Feeders – Grain. When grain was carried in bulk, feeders were erected to feed the different parts of the holds or compartments, thereby filling any free space which might result from settling of cargo during the voyage. Grain in bulk may settle as much as 5 per cent during a voyage; therefore, measures had to be taken to prevent the shifting of grain because of the settling and the void spaces created.
In any compartment filled with grain there exists a void space between the grain cargo surface and the crown or “deckhead” of the compartment. Various grain regulations have attempted to ensure that at all times during a voyage the vessel has enough intact stability to provide adequate residual stability after taking into account the adverse heeling moments caused by grain behavior within and amongst these void spaces. The necessity to provide temporary grain fittings such as feeders and “shifting boards” (to reduce the transverse movement of the grain causing inclination of the vessel) depended upon achieving the correct relationship between the intact stability characteristics of the ship and the adverse heeling effects of the shift of grain.
New regulations governing the loading and stowage of bulk grain came into operation in 1980 when the International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 entered into force. There is also a set of requirements called the “IMO Grain Rules” which is almost identical to Chapter VI of SOLAS and forms the basis of regulations imposed by many countries.
Generally the design of modern bulk carriers to carry grain does not require grain feeders and shifting boards. In small, out-of-the way places, however, and on board small, old general cargo vessels, these fittings may still be used if grain is carried in bulk.