The Association is currently dealing with a couple of cases that involve shipments of coal from Indonesia.
We would like to remind our members of the hazards associated with this trade. The two primary concerns with coal cargoes are that they may self-heat and that they may emit methane (a flammable gas). The IMSBC Code provides that the shippers’ cargo declaration shall specify whether the cargo may be liable to emit methane or self-heat.
Members may wish to inform their Masters that other ships have recently experienced problems with this cargo.
Our checklist How to monitor coal cargoes from Indonesia contains the necessary measures to be taken on board to help reduce the risk associated with this cargo.
During loading the temperature of the cargo has to be monitored regularly and any cargo at a temperature in excess of 55ºC must be rejected. The cargo holds shall be closed immediately after completion of loading in each cargo space. If delays occur during loading, partially filled holds have to be closed and they should not be ventilated.
Once the holds are closed, monitoring of the hold atmospheres for methane, carbon monoxide and oxygen have to start immediately, with the proper record of results. If any of the results give cause to concern the Club has to be notified immediately.
Temperatures measured by lowering thermometers into sounding pipes may be useful in general terms but should not be relied upon to reflect any changes occurring in the bulk of the cargo, as it will only detect heating of the coal in the immediate vicinity of the sounding pipe. Gas measurement readings will provide more reliable information.
Source of Information