The Foreward Cargo Hatches


Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi all,
I am trying to determine if any of the hatch cover openings in each of the decks were covered over with wood, tarpaulin, etc., or had structures or just simple guard rails around them. I suppose that the hatch covers in the foreward 3rd class open space on D deck (below the well deck) were simply topped off with wood or some other solid material.

Does anyone know which covers had what on them, or around them?

Cheers

Paul
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Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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Cargo (and other) hatches were made seafast structurally by means of lateral metal hatch beams bearing longitudinal deal hatch boards; this arrangement was then tarpaulined over and the tarpaulin sheeting secured around the coamings with flat metal hatch bars battened in with wooden wedges seated in intermittent metal wedge brackets welded around the coaming (hence "battening down the hatches").

This whole arrangement would be further protected by one or more lateral locking bars. These served the dual purpose of preventing the hatch boards from lifting in heavy seas and also prevented unauthorised entry into the hatch (they came in two parts, each half hooking round a flange on the coaming; the two halves were then secured on the centreline with padlocks).

Access to the actual cargo and bunker spaces would be by means of seafast trunks penetrating the intermediate decks.

In order to retain watertight and firetight integrity there would normally be no access from any intermediate deck into the trunking.

A glance at the general arrangement plans of Olympic/Titanic does not seem to conflict with this exposition.

Noel
 
Aug 10, 2002
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Noel:
I enjoyed reading your description of the hatch cover system. It is the same system I sailed with in Export Line, on the older ships. I do believe the weather deck cover on #1 was a fabricated steel pontoon, I believe it is now lying in the debris field. I found that the use of such a steel cover on #1 was fairly common in that location, as it could better stand the impact of boarding seas.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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Charles:

A glance at the various models causes me to agree. Indeed, it could be mistaken for a skylight at first glance.

I would conjecture that because the hatch trunks on these vessels were hardly ever stowed up with cargo, in order to diminish idle space the hatch squares were made smaller than those on a general cargo carrier. This would allow such easy lift-off closures. Another reason for a cargo boom one would think....

In my earlier exposition, for the sake of brevity I didn't venture into the area of flush decking where hatch trunks penetrated passenger deck areas; or hatch trunks doubling as swimming pools when on passage. Or insulating 'plugs' for refrigerated spaces.

Of course nowadays we have 'MacGregors' and other patent automated hatch closures.

Noel
 
Aug 10, 2002
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Noel:
I know what you mean, about hatch trunks. #6 on the Independence/ Constitution was a swimming pool at sea and a cargo hatch in port. The trunks merely provided access to the cargo holds through passenger spaces, without interfering with passengers. Trying to lift a large automobile up through one of these trunks could be very interesting. We also had a couple of trunks that were served by side ports with overhead cranes that ran in and out.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 

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