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Cargo damage from fire on board Yantian Express

Information articleOn the 4th of Jan 2019, we reported that there was a fire on board the Yantian Express..

The update on the 10th of Jan 2019 is that the fire is under control and that a crew of five were safely transferred back from the ocean-going tug “Smit Nicobar” to the “Yantian Express”..

Hapag-Lloyd has indicated to clients that the containers in Bay 12 on deck and containers under deck in Hold 1 from Bay 1-9 has been the hardest by the fire..

Containers in Hold 2 covering Bays 11-17 may have been affected by fire, smoke and water from the firefighting efforts..

It is also understood that reefer containers in Bays 1-24 are without power and switched off adding to the risk of cargo damage and claims.. All other Bays with reefers are said to be in operation and being supplied with power continuously and are being monitored..


Explanation of Container Stowage

For those who may not understand what is said above about Holds, Bay etc, let me give you a quick overview of what a ship looks like inside (schematically of course), how a ship’s stowage plan works and what is meant by Bay, Row, Tier, Deck, Under Deck and Hold mentioned above..

FYI, below bayplan is NOT that of the Yantian Express, but a generic example..

Bay – each container vessel is split into compartments which are termed as Bay and depending on the size of the ship it will proceed from 01 to 88 bays (you can read my take on an interesting comparison between stowage plans of older ships and current Triple E type ships) where Bay 01 is the bay towards the Bow (the front) of the ship and Bay 88 is the Stern (the back) of the ship..

Odd numbered bays (1,3,5 etc) means that it is a 20’ stow and Even numbered bay (2,4,6 etc) means that it is a 40’ stow..

Confused..?? Look at the below picture.. I have used Bay 09/11 (10) and Bay 13/15 (14) as an example here..

What you are seeing here is the cross section of the ship both on deck and under deck.. Each of the small square blocks represents a 20’ unit (Twenty foot Equivalent Unit or TEU) space..

TEU is the general measurement of a container ship’s capacity..

how stowage planning works


Row is the position where the container is placed across the width of the ship.. If you refer to the above diagram, the Row numbers are circled in Green.. It starts with 01 in the center and progresses outwards with odd numbers on the right (starboard) and even numbers on the left (port)..

Tier denotes at which level the container is placed – basically how high the container is stacked on board.. In the above diagram, the Tier numbers are circled in Red..

Hatch Covers (the dark intermittent lines in the above picture) are the covers that separate the deck from the under-deck.. The area above the line is called the deck (which is generally visible to us when we look at the ship) and the area below the line is called under-deck (which is not visible to us from outside the ship)..

There can be more than one or two bays in a hold (the biggest compartment segregated under deck) and a ship can have multiple bays..

The planning is mainly done on a document called a “profile” which can be viewed below..

how stowage planning works - bayplan profile

The profile provides the full cross section of a ship at one glance.. The enlarged version of this will be the actual bay itself.. Currently, the stowage planning is mostly done via computers..


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  1. Hi,

    I just want to say thank you for your information, I am new to shipping and all seemed lost in words with no translation. The explanations and breakdowns you give are awesome, I have a better understanding and appreciation for shipping, and I am continously learning.



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