Amendments to IMSBC Code Target Cargo Liquefaction Issues

IMO Amendments to Prevent Mineral Ore Shipping Accidents

Liquefaction of mineral ores, resulting in cargo shift and loss of stability, has been a major cause of marine casualties for many decades. Recent incidents, which appear to have lead to several total losses, have primarily involved the carriage of unprocessed natural ores such as iron ore fines.

Associated with some of these casualties and near misses has been poor compliance with the testing and certification requirements that are designed to ensure that cargoes are loaded only if the moisture content is sufficiently low to avoid liquefaction occurring during the voyage.

In light of these incidents, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has prepared a new draft schedule for Iron Ore Fines, a draft amendment to the individual schedule for Iron Ore, and a draft amendment to Appendix 2 to the IMSBC Code for the inclusion of  Modified Proctor/Fagerberg test procedure for iron ore fines.

A new schedule for Iron Ore Fines was adopted and as a consequence of this the existing schedule for Iron Ore should be amended.

The new schedule for Iron Ore Fines, a Group A Cargo, is valid for iron ore cargoes containing both 10% or more of fine particles less than 1 mm in diameter and 50% or more of particles less than 10 mm in diameter. The content of goethite shall be less than 35%.

The existing schedule for Iron Ore, a Group C Cargo, is amended to be valid for iron ore cargoes containing either less than 10% of fine particles less than 1 mm in diameter, or less than 50% of fine particles less than 10 mm in diameter, or both, or iron ore fines containing 35% or more goethite.

The shipper is required to provide to the master well in advance the declaration of the goethite content of the cargo as part of the cargo information.

Appendix 2 in the IMSBC Code should be amended to include the Modified Proctor/Fagerberg Test Procedure for Iron Ore Fines.

Taking into account that the mandatory entry into force date of these amendments would be January 1, 2017, operators are strongly advised, in light of these recent incidents on vessels carrying cargo which may liquefy, to implement the relevant sections of amendment 03-15, as described in the DSC.1/Circular.71, as soon as possible.

Press Release; June 26, 2014

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