At present Sierra Leone is additionally challenging due to the Ebola outbreak
The Skuld P&I Club has issued advisory to highlight the liquefaction risks of shipment of iron ore and the present Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Illustration of London Mining Operation provided by the Club’s correspondents (Image Credit: UK P&I Club)
Club’s correspondents have advised that there have been some occasions where cargo tendered for loading had excess moisture content / TML issues. This lead to specific barges being rejected at the loading anchorage and cargo was topped up with replacement barges.
The reason why the cargo in Sierra Leone may be too wet is not believed to be due to the cargo as mined, but rather exposure to significant rainfall affecting it in storage and during transit.
Sierra Leone is the most affected country after Liberia in this present outbreak. The Government has previously used a nation wide curfew as a way of seeking to control the spread of the infection.
At present it is not believed that the main mining operations have been directly infected, with the mines having sought to take precautions to prevent an outbreak in their locations.
The outbreak has, however, meant that travel inside Sierra Leone can be affected, which may mean it is more difficult to have surveyors attend in case a problem does arise. Furthermore it may be extremely difficult to bring in outside expertise should that be required or to send any samples abroad for testing.
Given that loading is typically undertaken at anchorage from barges, it does mean that vessels are at a lower risk than if they were to be at a berth. In any event the Association has provided advice for bulker operators that can be accessed here and which may assist in managing the risks.
The Skuld P&I Club advises to operators to combine a prudent approach to the risks of liquefaction with respect to Sierra Leone iron ore shipments, just as much as if they were loading this type of cargo elsewhere.
At present Sierra Leone is additionally challenging due to the Ebola outbreak and members should seek to advance prepare accordingly if they plan to lift cargo from this country.
Source: The Skuld P&I Club