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Timber deck lashings: in-house testing


A cornerstone of A-1 Marine's business has been testing and certification.  The foundation for this is our top quality in-house test bed.  We undertake testing work for many aspects of the the BC deepsea marine industry and have a well-earned reputation for high quality work.  Our certificates are recognized worldwide, so we must maintain impeccable standards in every job that we do.

When considering the acceptability of timber deck lashing components, visual inspections can only do part of the job.   To the untrained eye, one piece of steel looks very much like every other one.  For example, a shiny new piece of chain may in fact be severely substandard.  This can only be proven on a reputable test bed.

A-1 is the industry leader in testing and recertifying timber deck lashings.


Some very important things to note

  • A-1 Marine will not simply make new tags or issue new certificates without first thoroughly testing to the highest standards possible.  Similarly, we will not supply blank tags to vessels.  Our corporate reputation depends on it.

  • Other than the prescribed destructive tests that are required in order to establish breaking strength, batch testing is not permitted.  That means that every piece of lashing gear that is included on a certificate must be individually proof tested.

  • All destructive testing is carried out on our in-house test bed.  We require one piece of each size shackle, one turnbuckle, one snatch block, and three pieces of chain.

  • All test results are reported to Transport Canada first, then to the vessel, agent, stevedores and principals.

  • All of A-1 Marine's load cells, in the shop and in the field, are frequently checked and calibrated by an independent authority.  Our load cells have the proven reputation of being the most accurate in the industry.

Initial onboard inspection

  • We will carry out a visual inspection of all gear in question, checking for damage, wear in excess of 5% and excessive corrosion, as well as proper tagging.

  • Next, we examine all certificates in order ensure that they are authentic, in conformance with Canadian standards, and have proper tracking to each individual lashing component. All deck lashing certificates are valid for a maximum of four years. 

  • Click here for more details on on-board testing.

  • If the gear is clearly in poor condition (i.e. broken, deformed or severely rusted), then replacement will be recommended.  Please click here to learn more.

Testing: breaking load, Annex E and proof tests

Before any proof testing is done on the ship, there is a series of tests that must first be carried out.

  • We start with the chain, with 3 sample pieces from the vessel.  Each piece must be no less than 5 links long and each sample should come from a different chain.

  • One length of chain is pulled to destruction in order to establish the actual breaking strength.  Minimum allowable breaking strength is 13,600kg.  Inferior quality chain or cases of hydrogen embrittlement will show breaks at half of that level.  Broken links are examined to see where the failure occurred, ideally at the top of the link.  If the break is at the weld, then it must be checked carefully for pre-existing cracking, often easily spotted due to rust.

  • The next sample is used for the elongation test.  The length of a single link of chain is measured.  The sample is then pulled to 80% of the actual breaking strength.  The individual chain links must not stretch more than 5% greater than their original length.

  • From the last sample, individual links are cut and put in our custom-made jig and placed in our test machine that bends the link to 90°.  The link must be able to be bent without breaking or cracking.  Failure usually occurs on the weld.  Any cracks are checked for corrosion, which would prove they were pre-existing.  This procedure is known as the cold bend test.

  • If the samples fail any of the above tests, additional samples may be requested in order to verify results.  Once a consistent pattern of failure is established, then the entire lot of chain on board the ship will be rejected.  

  • Next, all other sample components are pull tested to destruction in order to establish actual breaking strength.

  • Assuming that the above tests are passed, then on-board proof testing is given the gos-ahead.

  • Once all testing procedures are successfully completed in our shop and on board, a new certificate, is issued.  Drawn up on A-1 Marine letterhead, this certificate is approved by Transport Canada and accepted around the world.  Tags can then be attached.

  • We will send copies of the certificates directly to Transport Canada and the stevedores, in order to expedite the commencement of cargo operations.  Original certificates will be given to the Master, with copies sent to the Agent and Principals.

A-1 Marine is British Columbia's leading specialist for timber deck lashing testing and supply

Lashing Testing and Certification

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