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International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code

 

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS Convention), as amended, deals with various aspects of maritime safety and contains, in chapter VI, the mandatory provisions governing the carriage of solid bulk cargoes.  These provisions are extended in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code).
 
The primary aim of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), which replaces the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code), is to facilitate the safe stowage and shipment of solid bulk cargoes by providing information on the dangers associated with the shipment of certain types of solid bulk cargoes and instructions on the procedures to be adopted when the shipment of solid bulk cargoes is contemplated.
 
The prime hazards associated with the shipment of solid bulk cargoes are those relating to structural damage due to improper cargo distribution, loss or reduction of stability during a voyage and chemical reactions of cargoes.  Therefore, the primary aim of the IMSBC Code is to facilitate the safe stowage and shipment of solid bulk cargoes by providing information on the dangers associated with the shipment of certain types of solid bulk cargoes and instructions on the procedures to be adopted when the shipment of solid bulk cargoes is contemplated.  Observance of the Code harmonizes the practices and procedures to be followed and the appropriate precautions to be taken in the loading, trimming, carriage and discharge of solid bulk cargoes when transported by sea, ensuring compliance with the mandatory provisions of the SOLAS Convention.
 
The IMSBC Code was adopted on 4 December 2008, by resolution MSC.268(85), and entered into force on 1 January 2011, from which date it was made mandatory under the provisions of the SOLAS Convention.  Since then, the Code has been amended by resolutions MSC.318(89), MSC.354(92) and resolution MSC.393(95).
 
It is worth noting that the IMSBC Code does not cover the carriage of grain in bulk.  The specific requirements for the transport of grain are covered by the International Code for the Safe Carriage of Grain in Bulk (InternationalGrain Code, 1991).
 
The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is authorized by the IMO's Assembly to adopt amendments to the Code, thus enabling the IMO to respond promptly to developments in transport.
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