Brazil - Liquefaction of Bauxite Cargoes
The Club has recently been advised by P&I correspondents in Brazil that several vessels have experienced cargo liquefaction problems after loading bauxite at various ports in the Amazon Bay region, particularly Trombetas. No casualties have been reported, and at the present time it would seem that the issues have been largely confined to delays and additional costs at the discharge port.
Bauxite is listed in the IMSBC Code as a Group C cargo, i.e. one which is neither liable to liquefy, nor to possess chemical hazards. It is classified as Group C on the basis that it will comprise of 70% to 90% lumps of between 2.5mm and 500mm and 10% to 30% powder, with a moisture content of between 0% and 10%.
It is believed that the problems have arisen due to the bauxite having an unusually high moisture content caused by heavy rains in the area, insufficient storage time to allow the cargo to drain and vessels loading the cargo during rainfall. It is also possible that the particle size may be smaller than that specified for bauxite in the IMSBC Code.
Members loading bauxite cargoes from ports in the Amazon Bay region are advised to verify that it is safe for carriage. In particular, checks should be made to ensure that samples do not exhibit signs of free moisture or fluid conditions when subjected to a “can” test. If it appears that the cargo does not comply with the IMSBC Code schedule for bauxite in terms of moisture content and/or particle size, the requirements of IMSBC Code Section 1.3 “Cargoes not listed in this Code” should be followed. In the event of any doubts, the Managers should be contacted for advice.
Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.