Guidance

Tonnage measurement

Key regulations on tonnage measurement, weighing, safe loading, unloading and carriage of cargo, and passenger and personnel safety issues for ships.

Introduction

Ship owners, ship operators, designers, managers, masters, ship’s officers, terminal operators and cargo packers must be aware of regulations relating to tonnage measurement, weighing, safe loading, unloading and carriage of cargo, and passenger and personnel safety issues.

Weighing cargo

Owners of UK Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) passenger ships, operating on a Class II and II(A) certificate, must ensure that all goods vehicles and other individual cargo items exceeding 7.5 tonnes are individually weighed before loading - download Weighing of Goods Vehicles and Other Cargo for Class II and Class II(A) Ro/Ro Passenger Ship Operations (PDF, 29K)

Tonnage measurement on merchant ships

There are regulations from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) that control the measurement of tonnage and the tonnage requirement for various sizes of ship.

Tonnage measurement on fishing vessels

The Merchant Shipping (Fishing Vessels - Tonnage) Regulations 1988 regulate tonnage measurement and the certification of tonnage for UK fishing vessels of less than 24 metres.

Safe loading/unloading at terminals

The MCA provides guidance on compliance with the Merchant Shipping (Safe Loading and Unloading of Bulk Carriers) Regulations 2003(PDF, 553K).

Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 107 (M) outlines the additional requirements for the loading and unloading of bulk cargoes under the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999. Download MGN 107 (M) - the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 (PDF, 891K).

Securing and safe carriage of cargo

The Merchant Shipping (Load Lines) (Deck Cargo) Regulations 1968 relate to the safe stowage of deck cargoes and the provision of safe access for the crew. Download the Code of Safe Working Practices (CSWP) for Merchant Seamen (PDF, 8.61MB).

Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 146 (M) contains guidance on the preparation of the Cargo Securing Manual required by the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 for packaged cargo and cargo units. Download MGN 146 (M) the Carriage of Packaged Cargo and Cargo Units (PDF, 53K).

The Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 introduce additional requirements with regard to the loading and unloading of bulk cargoes. Download the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 (PDF, 891K).

MGN 418 (M) contains guidance on the safe stowage and securing of vehicles on roll-on/roll-off ships. Download MGN 418 (M) - Roll-on/Roll-off Ships: Stowage and Securing of Vehicles (PDF, 174K).

Passenger and personnel safety during unloading and securing operations

Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 341 (M) highlights the dangers to passengers and crew from moving vehicles during loading and unloading operations on board roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) ships. Download MGN 341 (M) - Ro-Ro Ships Vehicle Decks - Accidents to Personnel, Passenger Access and the Carriage of Motor Vehicles (PDF, 267K).

Find general guidance on the safety of personnel working on the vehicle decks of ro/ro ferries in Chapter 32 of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen (PDF, 9.34MB).

MGN 157 (M) draws attention to guidance from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on preventing falls at corrugated bulkheads in general cargo ships. Download MGN 157(M) - Safety of Personnel During Container Securing Operations and while Working at Corrugated Bulkheads in General Cargo Ships (PDF, 34K).

Organisations dealing with tonnage measurement

You can find contact details for your local Marine Office.

You can find contact details for your local coastguard station.

You can find contact details for specific areas of expertise.

You can find information on training, exams and certification.

You can also contact the following organisations for further information:

Seafarer Health and Safety Branch
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Bay 2/1 Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
Southampton
SO15 1EG
Tel 02380 329216

Environmental Quality Branch
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Bay 2/03
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
Southampton
SO15 1EG
Tel: 023 8032 9100

Marine Technology Unit
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Bay 2/27
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
Southampton
SO15 1EG
Tel: 023 8032 9100

For information about the transport of dangerous goods, you can email the MCA at dangerous.goods@mcga.gov.uk

For general enquiries, you can call the MCA Headquarters on 023 8032 9100, or email them at infoline@mcga.gov.uk

Further information

Download the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) website (PDF, 891K)

Download Merchant Shipping Notice 1393 - Weighing of Goods Vehicles and Other Cargo for Class II and Class II(A) Ro/Ro Passenger Ship Operations from the MCA website (PDF, 29K)

The Merchant Shipping (Tonnage) Regulations 1997 on the Legislation.gov.uk website

The Merchant Shipping (Tonnage) Regulations 1997 on the MCA website

The Merchant Shipping (Fishing Vessels - Tonnage) Regulations 1988 on the Legislation.gov.uk website

The Merchant Shipping (Fishing Vessels - Tonnage) Regulations 1988 on the MCA website

The Merchant Shipping (Tonnage) (Fishing Vessels) (Amendment) Regulations 1998 on the Legislation.gov.uk website

The Merchant Shipping (Tonnage) (Fishing Vessels) (Amendment) Regulations 1998 on the Legislation.gov.uk website

Download requirements and procedures for the safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers from the MCA website (PDF, 553K)

Download the CSWP for Merchant Seamen from the MCA website (PDF, 8.61MB)

Download MGN 146 (M) the Carriage of Packaged Cargo and Cargo Units from the MCA website (PDF, 53K)

Download MGN 418 (M) - Roll-on/Roll-off Ships: Stowage and Securing of Vehicles from the MCA website (PDF, 174K)

Download MGN 341 (M) - Ro-Ro Ships Vehicle Decks - Accidents to Personnel, Passenger Access and the Carriage of Motor Vehicles from the MCA website (PDF, 267K)

Download MGN 157(M) - Safety of Personnel During Container Securing Operations and while Working at Corrugated Bulkheads in General Cargo Ships from the MCA website (PDF, 34K)

Published 14 September 2012