Despite technological advances in shipbuilding, sea water ingress is one of the major sources of damage to cargo, resulting in expensive insurance claims and threatening the safety of the ship and crew. With the vast majority of P&I Clubs now stating that ultrasonic is the preferred method of testing hatch cover integrity; hundreds of marine surveyors around the world are now choosing to keep this type of equipment in their inventory.
P&I Clubs and surveyors are well aware of how ineffective hose testing can be, since water ingress that is visible from inside the hold may not appear at the point of the defective seal; whereas ultrasonic hatch testers can pinpoint the exact location. A traditional hose test involves testing the hatches prior to loading to ensure the vessel is cargo worthy, which results in large volumes of water needing to be cleared from the deck hold and hatch covers before the cargo can be loaded. This is time consuming and prevents other vessel activities, whereas ultrasonic testing does not interfere with any other ship operation which saves time and money. Environmentally, another factor to consider when evaluating hose testing, is that due to the unavoidable pollution caused via this method, it is often not an option due to various country or port regulations.
Marine Surveyor Wagner Campagnaro, from Com e Servicos Maritimos, purchased a Cygnus Hatch Sure ultrasonic leak detector a year ago and has used the instrument to inspect more than 30 ships, varying in age. After carrying out an inspection on a ship at Praia Mole terminal in March 2011 which had been delivered December 2009, it was in good maintenance except that every hatch tested was found leaking in fwd and aft locations. “The master and chief officer were present in the inspection and were worried that my equipment was faulty, due to the ship being so new. I requested that the master ask his crew members to tighten hatches, sealing bolts and quick action cleats, and subsequently retested. All the holds and points previously found to be leaking had stopped, and it proved just how good the Cygnus Hatch Sure is. They asked me where I bought it.”
Not only does this demonstrate the benefit of this type of instruments for locating faulty rubber seals, it aids the crew to ensure proper procedure is applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations for making the hatches weather tight. In addition, many ports experience sub zero temperatures for several months each year, which makes hose testing either impossible or creates dangerous working conditions for the crew (as water from the hose test freezes on the deck and hatch covers); the Cygnus Hatch Sure will operate down to -20ºC.
Wagner Campagnaro believes that the use of ultrasonic hatch leak detectors is imperative to ensure the safety of cargo and crew members and on each and every loading operation. He commented; “Every inspection, I suggest ship masters try to request their owners to acquire an ultrasonic hatch leak detector. They are protecting their lives, their client’s cargoes and avoiding claims against their principals”. He added, “Cygnus’ hatch leak detector is perfect, very easy to use, accurate and reliable. I recommend this leak detector for ship owners, charterers and company inspections because this equipment makes work safe and reliable. No other means of watertight test can compare, whether it’s hose, chalk or light.”
For more information, please visit the Cygnus Hatch Sure product page.