488 - 09/06 - Declaring Fumigation of Bulk Cargo - Worldwide
Neither the charterer nor the master had informed their agents and the port authorities in Rotterdam that the cargo was fumigated at the load port with phosphine tablets. When it was found that the volume of gas in the free space above the cargo was above 15ppm, the ship was fined by the Dutch authorities for entering port with too high a concentration of phosphine in the hold, and more importantly for non declaration of the fumigation.
In Dutch ports the required safe level for phosphine gas is 0.1ppm in the free space above the cargo prior to discharge being allowed, and normally ships are held outside the port until the required level is reached. Under IMO guidelines the safe level is deemed to be 0.3ppm, but in the Netherlands, for the sake of safety, this is deemed to be too high.
Owners and managers should ensure that their ships make a declaration on their pre-arrival notice, if the cargo has been fumigated. Where possible, fumigated cargo holds should be ventilated prior to the ship's arrival to ensure that the required safe level of gas has been reached.
Source of information:
UK P&I Club
Loss Prevention Department