The International Group Clubs reminds operators of the risks arising from the carriage of mineral ores from certain jurisdictions.
hese include possible liquefaction of such cargoes and the lack of a regulatory oversight at the loading ports. Iron ore fines are of increasing concern, particularly shipments from Sierra Leone arising from a phased restart of iron mines in the region and with vessels loading such cargoes in the port of Pepel.
The International Group understands that some cargoes of iron ore fines intended for shipment from the port of Pepel have been stockpiled outdoors uncovered for a prolonged period posing a particular risk of liquefaction during the wet season. It is also understood that some cargoes intended for shipment from Pepel have previously been considered too low grade for export and have been left in uncovered stockpiles for prolonged periods. They are now being blended with higher grade materials for export
For this reason, operators should be aware that iron ore fines shipped from Pepel with a high moisture content may liquefy. When the moisture content is above 14% the risk of liquefaction is very high. Typically, iron ore fines from the region will display moisture contents of between 13% and 16% during the wet season.
In addition, it is normal for the upper surfaces of any stockpiled material to appear relatively dry during the dry season period but wet at increasing depths throughout the stockpiled material. It is important therefore that shippers carefully monitor, identify and separate those materials that require stockpiling and draining from those materials that are safe to ship.
Operators should also be aware that anomalies and inconsistencies have been seen in declarations and test certificates provided by shippers for iron ore fines cargoes loaded for shipment from Pepel.
That would suggest that some shippers are not adequately assessing or understanding the safety characteristics of the material intended for loading. Check tests run on such materials (by means of the can test) may also provide misleading results if not correctly interpreted. Club Members are reminded that the presence, or not, of surface water in the can should not be relied upon as a sole basis for acceptance of any such cargo for loading
says the IG Clubs.
Thus, it is essential for operators loading iron ore fine cargoes from Pepel, Sierra Leone to obtain current, valid and accurate information from the shipper on the physical and chemical properties of the cargo presented for shipment. It is the shipper’s responsibility to ensure that the requirements and procedures for testing and analyzing the moisture content and transportable moisture limit of cargoes which may liquefy are complied with.
Early identification of any documentary discrepancies or concerns is key to providing a timely resolution before loading and therefore minimizing delays