual, which specifies the appropriate loading procedures and provides guidance on how to secure the cargo for safe transportation.

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