Provisions are an essential part of the supplies a ship needs to store before weighing anchor, because offshore supplying can be very costly, or even impossible at times. We will now provide a list of important things to consider when supplying a ship.
The importance of food on board.
A healthy diet for crew members is a must in order to maintain the proper functioning of the ship and a safe and successful course. The food supply on board must be enough to satisfy the nutritional needs of each crew member. Provisions can’t be restocked before arriving at the next port, which means the amount of stored food has to be enough to cover several weeks of consumption.
Introductory study on food supply
Provisioning a ship must take into account the impossibility of resupply while on route until arrival at the destination port. The caloric intake should be calculated observing the following factors:
After calculating the total number of calories, the amount of food needed can be obtained so as to achieve an adequate nutritional balance. Keep in mind there are certain limitations, particularly when storing fresh food. The amount of fresh food must be carefully measured to prevent spoiling, and resupplying it in the next port must be valued and planned for if available.
Adequate food storage and refrigeration
Nowadays many of the problems long distance sea travels used to present have been solved. Canned foods and modern refrigeration systems help keep fresh products longer, and prevent the health risks associated with unsafe food consumption.
Much care has to be exercised on the storage of food onboard ship. Stores have to be checked regularly due to ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables. The gas accelerates the ripening process on the neighbouring fruit and can spoil all the supply in a matter of few days
Expiring dates and best before labels have to be checked to prevent foodborne disease. Also room-temperature storage and refrigerators have to be thoroughly maintained to prevent the propagation of microorganisms. A proper control of refrigeration and storage time has to be established; also proper thawing, cooking and cooling of food. Thorough maintenance is also required on the power generators on board the vessel, for an electrical shortage could break the cold chain and damage frozen products.
With adequate storage and conservation, the next step consists of providing crew members with a quality diet prepared on board that satisfies all nutritional needs.
Handling of packaged products
Packaged products have a longer shelf life, therefore if properly stored will last the whole voyage. Should be placed in a cool and dry space. Special attention should be paid to its conservation once the packaging has been opened, and it should be consumed the sooner the better.
Products must be firmly secured in place to prevent shifting damage. When loading the provisions on board the expiry date must be noted so the product remains safe for consumption until arrival at the destination port. Packaging will be checked for signs of deterioration and any product in bad condition will be disposed of because unsafe food can spoil the rest of the load.
The significance of safe handling of food onboard
Safe handling of food on board the ship is paramount when preventing the spread of any kind of contamination, bacterial, fungal or parasitic. These pathogenic agents are usually found in food even before being transported onboard, and then the environmental conditions may facilitate its growth and spread.
To prevent this a specialized professional must be in charge of the safety of food and its handling. Safe food handling practices minimise risks in preparation and cooking. The proper cleaning of surfaces and the use of sanitized areas and utensils is of vital importance to prevent contamination.
Current legislation on food safety
Applicable regulations state the right of workers to carry out their job at sea as already established in the collective agreement. Rule 3 states that all seafarers must have access to quality accommodation and food in safe, sanitary conditions.
European law establishes its own criteria, and recently passed a regulation called SHIPSAN, which deals with the impact on maritime transport of health threats due to biological, chemical and radiological agents, including communicable diseases.
In addition to these specific regulations, the ship’s galley must comply with current food handling regulation as per Rule (CE) 854/2004.
Key aspects of optimal food supply
In conclusion, the task performed by a ship supplier is an essential part of managing the resources needed for a sea voyage. It can cause serious issues if not dealt with and treated with proper care. That’s why Suisca Group provides everything a ship may need from a stopover. Optimal planning of food supply in addition to fine handling and proper storage will prevent the apparition of pathogenic agents while out to sea. Current regulations clarify most of these aspects.