It has come tour attention that shipments of Fuzzy Cottonseed (FCS) are increasing. This is a relatively new export from Australia to primarily the USA, with smaller volumes being shipped to Spain and the Far East.
Information has been received that FCS is an allergen, causing irritation of the skin, eyes and mucous membrane, and that there is a possibility of self-heating when carried in bulk.
FCS was originally tested using samples with moisture content not exceeding 9% and an oil content not exceeding 19%. These tests showed that FCS within these parameters was not readily combustible. Since these tests were conducted, shipments of FCS in excess of these parameters have been monitored and the results assessed. It has been determined that there appears to be no increase in the risk of self heating arising as a result of oil contents up to 20.5% with a moisture content of 9%.
It is known that organic materials such as FCS have the potential to cause oxygen depletion in cargo holds. To date there has been no definitive finding that FCS will cause oxygen depletion, but as the potential exists, precautions are required. In light of this, AMSA has classed FCS as being a Material hazardous only in bulk – this is defined in the IMO Code of Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code) as being a material which presents sufficient hazards to require specific precautions to be taken.
Given the lack of data on oil content in excess of 20.5%, AMSA is to be informed if FCS is to be shipped with a moisture content >9% or an oil content >20.5%. Under these circumstances, AMSA will issue special carriage requirements on a case-by-case basis.
Source of information: Australian Maritime Safety Authority - AMSA