Due to a number of reasons, the trade of iron ore from the west coast of India has steadily increased over the last couple of months despite the presence of the monsoon. The ports where these problems have been reported are New Mangalore and Goa which have both been subjected to heavy rains over the past month. When iron ore fines are loaded in the rain or left uncovered on the quayside they absorb significant amounts of water and could liquefy which would create problems for the vessel.
The shipper of any cargo that may liquefy is obliged to provide both the moisture content and the Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) to the carrier, this should be recorded. In a number of recent cases the cargo to be loaded was found to exceed the specified TML, this has resulted in ships sailing and then having to return to port with the ship listed more than twenty degrees.
This kind of activity presents a highly dangerous situation to the vessel, the master and crew should remain vigilant at all times and be ready to question shippers if any doubt over the cargo arises. We would strongly advise members to contact the local P&I correspondent should any problems of this nature occur.
Source of information:
Loss Prevention Department