To carry these different types of cargo, different types of ships are used. Some vessels are specialized for the carriage of only one type of cargo, eg Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers, while others are more versatile and can accommodate a variety of cargoes − eg general cargo ships which can carry breakbulk, containers, small quantities of liquid in bulk or even livestock. This is to say that a particular type of ship is normally built to carry a particular type of cargo. Its cargo handling equipment will be about the cargo intended to be carried. Equipment and machinery fitted will be in conjunction with the vessel’s proposed use. A good example will be the amount and capacity of ballast pumps on a bulk carrier, where deballasting time is very important when loading. Any ship operator whether it is a shipowner or a charterer will be looking at the type of cargo he has to carry before buying/ building or chartering a new vessel. The suitability of the vessel is fully assessed for the particular job it is intended. If the vessel is not suitable for a particular type of cargo, then the risk of damage to the cargo is great. It could also be dangerous for the vessel to carry a cargo that is unsuitable for her. In many cases, this could render the ship unseaworthy, thus not covered by any insurance. Big damage claims might well follow. One aspect that must not be overlooked is the safety of the cargo and the vessel. The ability to fully secure the cargo on board must exist at all times. Vessels will normally incorporate securing arrangements for the type of cargo carried as part of its standard equipment. The securing equipment must be strong enough to withstand the normal perils of the voyage. This does not mean that the equipment will be fail-proof and will withstand all types of seagoing conditions. The mariner still has to exercise caution and take measures to make the voyage as safe as possible. The Cargo Securing Manual, the Rigging Plan and the stability data of the vessel will help the mariner in his job to make the voyage as safe as possible. A vessel is suitable for worldwide trading in general cargoes, dry bulk, long steel products, grain cargoes and containers. The vessel is normally equipped with cranes and/or derricks. This type of vessel is making room for more specialized vessels. Still common in some parts of the world such as the Asian sub-continent and South America. A deadweight tonnage of around 25,000t and capable of carrying more than 800 TEUS is not uncommon.
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