Plimsoll’s Line (The International Load Line)
Let’s get started with the definition:
“The Plimsoll line or a Load Line is a reference mark located on a ship’s hull that indicates the maximum depth to which the vessel may be safely immersed when loaded with cargo. This depth varies with a ship’s dimensions, type of cargo, time of year, and the water densities encountered in port and at sea.”
Sure you are all well aware of the definition and usage.
Now, we may jump onto history of load lines and why it is called Plimsoll’s.
Samuel Plimsoll was a British reformer, coal merchant, that was born in Bristol, England in 1824.
Plimsoll was first that was concerned for safety of life at sea much earlier than SOLAS was released.
During the 19th century, ship owners used to overload a vessel with cargo much more than a vessel could actually carry. These vessels were so overloaded that there was a constant risk that vessel, together with her crew (and cargo) might sink.
Before sending her on a voyage, Owners ensured that vessel was over- insured. Due to such insurance policies, ships value was higher if she sunk then that ship reached destination and actually delivered cargo.
It was “profitable” for Ship Owners to lose a vessel with her cargo. ..
By this inhuman act, Owners risked their crews’ lives on purpose!
In 1873. , Plimsoll , as a member of British Parliament, published an article OUR SEAMAN and presented it to the Government , insisting that laws on safety at sea must change immediately.
Successfully, his efforts paid off.
LOAD LINES became compulsory , first for British merchant ships and afterwards the rule was accepted worldwide.
Samuel Plimsoll will be remembered as “the sailor’s friend “and the first one who pointed out that crew lives should be first, not the profit.
If you are in London , you may check for the Samuel Plimsoll’s monument that were placed by “MEN OF THE SEA FROM ALL NATIONS”, (as engraved on the monument itself).
Always stay safe, your Internavis Ltd.