IMO has issued a circular approved by IMOs Sub-Committee on Carriage of Containers and Cargoes (CCC) meeting (14 to 18 September 2015) to advise masters when to accept cargo of bauxite.

The cargo of bauxite was declared as a Group C cargo under the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code. However, the Sub-Committee noted the information in the Bahamas document CCC 2/5/16 that loss of the vessel may have been caused by liquefaction of the cargo.

The Sub-Committee also considered proposals made by Australia and co-sponsors with respect to the properties of bauxite and the need for the cargoes material properties to be further examined in order to ensure that the cargo can be carried safely.

The Sub-Committee concluded that:

  • there is a need to raise awareness, despite the efforts to date made by the Member clubs of the International Group of P&I Clubs, of the possible dangers of liquefaction associated with carriage of bauxite
  • the potential for bauxite to liquefy is not specifically addressed in the IMSBC Code, since it is only classified as 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:
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.

IMO advises Members to bring the above information to the attention of shippers, terminal operators, shipowners, ship operators, charterers, shipmasters and all other entities concerned, requesting that extreme care and appropriate action be taken, taking into account the provisions of relevant IMO instruments when handling and carrying bauxite in bulk

Please click below to read the IMO Circular on the carriage of bauxite

Also read related article: IMO warns on bauxite liquefaction dangers