Designed to save you cost, time and risk. We welcome you to get in touch to discuss how we can help you improve your hatch cover testing.

Showing all 2 results

Hatch Cover Testing

The world-leading ABS & RINA Approved Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is an ultrasonic hatch cover tester for testing watertight and weather-tight seals. Test the integrity of sealed compartments; watertight doors, hatch covers and multiple cable transits (MCTs).

Owners, managers, marine surveyors, third party servicing companies and other mariners have pledged their support for the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT water ingress testing equipment and Ultrasonic Leak Detector for years.

For three simple reasons: “it is faster, better, cheaper” than any competitor. The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is the ideal unit to ultrasound test hatch coamings. But don’t take Coltraco Ultrasonics’ word for it, here are 2 customer testimonials:

“We did some transit inspection work on one of our customers vessel using the Portascanner and we are very pleased with your instrument. We are looking forward extending our service offer using it.” – Techsol Marine, Canada

“Our PORTASCANNER WATERTIGHT unit and Ultrasonic Leak Detector performed well during the entire period of use, proved rugged and we feel sure that if it had not required returning for mandatory calibration and certification, the unit would have performed well for many more years to come.” Captain J.F. Holmes, Botrans

The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is:

  • Faster: designed for ease of use from crew up to chief engineer – no need for extensive and expensive training courses, simply read the operating instructions in the kit and away you go for a water ingress test
  • Better: most mathematically accurate to 0.06 (+/-0.02mm) to identify leak integrity quickly and easily allowing prompt maintenance if required
  • Cheaper: never beaten on price guarantee from Coltraco Ultrasonics who are used to serving the world’s leading fleets for 30 years

The Portascanner® generator is the most efficient of all on the market. Unlike the old “Hedgehog Generator”, the Portascanner® generator has excellent battery life, is light and small, can be magnetically mounted, is highly sensitive and uses smart pinpoint technology to direct ultrasound to the seals during testing.

Use the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT hatch cover tester to find hatch leaks and ensure watertight integrity.

Why is watertight integrity an issue?

In 1989 IACS introduced its guidance to owners concerning the care and survey of hatch covers as follows:

“Loss of weather-tight integrity continues to be a constant factor leading to cargo damage which could result in a threat to the safety of the crew, the ship and its cargoes, despite advances in modern shipbuilding technology, construction, navigation and means of preventing ingress of water into hold spaces.”

The importance of continually maintaining seal integrity must take a more prominent position in ship maintenance scheduling as demanded by regulations:

SOLAS Reg II-1/11.1 it states that hatches and watertight seals must be regularly tested: “Where a hose test is not practicable [sic] it may be replaced by [sic] an ultrasonic leak test or an equivalent test. In any case a thorough inspection of the watertight bulkheads shall be carried out.”

IACS: Firms engaged in tightness testing of closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc. with ultrasonic equipment

2.1 Extent of engagement – Ultrasonic tightness testing of closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc.

2.2 Operators – The operator is to have the following qualifications:

  • Have knowledge of different closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc. including their design, functioning and sealing features
  • Have experience with the operation and maintenance of different closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc.
  • Be able to document theoretical and practical training onboard in using the ultrasonic equipment specified

2.3 It shall be demonstrated to the Surveyor that the ultrasonic equipment is fit for the purpose of detecting leakages in closing appliances.

2.4 Procedures – The supplier shall have documented work procedures which shall include the manual for the ultrasonic equipment specified, its adjustment, its maintenance, its operation and approval criteria

What concerns have been voiced about water ingress?

Water ingress on board ships can be devastating, to crew, vessel and cargo.

The Swedish P&I Club have stressed that proper weathertightness is a key factor in keeping cargo dry and crew safe. For ingress protection, watertight hatch doors and hatch covers’ sealing system needs to be in a good condition.

The North of England P&I Club state that defective hatch cover maintenance is an “expensive problem with a low-cost solution”.
Hatch leaks account for 4.56% of the total payouts (of claims between 5,000 and 3,000,000(USD))

What is Ultrasonic Hatch Cover Testing and Hatch Cover Procedure?

The Swedish P & I club recommend using Hatch Cover Sonic Testing for protection against ingress. As stated in their 2018 report “A much more effective method is to use an ultrasonic device, which is designed for this purpose and can pinpoint the area which is leaking, and if the compression of the gasket is sufficient. The advantages of using this type of equipment are evident, since ultrasonic tests can be carried out during any stage of the loading without risking cargo damage. The test can also be completed in sub-zero temperatures.”

Testing hatch coamings with ultrasound is a dramatically more sensitive, accurate and reliable method for testing marine hatch covers, bulkheads and doors for watertight integrity on all vessels than the chalk test or a hose test. A multi-directional ultrasound emitter is placed in a hold. The open hatch being tested is then sealed and the receiver switched on ready to receive any leakage of ultrasound via a set of headphones. An increased reading of ultrasound signal signifies an issue with the integrity of the door/hatch. Further, and closer inspection will allow identification of any specific leakage sight along with the severity. This test will take approximately 10 minutes and requires only one operator.

Hatch Cover Sealing Arrangement

With navies such as the Indian Navy and Royal Navy successfully implementing ultrasonic hatch cover testing of watertight seals as part of their onboard safety management, Coltraco Ultrasonics answer questions about the importance of ensuring watertight integrity to delivering the Safeship®: protecting crew, cargo and vessel by ensuring hatch cover weathertightness.

 

Why is watertight integrity an issue?

In 1989 IACS introduced its guidance to owners concerning the care and survey of cargo hatch covers as follows:

Loss of weather-tight integrity continues to be a constant factor leading to cargo damage which could result in a threat to the safety of the crew, the ship and its cargoes, despite advances in modern shipbuilding technology, construction, navigation and means of preventing ingress of water into hold spaces.”

The importance of watertight integrity to marine hatch covers is equally applied to testing hatches, watertight and weathertight doors, and internal multiple cable transits as found onboard the wide range of maritime vessels and infrastructure (including naval, shipping, ship managers, marine surveyors, classification societies, offshore oil and gas, offshore renewable wind). Other regulations such as SOLAS Reg II-1/11.1 – Initial Testing of Watertight Bulkheads etc requires “a thorough inspection of the watertight bulkheads shall be carried out” using ultrasonic leak test or hose test or equivalent test.

Little appears to have changed over the intervening years.

 

What risk does water ingress pose to the crew?

Lives are at stake. This is unacceptable and must change.

As the main cause of vessel loss is sinking, the maintenance, testing and monitoring of watertight hatches, doors and multiple cable transits on vessels is essential. A watertight hatch cover is designed to prevent the passage of water in either direction under a head of water for which the surrounding structure is designed.  Many mariners may think hatches are robust, monolithic structures, thereby failing to appreciate the small tolerances on panel alignment and gasket compression. It is both better and safer to think of container ship hatch covers as complex, finely-made structures, to be handled with care.

 

How are we failing to protect the crew by not maintaining seals?

Wrongly applied and poorly maintained container hatch covers and sealing systems increase the risk of cargo and vessel becoming damaged by water. The most common wet cargo problems include leaking cross joints, and compression bars, rubber gaskets, hatch coamings, drain channels and cleats in poor condition.

The importance of continually maintaining upkeeping hatch cover maintenance must take a more prominent position in ship maintenance scheduling as demanded by regulations:

SOLAS Reg II-1/11.1  states that hatches and watertight seals must be regularly tested: “Where a hose test is not practicable [sic] it may be replaced by [sic] an ultrasonic leak test or an equivalent test. In any case a thorough inspection of the watertight bulkheads shall be carried out.”

 

What are the traditional testing methods for hatch cover? 

Chalk tests for hatch covers is used traditionally for visual inspection of the compression integrity of doors and hatches on vessels that hold the potential for flooding. In the chalk test hatch covers, Chalk is applied evenly around the knife edge, coaming compression bars or panel cross seams of doorways. The door/hatch cover in ship is then closed and sealed. Once re-opened the rubber gasket which pushes against the knife edge is visually inspected for the chalk line. Any breaks in the chalk line indicate a lack of compression in that area. It must be noted that chalk testing is NOT a leak test, but only provides an indication of potential compression issues

Another method of inspection hatch cover, is hatch cover hose testing. The International Association of Classification Societies states that a chalk test must be followed by a hose test hatch cover. The hatch cover hose test procedure is used in conjunction to determine the weather tightness of doors and hatch covers. The hatch cover water testing spray from a nozzle of 12mm diameter is sprayed from a distance of 1 to 1.5 meters. The hatch cover hose test pressure is 0.5. This test should help identify any leakage from the hatch joints, although the exact location of the leakage sight cannot be pinpointed.

 

Why are these methods no longer recommended by P&I clubs?

Various drawback come with chalk and hose testing in the maintenance of hatch covers, for instance;

  • The hold is required to be empty as cargo can be damaged by water. This is not always possible and certainly poses more issues once the ship is laden with goods.
  • The test requires drains to be opened posing a genuine pollution risk.
  • Two people are required to carry out the test effectively.
  • Cannot be performed in sub-zero conditions.
  • Water pressure and distance can affect results.
  • Time-consuming.

Both of these tests are time-consuming and sometimes completely impractical for maintenance hatch covers. Some circumstances have been highlighted that prevent this testing of hatch covers from being conducted such as the hose test if dry cargo is within the hold being tested but these tests conducted at port or in dry dock will never reproduce conditions when the ship is at sea and therefore cannot expect to achieve the same standard. Claims resulting from water damage due to leaking container hatch covers still contribute a huge part of the overall loss figures on dry cargo ships. This method is neither accurate nor time effective for marine hatch inspection cover.

 

What is the alternative for hatch cover testing?

 Ultrasonic hatch cover testing.

The Swedish P & I club recommend using Ultrasound. As stated in their 2018 report “A much more effective method is to use an ultrasonic device, which is designed for this purpose and can pinpoint the area which is leaking, and if the compression of the gasket is sufficient. The advantages of using this type of equipment are evident, since ultrasonic tests can be carried out during any stage of the loading without risking cargo damage. The test can also be completed in sub-zero temperatures. The ultrasonic test should be carried out as per the class requirements.”  

Ultrasonic hatch cover testing equipment is a dramatically more sensitive, accurate and reliable method for testing cargo hatch covers, bulkheads and doors for watertight integrity on all vessels. A multi-directional ultrasound emitter is placed in a hold. The opening being tested is then sealed for the hatch cover tightness testing and the receiver switched on ready to receive any leakage of ultrasound via a set of headphones. An increased reading of ultrasound signal signifies an issue with the integrity of the door/ watertight hatch cover. Further, and closer inspection will allow identification of any specific leakage sight along with the severity. This test will take approximately 10 minutes and requires only one operator.

 

Which is the best unit for hatch cover ultrasonic testing?

Owners, managers, marine surveyors, third party servicing companies and other mariners have pledged their support for the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT ultrasonic hatch cover tester for years. Coltraco Ultrasonics ultrasonic hatch cover tester price will never be beaten by a competitor.

For 3 simple reasons: “it is faster, better, cheaper” than any competitor for cargo hatch cover inspection. But don’t just take Coltraco Ultrasonics’ word for it, here are 3 customer testimonials:

We did some transit inspection work on one of our customers vessel using the Portascanner and we are very pleased with your instrument. We are looking forward extending our service offer using it.” – Techsol Marine, Canada

“The fleet was equipped with a unit per Bulk Carrier and the units are and working well, providing the confidence that there will be no problems with water damage claims.” Ship Management Company

“Our PORTASCANNER WATERTIGHT unit performed well during the entire period of use, proved rugged and we feel sure that if it had not required returning for mandatory calibration and certification, the unit would have performed well for many more years to come.” Captain J.F. Holmes, Botrans

 

Where can the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT hatch cover tightness testing device be used?

The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is designed to identify leak sites in a wide variety of watertight, airtight or weathertight seals (such as hatch cover and weathertight door seals, as well as multi cable transits), with decibel readouts to comply with classification society requirements. Using the Portascanner WATERTIGHT, operators will be able to identify whether they have a weathertight hatch cover, watertight hatch cover or weak seal.

The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT hatch cover ultrasonic testing equipment has been used globally to ensure safety, with ship owners, ship managers, oil & gas facilities and navies amongst others, committing their approval to the instrument. In 2018 the Indian Navy chose the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT to protect its fleet, with a similar service provided to other navies such as the Royal Navy, used onboard the HMS Prince of Wales. By using a Portascanner® WATERTIGHT ultrasonic hatch cover testing device, these navies are able to protect its sailors by ensuring the hatches, doors and cable transits are watertight.

The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is a faster, better and cheaper method of ultrasonic hatch cover tightness testing:

  • Faster: designed for ease of use from poorly educated crew up to chief engineer – no need for extensive and expensive training courses, simply read the operating instructions in the kit and away you go
  • Better: most mathematically accurate to 0.06 (+/-0.02mm) to identify leak integrity quickly and easily allowing prompt maintenance if required
  • Cheaper: never beaten on price guarantee from Coltraco Ultrasonics who are used to serving the world’s leading fleets for 30 years

The Portascanner® ultrasonic hatch cover watertight test indicator generator is the most efficient of all on the market. Unlike the old “Hedgehog Generator”, the Portascanner® generator has excellent battery life, it is light and small, has magnetic mount, is highly sensitive and uses smart pinpoint technology to direct ultrasound to the seals during testing. It is the ideal unit for testing a container vessel hatch cover.

 

With the clear charts below, readings taken on the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT, in both the linear and decibel scale can be converted into watertight, weathertight, weak seal & full leak site for cover hatch testing:

Portascanner® Values (linear)Portascanner® Values (decibel)Description
0 - 1000 – 26 dBWatertight
Less than 10% of Open Hatch ReadingConvert from linear resultsWeathertight
More than 10% of Open Hatch ReadingConvert from linear resultsWeak seal compression
Significantly more than 10% of Open Hatch ReadingConvert from linear resultsFull leak site

 

With the Portascanner the difference between watertight and weathertight hatch cover can clearly be found.

Using a Portascanner WATERTIGHT should be used as part of a hatch cover maintenance checklist. Coltraco Ultrasonics focus on benefitting the crew; designing innovative ultrasonic solutions which the crew will be happy to use by being easy to operate, quick, accurate and a better method to traditional techniques. These ultrasonic alternatives hereby increase the likelihood of tests being regularly conducted, in line with regulations and even going above and beyond for more frequent testing. By so doing, the crew will be creating a safer ship, and critically saving lives.