News 23 Oct, 2015

Cargo - Carriage of Bauxite that may Liquefy

In January 2015 the Club alerted Members to concerns involving the carriage of bauxite cargoes from Malaysia following the loss of a 10 year old bulk carrier, where it was suspected that the cargo was the most likely cause of the casualty (see Malaysia – Bauxite Cargoes).

At the recent meeting of the IMO Sub-Committee on the Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC), submissions from the lost bulk carrier’s flag state, the Bahamas, were considered. Although the cargo had been declared as a Group C cargo under the IMSBC Code, the vessel’s flag state advised that the loss of the vessel may have been caused by liquefaction of the cargo.

Proposals made by Australia and co-sponsors in relation to the properties of bauxite cargoes, and the need for these to be examined further were also considered. Pending ongoing research in to the issue which may lead to amendments being made to the IMSBC Code, the CCC Sub-Committee has published a circular on the Carriage of Bauxite that may Liquefy, which advises that:

The potential for bauxite to liquefy is not specifically addressed in the IMSBC Code, since it is only classified as a Group C cargo;

If a Group A cargo is shipped with moisture content in excess of its transportable moisture limit (TML) there is a risk of cargo shift, which may result in capsizing;

The master should not accept this cargo for loading unless:

  1. The moisture content of the cargo indicated in the certificate is less than the indicative moisture limit of 10% and the particle size distribution as is detailed in the individual schedule for BAUXITE in the IMSBC Code; or
  2. The cargo is declared as Group A and the shipper declares the TML and moisture content in accordance with paragraph 4.3.1 of the IMSBC Code; or
  3. The competent authority has assessed the cargo and determines that the particular cargo does not present Group A properties. Such assessments shall be provided by the shipper to the master as required by paragraph 1.2.1 of the IMSBC Code;

If the master has reason to doubt that the cargo being loaded is consistent with the shipper’s declaration then the master should stop loading and have the shipper verify the properties of the cargo. If necessary, advice should be sought from the competent authority of the country of loading; and

If the cargo is declared as Group A, the master should refer to section 7 of the IMSBC Code, which warns about cargoes that may liquefy.

When a bauxite cargo is to be loaded, the recommendations in the IMO circular should be considered along with the Club’s earlier advice.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.