Tag Archives: Stability

Document of Authorization to Carry Grain- A Handy Guide

Navsregs>Ship Certification>Grain Certification

This blog has already covered two cargo related certificates within earlier sections:

Now it will carry on to explore some certificates specific to certain cargoes, starting with grain.


Carrying grain safely

The requirement for grain specific documentation arises from the safety risk arising from grain’s characteristics.  Grain settles about 2% of volume, a settling which causes small voids to open up near the surface that allow the grain to shift. This free flowing of the can greatly  reduce the stability of the vessel, making grain one of the most dangerous cargoes.

Why must a ship carry a Document of Authourisation to Carry Grain?

It is required by SOLAS  Chapter VI Safety of Cargoes.

Regulation 9 – Requirements for Cargo Ships Carrying Grain

“1 In addition to any other applicable requirements of the present regulations, a cargo ship carrying grain shall comply with the requirements of the International Grain Code, and hold a document of authorization as required by that Code. For the purpose of this regulation, the requirements of the Code shall be treated as mandatory.

2 A ship without such a document shall not load grain until the master satisfies the Administration, or the Contracting Government of the port of loading on behalf of the Administration, that the ship will comply with the requirements of the International Grain Code in its proposed loaded condition.”

What code must a grain carrying ship conform to?

The international code for the safe carriage of grain in bulk, this is normally referred to GrainCodeas ‘The Grain Code’ .

What is grain?

Grain Code 2 Definitions

2.1. The term grain covers wheat, maize (corn), oats, rye, barley, rice, pulses, seeds and processed forms thereof, whose behaviour is similar to that of grain in its natural state

1.1. This Code applies to ships regardless of size, including those of less than 500 tons gross tonnage, engaged in the carriage of grain in bulk, to which part C of chapter VI of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, as amended, applies.

What does the Document of authorization signify

It is evidence that the ship is capable of complying with the requirements of the grain code.

A ship without such a document of authorization shall not load grain until the master demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Administration, or of the Contracting Government of the port of loading acting on behalf of the Administration, that, in its loaded condition for the intended voyage, the ship complies with the requirements of the code.

Where must the document be held?

The document shall accompany or be incorporated into the grain loading manual.

Click here for the IMO Grain Code page>

What is shown on the Document?

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • Port of Registry
  • IMO number
  • A statement that the ship is capable of complying with the requirements of the International Grain Code in accordance with the approved grain loading stability information booklet.

When can a ship load without a document of authorization?


  • The total weight of the bulk grain shall not exceed one third of the deadweight of the ship
  • All filled compartments, trimmed, shall be fitted with centreline divisions extending, for the full length of such compartments, downwards from the underside of the deck or hatch covers to a distance below the deck line of at least one eighth of the maximum breadth of the compartment or 2.4 m, whichever is the greater, except that saucers  may be accepted in lieu of a centreline division in and beneath a hatchway except in the case of linseed and other seeds having similar properties;
  • All hatches to filled compartments, trimmed, shall be closed and covers secured in place
  • All free grain surfaces in partly filled cargo space shall be trimmed level and secured
  • Throughout the voyage the metacentric height after correction for the free surface effects of liquids in tanks shall be 0.3 m or that given by a formula given in the grain code
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Hoegh Osaka – A handy revision summary for mariners based the MAIB safety flyer

For those about to hOEGHsit deck officer  examinations, or for those serving on Ro-Ros the topic of Ro-Ro stability is definitely one to have a good knowledge of. The UK MAIB have published a safety flyer  on the Hoegh Osaka grounding that is well worth a read.


Click here for the flyer from the MAIB.

A really hand revision list of the Safety Lessons from the report

 Assessing a ship has adequate stability for its intended voyage on completion of cargo operations and before it sails must not be neglected.

Sufficient time must be made before departure for an accurate stability calculation to be completed.

 A loading computer’s output can only be as accurate as the information entered into it.

 The master has ultimate responsibility for the safety of his/her ship.  This responsibility cannot be delegated to shore-based managers or charterers’ representatives.


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