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Published on 23/01/2024

How to Prevent Water Ingress

Water ingress from hatch covers is a significant issue in the shipping industry, leading to extensive cargo damage and consequential financial losses. Regular testing and maintenance of hatch covers are imperative to safeguard against the risks of water ingress. The innovative Hatchtite™ ultrasonic testing device is a key solution in this context.

Preventing water ingress involves a combination of regular inspections, maintenance, and the use of advanced technology. Here are key strategies to effectively prevent water ingress;

Regular Inspection and Maintenance of Hatch Covers

• Conduct routine hatch cover inspections to identify any signs of wear and tear or damage that could lead to water ingress.

• Pay special attention to the condition of rubber gaskets, as they are crucial in ensuring a watertight seal. Replace them if they are hardened, compressed, chafed, or loose.

• Inspect and maintain the structural integrity of hatch covers, including the coamings, panels, cleats, and locking mechanisms.

Use of Advanced Detection Systems (like Hatchtite™)

• Implement cutting-edge technologies such as Hatchtite™ for ultrasonic testing of hatch covers. This can help detect even minor leaks that are not visible to the naked eye.

• Regular use of such devices can pinpoint the exact locations of potential water ingress, allowing for targeted repairs.

Routine Maintenance of the Vessel

• Ensure that the overall condition of the vessel is maintained. Corrosion and structural wear can indirectly contribute to water ingress.

• Regularly check and maintain the ship’s steelwork, especially areas that contribute to the watertight integrity of cargo holds.

Training and Awareness for Crew

• Train the crew in proper inspection techniques and using advanced equipment like Hatchtite™.

• Encourage a culture of regular maintenance and proactive identification of potential issues.

Adherence to Safety Regulations and Best Practices

• Follow international safety regulations and best practices for maritime operations, including those outlined by SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and classification societies.

• Maritime safety organisations recommend, implement and adhere to enhanced inspection programs during surveys.

Weather Preparedness

• Be aware of and prepared for adverse weather conditions, which can exacerbate the risks of water ingress.

• Ensure that all sealing and locking mechanisms are secure in anticipation of rough seas or heavy weather.

The Impact of Water Ingress on Cargo

Protection and Indemnity (P&I) claims frequently arise from cargo damage, with water ingress identified as a primary cause. The impact extends beyond the immediate damage to the cargo – it often necessitates unscheduled vessel surveys and can cause substantial damage to sensitive cargoes like steel products and dry bulk.

The North of England P&I club reports annual claims ranging from $500,000 to $1,000,000 due to water ingress. Preventive measures like replacing defective seals or conducting routine maintenance can significantly mitigate these costs. These aspects must be revised to avoid substantial financial losses for the shipping industry.

Legislative Measures and Maintenance Challenges

Annual hatch cover inspections by Classification Societies are mandated to address water ingress issues. Regulations like the Enhanced Programme of Inspection during Surveys and SOLAS Ch guide these inspections. XII involve assessing the structural integrity of hatch covers and their sealing mechanisms.

The common issues in hatch covers include degraded gaskets, corroded retaining channels, and compromised securing devices. Regular monitoring is essential to maintain weather tightness and prevent leaks.

Hatchtite™: A Revolutionary Solution

Hatchtite™ stands out as a state-of-the-art ultrasonic testing device for hatch cover inspections. It overcomes the limitations of traditional methods with its advanced features:

• Thirteen 40 KHz ultrasound emitters create an omnidirectional sound field.

• A powerful transmitter ensures coverage in large holds.

• A long runtime of 40 hours and a five-year calibration requirement.

Conducting surveys with Hatchtite™ is efficient and user-friendly, enabling crew members to perform inspections without disrupting vessel operations.

Hatchtite™ effectively prevents cargo damage by continuously monitoring humidity and temperature levels, providing early warnings of deviations. In a recent study, Hatchtite™ detected 99% of water ingress incidents, significantly outperforming traditional methods. Pinpointing the exact location of the leak enables targeted repairs, reducing cargo damage risks and associated costs.

Water Ingress: A Threat to the Shipping Industry

The World Shipping Council estimates water ingress incidents cause around $5 billion in damages annually. These incidents compromise cargo integrity, leading to risks like mould growth and electrical equipment malfunction, which can lead to fires or explosions.

Find out more about Hatchtite™ by contacting the Martek team on 01709 599 222.