At its ninetieth session in May 2012, IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee prepared draft amendments to Sections 4 and 8 of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code. If the amendments are adopted in June 2013 as expected, they will not enter into force until 1 January 2015 at the earliest.
In the meantime, IMO has issued MSC.1/Circ.1441 “Interim Measures for Early Implementation of the Draft Amendments (02-13) to the IMSBC Code Expected to be Adopted at MSC 92” which urges contracting governments and other relevant parties to implement the draft amendments on a voluntary basis beforehand.
In brief, the draft amendments to Section 4 are aimed at the carriage of concentrates and other dry bulk cargoes which may liquefy and may be summarised as follows:
- The certificates of test provided by the shipper are to be issued by an entity recognised by the Competent Authority at the port of loading
- The Competent Authority at the port of loading is to approve and check the implementation of the shipper’s procedures for ensuring that the moisture content of the cargo is less than the Transportable Moisture Limit (TML)
- If the cargo is to be loaded from barges, the shipper’s procedures are to include measures to protect the material from precipitation and water ingress
- The master is to be provided with a document issued by the Competent Authority confirming that it has approved the shipper’s procedures
- The shipper is to allow the vessel’s nominated representative to inspect, sample and test the cargo stockpiles
In addition, a statement is to be added to Section 8 in an effort to overcome the common misconception that cargo samples which do not exhibit signs of free moisture or fluid conditions following a “can” test always means that the cargo is safe. The statement emphasises the possibility that the moisture content of the material may still exceed the TML if the samples remain dry.
Members requiring further guidance are invited to contact the Loss Prevention department.