TT Talk - A problem with flatracks

The handling of flatracks is an issue which affects many TT Club Members. ICHCA International in its Information Paper No 45 reports the details of possible problems as described by a member: spreader. Flatracks with a recess are to be handled with an overheight frame without mechanical interlocks. Alternatively, these types of flatracks should be placed in the middle of a bundle and not at the top.'

'We have identified a type of flatrack that can give problems during engaging/ disengaging with certain spreaders when the sides of the flatrack are collapsed. With the ends collapsed, the type of flatrack has a recess on the perimeter of each corner fitting. When a spreader with mechanical interlocks is used and the spreader twistlocks are landed and engaged into the four corners, it is very likely that the deposit pins of the spreader will coincide with the recess and as a result, the spreader control system will give a false indication and the crane operator will not be able to release the spreader from the flatrack using the crane controls.

If the spreader gets jammed on a flatrack it can be recovered by raising the deposit pins to the 'engaged position' through manual intervention of engineering personnel. If the problem occurs on the quayside, then there is no particular safety issue as the spreader can be accessed easily. However if the problem occurs on a vessel, engineering personnel need to access the stranded spreader in some way or other bearing in mind that the spreader may be located 6 high above deck and the quay crane is inoperable due to the jammed spreader. So this presents a risk to Engineering personnel.

In order to prevent spreaders developing this fault during discharge operations, we have issued an instruction to all personnel to check the corner fittings of collapsed flatracks prior to engaging with a

Staff Author

TT Club