The trade in iron ore fines from India is continuing to increase and the demand from China is likely to persist for at least the foreseeable future.
The Club’s earlier LP Bulletins 546 - 10/07, 647 - 7/09 and 660 - 10/09 warn members of the serious risks that can be associated with the carriage of iron ore fines loaded at Indian ports. Last year there were reports of two vessels that had capsized after loading Indian iron ore fines and the Club has been involved with a number of cases, two of which could have had serious consequences, involving this commodity.
Accordingly with the impending south west monsoon season (beginning early June), the Club is taking a proactive stance to ensure the safety of Members’ vessels when loading this cargo. Members should be aware that once a cargo is loaded onboard it will be very difficult to discharge it from the vessel if problems are encountered.
The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (“IMSBC Code”) comes into force on 1st January 2011 but from 1st January 2009 the code has been advisory and should be considered as “best practice”. However, in relation to iron ore fines, the IMSBC code reflects the current Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes, 2004 (“BC Code”) and although iron ore fines is not a listed cargo it is acknowledged as being a cargo that may liquefy. That being the case, the remainder of this bulletin will refer to and quote from the IMSBC Code although Members should note that the meaning and advice of the IMSBC Code is, to all intents and purposes, the same as that contained in the BC Code.
The IMSBC Code states that it is the responsibility of the Shipper to provide the cargo and document that is safe for shipment.
It is incumbent upon shippers to properly test and certify the cargo is fit to be loaded. The IMSBC code section 4.2.1 states (our emphasis is used throughout):
“The shipper shall provide the master or his representative with appropriate information on the cargo sufficiently in advance of loading to enable the precautions which may be necessary for proper stowage and safe carriage of the cargo to be put into effect”.
Section 4.2.2 states:
Section 4.3.2 states:
Section 4.5.2 states:
Summary of the Shippers’ responsibilities
The shippers are obliged to certify that the cargo is fit to load by giving the vessel full information on the cargo, together with a test certificate stating the TML and moisture content. The sampling and testing of the cargo shall not have been carried out more than seven days before the loading commenced and if heavy rain is experienced in the meantime, check tests should be carried out.
Recommendations to Members
When instructed to load a cargo of iron ore fines from India, notwithstanding the season, it is recommended that the Club is informed so that arrangements can be made advance for the attendance of surveyors to check the information provided by the shippers and support the master as required. The surveyors will be required to follow the instructions set out below.
Members should ensure that their masters have familiarised themselves with the requirements of the IMSBC Code and that they should refer to the Club’s previous bulletins in relation to this cargo, in particular Bulletin No. 660 (10/09). If the master has any doubts about the cargo he should carry out his own “can test”. Further, masters should be aware of the instructions that will be provided to the surveyors.
Instructions to Surveyors
The surveyors appointed will be instructed in relation to the specific nature of the particular requirements of the ship and loading but the instructions will cover the following points:
Source of information: