Container fires may now be occurring on a weekly basis and in Gard’s experience most are associated with cargo misdeclaration. However just as with tackling the fire itself, tackling misdeclaration is a significant industry challenge. Thus, Mark Russell, Vice President, Head of Cargo Claims in London and Charmaine Chu, Claims Executive in Hong Kong discuss the severity of cargo misdeclaration and the impact it has in the shipping market.
A growing number of goods are being transported by sea and in containers, including electronics and, increasingly, chemical products. However, dangerous goods are not always properly declared, which can have dire consequences, specially when considering the trend of larger vessel sizes, according to Allianz.
Port Authority Director of Thailand, Kamolsak Phromprayoon, reported that the fire onboard KMTC containership was due to mis-declared chemical cargoes of calcium hypochlorite and chlorinated paraffin wax. The port Authority inspected 35 containers at the centre of the blaze, which resulted to more than half of of cargoes contained chemical products.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission issued an investigation report on the cargo hold fire onboard the multipurpose container ship ‘Kokopo Chief’ at Port of Tauranga, on 23 September 2017. TAIC found that the fire originated by heat radiating from an incandescent reflector lamp, as the cargo hold lights had not been switched off on completion of loading.
A 90-meter bulk carrier had been drifting in heavy weather, with hard winds and 4-meter-high waves, after it suffered a breakdown on the main engine off Marstrand, according to data provided by the Swedish Coast Guard. The bulk carrier was loaded with fertilizer.
Following the investigation report of the 2012 built supramax bulk carrier M/V CHESHIRE which was issued by the Isle of Man Ship Registry, INTERCARGO urges IMO to reconsider how Ammonium Nitrate Based Fertilizer should be designated in the IMSBC Code. Currently, the Ammonium Nitrate Based Fertilizer is listed as a group C cargo, however, the accident showed that this cargo, or at least some of the ammonium nitrate based fertilizers shipped as this cargo, should treated differently under the IMSBC Code.
INTERCARGO issued its Bulk Carrier Casualty report, covering and analyzing bulk carrier casualties from 2008 to 2017. The report revealed that 53 bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt have been identified as total losses over the years 2008 to 2017, with cargo shift and liquefaction remaining a great concern for seamen’s safety.
A C/O was seriously injured on board due to caustic soda which splashed into his face, entering under the edge of his protective mask. If the PPE does not fit, is not suitable for purpose, or cannot be worn for some reason, stop the work until proper protection can be provided, UK MAIB says.
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