Gard informs that it has been notified of a number of cases of actual liquefaction/dynamic separation of iron ore fines loaded from Sierra Leone.
amely, inaccuracies in cargo declaration as well as shippers’ insistence on loading in rain are conditions found in Pepel, Sierra Leone, mean that operators should be diligent in protecting against liquefaction.
According to Gard, upon careful review of shippers’ declarations, its has been notified of the following inaccuracies:
- Cargo declared as – “Group A: a cargo not liable to liquefy”
- The declaration incorrectly lists as a reference the IMO circular for Bauxite (CCC.1/Circ.2, Rev.1 2017) which is a different cargo than iron ore fines
- The particle size distribution in the declaration is extreme when compared to the size range guidance detailed within the IMSBC Code schedule for Iron Ore Fines.
- There are also concerns regarding the transportable moisture limit (TML) and moisture content (MC) declaration which may not be representative of the cargo loaded.
In addition to the above inaccuracies, Gard advises that shippers have also insisted on loading during heavy rain, which is not advisable given the fine-grained nature of this material.
Finally, cargo is stored in open stockpiles in the port of Pepel which exposes them to a much higher risk of liquefaction.
In addition to the recommendations, Gard recommends the following safety measures.
- In addition to the notification, operators should appoint a surveyor on site prior to loading.
- Surveyor to collect cargo samples for lab analysis and carry out “can tests”.
- When conducting the can tests, the results should not be interpreted as “pass or fail” as the cargo would require detailed analysis and interpretation. Such field tests are only an indication of the moisture in the cargo, and masters should look for careful examination of the cargo throughout the loading process.
- Cargo loaded from Pepel is highly sensitive to small changes in moisture content which may not be evident from a can test. It is therefore recommended to not load this cargo during rain as it will very likely generate false negative results of can tests.