SOLAS - Amendments to the IMSBC Code (Amendment 03-15) - Reminder

17th November 2016

In June 2015 IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee adopted Resolution MSC.393(95) specifying amendments to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code. Contracting governments to the SOLAS Convention have been able to apply the amendments in whole or in part on a voluntary basis since 1 January 2016. Mandatory compliance with the amended IMSBC Code requirements will commence on 1 January 2017.

The IMSBC Code is subject to updates every two years to reflect changes in the nature and variety of solid bulk cargoes presented for shipment, and advances in expert understanding regarding the safest ways to carry established solid bulk cargoes. Amendment 03-15 is the third amendment to the IMSBC Code since compliance became mandatory on 1 January 2011. The principal changes are summarised below:

Section 1.4 – Application and implementation of this Code

Three changes have been made to sub-section 1.4.2, listing those parts of the Code which remain recommendatory or informative;

  • A new sub-section 4.2.2.2, which states “The cargo information should include whether or not the cargo is harmful to the marine environment”.  
  • A new section 14 – Prevention of pollution by cargo residues from ships.
  • All appendices apart from Appendix 1 (Individual schedules of solid bulk cargoes) and a new Appendix 5, which lists the Bulk Cargo Shipping Names in three languages (English, Spanish and French).

Section 3 – Safety of personnel and ship

A new sub-section 3.1.2 has been added addressing fire safety risk assessments on self-unloading bulk carriers with internally installed conveyor systems within the ship’s structure.

Section 4 – Assessment of acceptability of consignments for safe shipment

As stated above, a new sub-section 4.2.2.2 has been added addressing the provision of information as to whether or not the cargo is harmful to the marine environment, with a footnote reference to IMO’s “2012 Guidelines for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V”.

In sub-section 4.2.4 the “Form for Cargo Information for Solid Bulk Cargoes” has been updated to include a section with check boxes against whether a cargo is, or is not harmful to the marine environment.

Section 7 – Cargoes that may liquefy

Under section 7.3 “Provisions for cargoes that may liquefy”, sub-sections 7.3.1 and 7.3.2 have been amended in relation to specially constructed or fitted cargo ships for confining cargo shift. A new sub-section 7.3.3 has been added addressing specially constructed cargo ships for dry powdery cargoes.

Section 9 – Materials possessing chemical hazards

Under section 9.2.3 “Materials Hazardous only in Bulk” (MHB), two new sub-sections have been added; when cargoes are classified as MHB they will also now contain a reference to the particular chemical hazards associated with the cargo in the form of notational references in the “Class” cell of the “Characteristics” table in the individual schedule. At this time the chemical hazard references have only been added to the schedules of new cargoes classified as MHB added to the Code by this latest amendment.

Section 14 – Prevention of pollution by cargo residues from ships

A new section has been added addressing the management of solid bulk cargo residues, which mostly comprises of the relevant text from the IMO’s “2012 Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V”.

Appendix 1 – Individual schedules of solid bulk cargoes

A number of amendments have been made to the following existing cargo schedules:

  • Alfalfa
  • Alumina Hydrate
  • Clinker Ash, Wet
  • Coal
  • Coal Slurry
  • Coke Breeze
  • Fluorspar
  • Fly Ash, Wet
  • Ilmenite Clay
  • Ilmenite (Upgraded)
  • Iron Ore (see note below)
  • Iron Ore Pellets
  • Metal Sulphide Concentrates
  • Mineral Concentrates
  • Nickel Ore
  • Peat Moss
  • Sand, Heavy Mineral
  • Sulphur (formed, solid)
  • Wood Pellets – schedule deleted

The change to 11 of the 19 updated schedules involves the deletion of the words “specially constructed or fitted cargo” or “specially fitted or constructed ships” in relation to the carriage of a cargo with a Group A hazard on a ship complying with the requirements in sub-section 7.3.2 of the Code.

The existing schedule for Iron Ore has been heavily revised, taking into account the introduction of a new schedule for Iron Ore Fines.

The following new schedules have been added to Appendix 1 of the Code:

  • Aluminium Fluoride, classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Amorphous Sodium Silicate Lumps, classified as a Group B cargo, and also as a MHB.
  • Boric Acid, classified as a Group B cargo, and also as a MHB.
  • Chemical Gypsum, classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Copper Slag, classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Glass Cullet, classified as a Group C cargo.
  • Iron and Steel Slag and its Mixture, classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Iron Ore Fines, classified as a Group A cargo. Members are reminded of the Club’s requirements with regard to the safe shipment of iron ore fines from Indian ports, as detailed in Notice to Members No. 15 2013/2014, and the early implementation of this new schedule in Australia and Brazil, as detailed in Notice to Members No. 28 2013/2014.
  • Iron Oxide Technical, classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Iron Sinter, classified as a Group C cargo.
  • Manganese Component Ferroalloy Slag, classified as a Group C cargo.
  • Manganese Ore Fines, classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Scale Generated from the Iron and Steel Making Process, classified as a Group A cargo. Mill scale is a principal component of this cargo.
  • Spodumene (Upgraded), classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Wood Pellets Containing Additives and/or Binders, classified as a Group B cargo, and also as a MHB.
  • Wood Pellets not Containing any Additives and/or Binders, classified as a Group B cargo, and also as a MHB.
  • Zinc Slag, classified as a Group A cargo.
  • Zircon Kyanite Concentrate, classified as a Group A cargo.

Appendix 2 – Laboratory test procedures, associated apparatus and standards

A new sub-section has been added addressing the “Modified Proctor/Fagerberg test procedures for Iron Ore Fines”.

Appendix 3 – Properties of solid bulk cargoes

Aluminium Fluoride, Spodumene (Upgraded), Wood Pellets Containing Additives and/or Binders and Wood Pellets not Containing any Additives and/or Binders have been added to the list of non-cohesive cargoes.

Appendix 4 - Index

The index has been updated to include the new cargoes added to Appendix 1, while the entry for “Wood Pellets” has been deleted and the entry for “Clinker Ash, Wet” has been modified to “Clinker Ash”.

Appendix 5 – Bulk Cargo Shipping Names in three languages (English, Spanish and French)

As mentioned previously, a new Appendix 5 has been added, which lists the Bulk Cargo Shipping Names of those cargoes included in Appendix 1 in English, Spanish and French.

The foregoing is a summary of some of the important changes to the IMSBC Code set out in Amendment 03-15. Full details of all amendments can be found in Resolution MSC.393(95) - Amendments to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code, and these have been incorporated into the latest 2016 edition of the IMSBC Code, recently published by the IMO. It should be noted that an erratum has been published by the IMO replacing page 228 (Iron Ore schedule) in the 2016 edition of the IMSBC Code.

Members are reminded to ensure their vessels comply with the amended IMSBC Code requirements from 1 January 2017 if they are not already doing so in whole or in part in accordance with flag or port state requirements.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.

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