590 - 7/08 - Heating of Coal Cargoes during Loading - Worldwide

Dealing with a heated coal cargo can be problematic, especially if it is not possible to have the cargo discharged from the ship. The association would like to share with Members an interesting method recently used to solve an incident involving an entered ship.

The IMO Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes includes detailed recommendations for the safe loading and carriage of coal cargo. It states that coal may heat spontaneously and that some coals may be liable to self heating which could lead to spontaneous combustion. The section 'General requirements for all coals' stresses the most important advice for the safe loading and carriage of coal:

  • Prior to loading, the shipper or agent shall provide in writing to the master the characteristics of the coal, which includes whether or not the cargo is liable to self heat. The master should be satisfied that he has received such information prior to accepting the cargo, and means are to be provided for measuring the temperature of the cargo whilst being loaded.
  • If, at the time of loading when the hatches are open, the temperature of the coal exceeds 55º Celsius expert advice should be obtained.