LASH stand for Lighter Aboard Ship. It is a specialized container ship carrying very large floating containers ( lash barges), or 'lighters'. The ship carries its own heavy-duty crane for loading and discharging the lighters over the stern. The lighters each have a capacity of about 400 tons and are stowed in the holds and on deck. While, the ship is at sea with one set of lighters, further sets can be made ready. Loading and discharge are rapid at about 15 minutes per lighter, no port or dock facilities are needed, and the lighters can be grouped for pushing by towboats along inland waterways.