Search Results : liquefaction

Apr 032017

Often, when vessels capsizes, there is not enough time to say “Oh, f*&k”. Stellar Daisy, a 24-year old Very Large Ore Carrier vanished with minutes of sending a standard daily report. At this time, only two of the ship’s 24 officers and crew have been found alive. Two empty lifeboats and a liferaft, ship’s debris and surface fuel oil are reported to have been found in the vicinity of her last known position. SAR efforts continue with the help of four merchant vessels.

The vessel was carrying iron ore from Brazil to China when it disappeared at about 02.52 GMT, 11.53 local time, on 31 March some 350 nautical north-west off Tristan Da Cunha reportedly under fine weather conditions.

It is understood that liquefaction played a key role in the capsize, investigations are at a very early stage but the suddenness of the disappearance, the lack of survivors and the empty LSAs are typical of liquefaction-induced capsize. Port State Control examinations suggest that the 24-year-old vessel had a fairly clean bill of health with no detentions although Chinese PSC authorities identified two deficiencies related to water-tight doors, which investigators will be studying.

Liquefaction is the phenomenon by which, under certain circumstances, a dry bulk cargo typically an ore, and often iron ore fines, behaves like a liquid. When the vessel rolls to one side the liquefied cargo moves to the lower side of the vessel, then lock in place as a mass, producing a list. An opposite roll can re-liquefy the cargo.  One may have as little as 90 seconds to identify and mitigate the problem before it becomes irrecoverable.

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Liquefaction risks – Iron Ore Sinter Feed

 Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Liquefaction risks – Iron Ore Sinter Feed
Jul 092011

London P&I Club warns that several recent cargoes of Brazilian sinter feed iron ore have reportedly liquefied after loading as a result of the high moisture content of the cargo, despite shippers’ declarations at the loadport having described the cargoes as Group C.  Thankfully there have been no reported losses to date but the risk of a loss of stability and potential capsize is apparent.

‘Sinter feed’ indicates that the cargo is too fine-grained for direct use in a blast furnace and therefore will undergo a process of agglomeration (“sintering”) into larger particles at destination before smelting.  Thus, it is descriptive of the use of the product rather than its properties or production method.  Some grades of sinter feed are known to be prone to liquefy.

The London Club has received reports of Brazilian shippers declaring cargoes of sinter feed (or iron ore sinter feed) as Group C under the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (the IMSBC Code) but without any supporting documentation.  The ports involved include Ponta da Madeira, Tubarao, Itaguai and some ports in Santana.  Group C cargoes are not prone to liquefy and accordingly do not require the shipper to provide test results for Transportable Moisture Content (TML), Flow Moisture Point (FMP) and moisture content of the cargoes. Continue reading »


New Stoploss On STS, Inspections and Liquefaction

 P&I, P&I Club, publications  Comments Off on New Stoploss On STS, Inspections and Liquefaction
Feb 252011

StopLoss the London P&I Club’s loss prevention publication is available now in both English and Mandarin. Both versions can be downloaded by clicking here.

Also, spoken versions of StopLoss, again in both English and Mandarin, will very shortly be available as podcasts on

Listeners can subscribe to the podcasts via iTunes and can also receive notice of postings on Twitter by following Continue reading »


Did Wet Stuff Sink Harita Bauxite?

 Accident, capsize  Comments Off on Did Wet Stuff Sink Harita Bauxite?
Feb 202013
Liquefied lateritic nickel ore - the discolouration on the bulkhead tells the story

Liquefied lateritic nickel ore – the discolouration on the bulkhead tells the story. Photo UK P&I Club

While a full investigation will take some time to complete, if it ever is completed and released, the sinking of the Harita Bauxite off Cape Bolinao, North West Luzon, Philippines bear many of the familiar signatures of a liquefaction casualty. Her cargo of 47,450mt nickel ore from Indonesia bound for China, the speed of her sinking and the high level of casualties have characterised the loss of several vessels in the same area over the past few years.

The Panama-registered, 1983-built handymax ship sank on the evening of 17 February after suffering engine failure, and heavy rolling in rough weather. Although ten crew were rescued by a passing ship, 14 crew remain unaccounted for. One fatality has been so far reported. Continue reading »


Will Indonesia Ore Ban Sink Ships?

 maritime safety news  Comments Off on Will Indonesia Ore Ban Sink Ships?
Apr 232012

A wet stockpile of iron ore

Concerns are arising in the industry that shortcuts will be taken during the countdown to the 5 May ban on raw ore exports leading to a greater chances of liquefaction and loss of ships. Indonesia is a supplier of ore to China and in 2010 three vessels capsized and sank in less than a month with loss of all on board.

Pressure is on to load as much ore as possible before the deadline, which was advanced from 2014. Inevitably that means more pressure on masters and surveyors and a greater temptation to issue fraudulent documents regarding moisture in cargo. While responsible P&I clubs take steps to ensure that their surveyors do a professional job, others have a questionable reputation.

Because water does not compress it can act as a lubricant between finely divided particles. Heavy weather can cause a ‘wet’ cargo to act like a fluid, flowing to one side of the hold then locking in place, a process that can be repeated. The result is, all too often, a unrecoverable, increasing list, one which can capsize a vessel in mere minutes. Continue reading »


Vinalines Queen – “Stark reminder” of risk

 Accident, capsize, Safety Alerts, Sinking  Comments Off on Vinalines Queen – “Stark reminder” of risk
Jan 182012

Vinalines Queen - A "Stark reminde" of risks

Last December’s loss of the supramax bulk carrier Vinalines Queen and 22 of her 23 crew off Northern Luzon in the Philippines is a “a stark reminder of the continuing dangers associated with the carriage of nickel ore” says the London P&I Club, which covered the ship.

On 10 September 2009 another of same company’s vessels, Vinalines Mighty, was forced to return to return to the port of Paradip, India, after loading iron ore fines at the port and developing a list while underway.

Prior to the casualty, last contact with the vessel was whilst on a voyage from Indonesia to China with 54,000 tonnes of ron ore fines.

At 0548 on the morning of 25 December 2011 the master of Vinalines Queen reported a 20 degree list to port with heavy winds and diverted to the Philippines. An hour later the list had reduced to 18 degrees and she was reported to be running to shore.  The master had ordered the crew to the main deck with lifejackets and lifeboats lowered. Continue reading »


Unsafe Ships More Prone To Piracy

 maritime safety news  Comments Off on Unsafe Ships More Prone To Piracy
Jun 252011

Ships that score higher numbers of deficiencies for each port state control inspection are less likely to be able to fight off pirates suggests the latest edition of Intercargo’s Benchmarking Bulk Carriers 2010-11. The findings from the fifth annual statistical survey are not surprising: issues such as lack of situational awareness,  inadequate lookouts, lack of use of available information, under-manning  and not following procedures are as much a characteristic of pirate hijackings as they are of maritime accidents.

While ships entered with Intercargo performed better than industry averages, according to a statement by the organisation, there are concerns related to safety. A reverse of industry consolidation means there are now 1536 dry bulk companies compared to 1313 a year previously and The growth of shipping flagged or owned in China means that 50.01 per cent of all dry bulk shipping is now Asian. Greater flag consolidation means that nearly 93% of the fleet is now under just 11 flags.

However, that growth has introduced new players and, says Intercargo: “There is potential for inexperienced companies to adversely impact on safety trends”. Continue reading »


Withholding Accurate Cargo Declarations Threatens Dry Bulkers – Intercargo

 bulk carrier, hazardous cargo  Comments Off on Withholding Accurate Cargo Declarations Threatens Dry Bulkers – Intercargo
May 302011

A wet stockpile of iron ore

Last year’s loss of three dry bulkers in just 39 days with the loss of 44 lives, many of them Chinese highlighted the confusion, ignorance and deliberate misrepresentation


To ship dry bulk cargoes safely it is vital that ship’s masters receive clear, accurate and reliable information on the properties and characteristics of cargoes and the required conditions for safe carriage and handling. This is a SOLAS requirement reinforced in significant detail in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), mandatory since 1 January, 2011. But there is increasing evidence that this is not happening in every case.

The consequences of failing to meet these requirements were seen last year when 44 seafarers lost their lives within 39 days in three casualties: Jian Fu Star (27 October: 13 fatalities); Nasco Diamond (10 November: 21 fatalities) and Hong Wei (3 December: 10 fatalities).

Typical problems experienced by our members include:

Using cargo trade names and not the Bulk Cargo Shipping Name (BCSN);

Confusing cargo identification and correct identification of cargo group – whether a

cargo is a Group A (prone to liquefaction), Group B (representing a chemical hazard)

or Group C (not prone to liquefaction or representing a chemical hazard) – for

example declaring a cargo as a Group C cargo (not prone to liquefaction) but

providing a Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) indicating that the cargo is prone to


Obtaining accurate and reliable data, particularly moisture content of Group A

cargoes, determined in accordance with IMSBC Code procedures.

Obtaining correct documentation for cargoes not listed in the IMSBC Code. Cargoes

not listed in the Code should be carried under the clear provisions of Section 1.3 of the IMSBC Code, with the competent authority of the port of loading providing the master with a certificate stating the characteristics of the cargo and the required conditions for carriage.

Intercargo believes that these problems stem, in part, from confusion or ignorance concerning the application of the IMSBC Code or in some circumstances malicious misrepresentation.

“If we are to prevent further casualties it is essential that all parties involved in the

transportation of dry bulk cargoes understand and implement the provision of the IMSBC Code, most crucially providing accurate and reliable cargo declarations” says Ian Harrison, Intercargo technical manager.

Issues raised at MSC 89

It is in this context that Intercargo welcomed a proposal from China submitted to the 89th session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) held 11-20 May, in response to the loss of Chinese seafarers in last year’s three casualties. Intercargo submitted a paper, co-sponsored by BIMCO supporting the main proposals in particular: developing a scheme for ensuring reliable independent sampling, testing and certification of cargoes; and enhancing education for ship and shore personnel involved with the shipment of dry bulk cargoes with an emphasis on accurate cargo declarations to ensure only ‘safe’ cargo is loaded.

The MSC agreed to forward these papers for further consideration of the proposals to the Sub-committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC) that will meet in September 2011.

Intercargo also supported a proposal at MSC 89 to allow more time for the on-going

development and updating of the IMSBC Code through the use of an Editorial and Technical group. The Committee agreed to modify the existing E&T group’s terms of reference (considering IMDG Code amendments) to include consideration of the IMSBC Code amendments.

“We welcome the commitment to safety shown by IMO in dedicating more time to IMSBC Code amendments and the widespread support of member states to consider the development of independent sampling, testing and certification for dry bulk cargoes” added Intercargo technical manager, Ian Harrison.


Aide-Memoire For Iron Ore Cargoes – Chinese Buyers Should Twist Supplier Arms

 capsize, Safety Alerts, Sinking  Comments Off on Aide-Memoire For Iron Ore Cargoes – Chinese Buyers Should Twist Supplier Arms
Feb 212011

Iro ore not so fines

Liquefaction of nickel and iron ores due to excess moisture continues to cost lives. One solution would be for Chinese importers to exercise their influence over their suppliers with a bit more vigour says the UK P&I Club, which has published a pocket-sized brochure to act as an aide-memoire when loading such cargoes.

Marine insurers are determined to keep the subject of dangerous bulk cargoes, and in particular nickel ores and iron ore fines, high on the Loss Prevention agenda. The UK Club’s latest initiative is an aide-mémoire for shipowners and shipmanagers in the form of a pocket leaflet that can be kept handy when a vessel is chartered to load such a cargo.
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