IMO warns on bauxite liquefaction dangers
A circular approved by the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Containers and Cargoes (CCC) warns ship Masters of the possible dangers of liquefaction associated with carriage of bauxite, following consideration of findings from the investigation into the loss of the 10-year-old Bahamas flag bulk carrier Bulk Jupiter, which was carrying 46,400 tonnes of bauxite when it sank rapidly with 18 fatalities in January 2015.
The circular notes that while bauxite is currently classified as a Group C cargo (cargoes that do not liquefy or possess a chemical hazard) under the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code, there is a need to raise awareness of the possible dangers of liquefaction associated with bauxite. If a Group A cargo (cargo which may liquefy) is shipped with moisture content in excess of its transportable moisture limit (TML), there is a risk of cargo shift, which may result in capsizing.
The mandatory IMSBC Code requires Group A cargoes to be tested, before loading, to determine their TML and their actual moisture content. The testing should confirm the cargo is below the maximum moisture content considered safe for carriage.
Ongoing research to evaluate the properties of bauxite is being carried out by Australia and Brazil, while an ongoing research project in China suggests that bauxite has various behaviours, based on the parent rock and how the materials weather.
The Sub-Committee also established a correspondence group to evaluate the properties of bauxite and coal (some types of coal may liquefy) and consider any necessary amendments to the IMSBC Code.
IMDG Code 2016 amendments agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed the next set of draft amendments (38-16) to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code for submission to MSC 96 for adoption, following finalization by the Editorial and Technical Group.
Guidance on older IMO type tanks agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed Revised guidance on the continued use of existing IMO type portable tanks and road tank vehicles for the transport of dangerous goods. The circular (CCC.1/Circ.3) clarifies the process for assessing the continued use of IMO type portable tanks and road tank vehicles which were approved prior to the entry into force of amendment 30-00 of the IMDG Code.
Draft amendments to MARPOL Annex V developed
The Sub-Committee further developed draft amendments to MARPOL Annex V, to make mandatory the classification criteria and the shipper’s declaration of solid bulk cargoes as to whether or not they were harmful to the marine environment (HME), for submission to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) for further consideration.
Use of methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel – technical provisions developed
The Sub-Committee began developing draft text of technical provisions for the safety of ships using methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel, for further consideration by a correspondence group.
Fuel-cell requirements in the IGF code developed
The Sub-Committee developed draft amendments to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), regarding fuels cells, which will be further considered by a correspondence group, with a view to being finalized at the next session of the Sub-Committee.
Use of ACEP database encouraged
The Sub-Committee encouraged Governments to utilize the Global approved continuous examination programme (ACEP) Database, located at www.bic-acep.org, in order to comply with the requirements to make information on approved continuous examination programmes publicly available.
Meanwhile, proposed draft amendments to the Revised Recommendations on harmonized interpretation and implementation of the International Convention for Safe Containers, 1972, as amended (CSC.1/Circ.138/Rev.1), and to the Guidelines for development of an approved continuous examination programme (ACEP) (CSC.1/Circ.143), were agreed, to make reference to the database and encourage its use. The Sub-Committee also agreed draft Instructions for use and information concerning the Global ACEP Database, and an associated draft CSC circular, for submission to MSC 96 for approval.
The International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC), 1972, as amended, requires containers to be examined regularly to determine whether the container has any defects which could place any person in danger. Containers are examined according to a periodic examination scheme (the first examination must take place within five years of the date of manufacture of the container, with subsequent surveys at intervals of not more than 30 months) or a continuous examination programme which is approved by a CSC 1972 Contracting Party if satisfied, on evidence submitted by the owner, that such a programme provides a standard of safety not inferior to the periodic examination scheme. Examinations under approved continuous examination programmes are performed in connection with a major repair, refurbishment, or on-hire/off-hire interchange, not less than once every 30 months. Many container owners and operators follow approved continuous examination programmes.
Due diligence checklist for providers of CTU-related services agreed
The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft MSC circular, containing a due diligence checklist which can be used for identifying providers of Cargo Transport Units (CTU)-related services, for submission to MSC 96 for approval.
Draft circulars agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed the following draft circulars, for submission to the MSC for approval:
• draft amendments to MSC.1/Circ.1442 inspection programmes for cargo transport units carrying dangerous goods;
• draft MSC circular on Guidelines on consolidated IMO provisions for the safe carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form by sea;
• draft amendments to the Emergency Response Procedures for ships carrying dangerous goods (EMS Guide)