595 - 8/08 - Carriage of Bulk Soya Beans - Worldwide

Date: 07/08/2008

Soya beans are carried in bulk in large quantities every year, from load ports in countries including the US, Brazil and Argentina.  Most soya beans are intended for crushing to produce soya oil for human consumption and soya bean meal for animal feed.  Most shipments take place without incident.

Soya beans are usually loaded very rapidly by conveyor belts and loading chutes.  It is normal for clouds of dust to be raised in the vicinity of a hold, and this makes monitoring the cargo very difficult.  Cargo surfaces can be observed during breaks in loading, and provided no abnormalities are seen, the cargo can be considered to be in good order and condition.  Care should be taken to ensure that the hatches are closed in advance of any rainfall.  If possible, a note should be made of the cargo temperature at loading.

It is commonplace for soya bean cargoes to be fumigated routinely on board vessels following loading.  Fumigation does not mean that there is anything wrong with a cargo.  Masters should ensure that the proper safety procedures in the IMO “Safe Usage of Pesticides in Ships” are followed.  The fumigators will advise on the exposure period, during which the holds and ventilators must be kept tightly closed.

When the fumigation period is completed, the fumigators’ guidelines for de-gassing should be followed.  Thereafter, ventilation should be applied or withheld according to the standard ventilation rules – either the dewpoint rule or the three-degree rule.  In all cases comprehensive records of the times when ventilation was applied and when it was withheld together with the reasons for doing so must be kept.  Full records of any periods of heavy weather should also be kept.

The hold access manhole lids should be lifted when weather is good in order to check the underside for signs of condensation (sweat), which may be a sign of self-heating.

It is also important that fuel in double bottom tanks is not overheated since hot bunker tanks can cause localised damage to soya beans.  Records should be kept of the fuel temperatures.  When bunkering into tanks underneath soya bean cargoes, keep records of the received bunker temperatures. 

Source of information: 

Daniel Sheard

Brookes Bell - Marine, Scientific & Technical Consultants & Surveyors


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