Bauxite cargo has potential to liquefy


The following is a Safety Alert from the American P&I Club:

American Club Member Alert – February 6, 2013

Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc., Manager
One Battery Park Plaza 31st
Fl., New York, NY 10004 USA
Tel: +1 212 847 4500
Fax: +1 212 847 4599

Members are advised to note the following cargo alert which was recently posted on BIMCO’s website. As will be appreciated, the alert was motivated by a number of recent instances of the liquefaction of bauxite cargoes carried in bulk.

Last year, the BIMCO Secretariat advised members regarding the loading of bulk cargo "Bauxite" and the possibilities of liquefaction problems with these cargoes at the various ports in the Amazon Bay region.

Now it appears that this could be a general occurrence with the loading of the cargo itself, with no specific location mentioned, according to the latest P&I report received by the BIMCO Secretariat.

Bauxite is listed in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC) as a group C cargo, i.e., a cargo not known to liquefy or possess a chemical hazard. To qualify as a Group C Bauxite cargo in the IMSBC Code, the IMSBC cargo schedule prescribes the following cargo properties in terms of its moisture content and size description:

Moisture content between 0% – 10%; and 70%-90% lumps of sizes varying between 2.5 mm to 500mm and 10%-30% in powder form.

Based on the above, the cargo is considered to be one that has a large proportion of fine particles and could be susceptible to liquefaction if the cargo in question is exposed to the onset of additional moisture content (heavy rainfall), causing the cargo to contain more than the usual amount of moisture content. Hence, it is essential that the cargo to be loaded must fall within the parameters of the moisture content and size description as given in the IMSBC Code. Should this not be the case, it could be perceived as a bauxite cargo that is not listed in the IMSBC Code and in order to ship such cargoes, it is advised that the requirements of section 1.3 of the IMSBC Code pertaining to cargoes not listed in the Code be complied with.

Members engaged in the carriage of bulk bauxite cargoes should be aware that such cargo has the potential to liquefy, and should be guided accordingly by the above.

Click here to view the full alert from the website of the American P&I Club.

By Professional Mariner Staff