Why you must document how you install, secure and seal movable bulkheads to ensure their grain tightness – SSB No.: 02/2015

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RDIMS No. : 10063548
Date ( Y-M-D ): 2015-02-24


We issue Ship Safety Bulletins for the marine community. Visit our Website at www.tc.gc.ca/ssb-bsn to view existing bulletins and to sign up to receive e-mail notices of new ones.


The main purpose of grain stability calculations is to demonstrate that a ship is loaded in a way that meets the requirements of the International Grain Code, and is fit for its intended voyage.

You must always calculate the grain stability of a ship for specific stowage conditions, depending on actual distribution of its cargo:

  • between various cargo compartments; and
  • within each filled or partly filled compartment.

Any change in a ship’s loaded condition would require carrying out new grain stability calculations. For example, grain leaking from one cargo compartment into another would change the ship’s initial loaded condition, and make the stability calculations invalid.

To avoid grain leakage, all structural boundaries of cargo compartments must be made grain tight. Although this is not a problem with permanent divisions, ensuring grain tightness of temporary or movable bulkheads may require special attention.

Section 128 of the Cargo, Fumigation and Tackle Regulations requires mandatory inspections for receiving a Certificate of Readiness to Load to include the attending Marine Safety Inspector verifying that the vessel is in fit condition to carry grain in the holds in which it is to be loaded, as per a proposed loading plan. If the proposed loading plan provides for loading grain into cargo compartments formed by installing movable bulkheads, the Marine Safety Inspector will assess the fitness of such compartments to carry grain based on the ship’s detailed information on how the crew installs, secures and seals those bulkheads to ensure they are made grain tight and remain grain tight during the voyage.

Shipowners/operators must have this information duly approved by the Flag Administration or Classification Society recognized by the Administration. The information shall consist of respective plans, instructions, procedures and full details of the movable bulkhead installation and sealing arrangements. Having this information included in the vessel’s Grain Loading Manual and/or the vessel’s Safety Management System (ISM Section 7 – Development of Plans for Shipboard Operations) is an example of acceptable form of approval.

Failure to produce this information will result in the Marine Safety Inspector refusing to issue a Certificate of Readiness to Load, until he or she can examine the required, approved documentation, specific to the vessel.

The following document is available for downloading or viewing:
Why you must document how you install, secure and seal movable bulkheads to ensure their grain tightness (117 KB )

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Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:
  1. Movable Bulkhead
  2. Grain Tightness
  3. Certificate of Readiness to Load
Port State Inspection and Cargoes
Transport Canada
Marine Safety and Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

Contact us at: marinesafety-securitemaritime@tc.gc.ca or 1-855-859-3123 (Toll Free).