It is known that solid bulk cargoes that liquefy can kill, while vessels and seafarers’ lives have been lost. Following the situation, North P&I Club notes the benefits of the ‘Can Test’.
To remind, when carrying a Group A cargo, the IMSBC Code requires the shipper to provide the Master of the vessel with a cargo declaration and show the cargo is safe for carriage by testing representative samples using approved test procedures in a laboratory.
As North Club further explained, in some trades these declarations and laboratory test result certificates are not always reliable.
In order to help crew protect themselves, there is a test that can provide an early warning of a cargo’s potential to liquefy, and when carried out properly can save lives, known as the ‘Can Test’.
In fact, the Can test is a simple and useful check available to the ship’s crew. When performed correctly, it can help determine if a cargo might be unsafe.
“The Can Test is not a replacement for proper laboratory testing and as such is not to be used as a means of determining if the cargo is safe for loading”.
…as North commented.
The IMSBC Code recognises that the Can Test determines the “possibility of flow”. It is not an absolute indicator. If, after the test has been conducted properly, the surface of the sample has free moisture or displays fluid conditions, then there is the possibility the cargo could liquefy.
It is clear therefore, that the Can Test cannot be used to assess if a cargo is safe for loading. There is no such thing as a ‘PASS’ or ‘FAIL’ result for a Can Test.
If a Can Test shows free moisture or fluid conditions the Master should make further enquiries about the cargo’s suitability for loading, but it may not mean the cargo is definitely unsafe for carriage.
“If you have a Can Test result showing free moisture or fluid conditions, stop loading and seek expert assistance. If you have concerns on the reliability of documentation or the Can Test results (even if the result of the test appears dry), take photographs of the Can Test, before and after, and seek expert geotechnical advice”.