Heavy lift cargo characteristic is required an individual transport planning. The items are oversized and impossible to split over different scheduled services. They need to be transported from one place to another and then lifted or installed into place.

It’s very important to explore what-if scenarios to ensure that you’re prepared for any eventuality, from investment in new equipment to the temporary closing of a trade lane. All possible risks must be identified by conducting a survey and important to plan the proposed route, which may include street signs, trees, road curvature, overhead clearances and other potential obstacles. It will be eliminated the uncertainty involved in moving large obstacles through densely populated areas. Preparing all the equipment, getting cranes and hoists in place, making sure there’s enough space not only on the ground but also up in the air are necessary.

The safety and workflow in the loading/unloading process of heavy lift cargo is very important. Cargo that is not properly secured can cause severe accidents and lead to the loss of cargo, the loss of lives, the loss of vehicles, or cause environmental hazards.

That is why heavy lift cargo is sophisticated and expensive because it is often customised orders that take months, sometimes even years, to produce. If the item is damaged it will cause serious problems for all parties involved. Teamwork is absolutely necessary. A well functioning team is highly motivated, flexible and can handle critical situations better and faster.

Step to handling heavy lift cargo:

Prior lifting

  • Check vessel’s stability.
  • Maximum possible loss of GM in the operation to be calculated.
  • Maximum possible list and trim during operation to be calculated.
  • Free surface effects to be considered.
  • All tanks should be pressed up or empty to avoid free surface effect.
  • Vessel to be even keel and upright as far as practicable.
  • Test the SWL of the lifting gear and associated equipments, it must be below the weight to be lifted.
  • Check load density of the hatch/deck area the load being loaded.
  • Load density must not exceed the value given in stability booklet.
  • Distribute load on deck using dunnage.
  • Unnecessary personnel removed.
  • Lashing arrangement is sufficient. Extra lashing points may be welded.

Rigging of heavy lift

  • All gears associated with lifting such as runners, guy pendants, tackles, blocks etc, to be examined carefully.
  • Lifting gears and associated equipments to be greased and renewed as necessary.
  • All other riggings cleared.
  • Rig wires, blocks etc as per rigging plan.
  • Rig Preventers and backstays as per the plan.
  • Topping lift in good condition and securely shackled (moused).
  • Winches should be in double gear.
  • Derrick unclamped from mast.
  • Rig extra stays if required
  • Once clamp removed, take weight on messenger and slowly lower the derrick.

On Lifting

  • Ensure fore and aft moorings are taut and tended.
  • Use steadying lines (swing preventers).
  • Competent winchman.
  • Communication signals understood. Standard signals as per COSWP to be used.
  • Only one competent person to signal the whole operation.
  • Whole operation to be supervised by a responsible officer.
  • Raise gangway.
  • The derrick to be plumbed over the weight.
  • Take weight slowly.
  • Lift the load slowly, swing in the correct position and load on the appropriate position.
  • Control swing by steadying stays.
  • Consider emergency action if vessel develops heavy list (more than calculated) during the operation.
  • Take proper lashing, considering heavy weather on the voyage.


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