546 - 10/07 - Recent Iron Ore Incidents - India

The Association wishes to bring to your attention that recently three vessels known to have loaded iron ore fines in India suffered extreme perils at sea soon after departing the load port on account of serious shifting of cargo. The loading ports involved were Mangalore and Haldia and brief information about the incidents are set out below:

·  MV Chang Li Men – sailed Mangalore 5/9/07: Developed list of almost 16 degrees and had to be beached off Tannir Bhavi beach near Mangalore.

·  MV Discovery II – sailed Haldia 18/9/2007:  Developed list and called Vizag where the cargo, which had overwhelmingly liquefied, was taken off the vessel.

·  MV Vien Dong 2 - sailed Haldia on 26/9/2007:  Cargo shifted at sea causing vessel to list 20 degrees to starboard.  She was beached off Car – Nicobar Islands.

Manufacturers produce iron ore of several grades which when shipped exhibit different physical properties.  The grades that present risk of liquefaction are those which comprise substantial amounts of finely divided powdered material, i.e. fines, involving for example descriptive terms such as ‘fines’, ‘sinter’ or ‘pellet feed’. The ore involved in the above recent incidents were all iron ore fines. It is believed it was loaded from open outdoor piles that had been exposed to rain during the monsoon season. 

IMO, in its SOLAS publication, makes it incumbent on shippers of any material liable to liquefy to declare this hazard and before loading in writing provide valid certificates for moisture content and transportable moisture limit (TML). The provisions of IMO state that the moisture content of the cargo in any one hold should not exceed TML. In the above cases, however, it is believed shippers only provided certificates for moisture contents and not the crucial information in respect of TML and thereby did not reveal the dangerous flow characteristics that the cargoes possessed. 

It needs therefore to be stressed that Masters loading any kind of powdered materials and in particular iron ore at Indian ports, exercise extreme caution and query shippers/charterers in respect of potential flow characteristics of the cargoes to be loaded. For all such materials possessing risks of liquefaction and thereby cargo shifting, certificates stating moisture contents and the relevant TML should be obtained before any loading is allowed. If Masters are not satisfied with information provided or relevant information is not forthcoming, we urge that the Association be contacted for further advice.

Source of information: 

Loss Prevention Department

UK P&I Club

Tel: + 44 207204 2217

Email: lossprevention.ukclub@thomasmiller.com

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