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International maritime dangerous goods code (IMDG code)

The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code was adopted by IMO resolution A.716(17) and published in 1965. Was recommended to governments for adoption or for use as the basis for national regulations in pursuance of obligations under SOLAS regulation VII/1.4 and MARPOL Annex III regulation 1(3). It contains basic principles; detailed requirements for individual substances, materials and articles; and a number of recommendations for good operational practice including advice on terminology, packing, labelling, stowage, segregation and handling, and emergency response action.

It does not include all details of procedures for packing of dangerous goods or actions to take in the event of an emergency or accident involving personnel who handle goods at sea; these aspects are covered by the publications associated with the IMDG Code and which are included in the Supplement.

The two volume IMDG Code is divided into seven parts.

Volume 1 contains the following Parts:

• Part 1: general provisions, definitions, training;
• Part 2: classification;
• Part 4: packing and tank provisions;
• Part 5: consignment procedures;
• Part 6: construction and testing of packagings, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), large packagings, portable tanks and road tank vehicles; and
• Part 7: provisions concerning transport operations.

Volume 2 contains:

• Part 3: Dangerous Goods List and limited quantities exceptions;
• Appendix A: List of generic and N.O.S. (not otherwise specified) proper shipping names;
• Appendix B: Glossary of terms; and
• Index.

The Supplement is published separately by IMO and contains the following texts related to the IMDG Code:

• Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (The EmS Guide);
• Medical First Aid Guide for use in Accidents Involving Dangerous Goods;
• Reporting Procedures;
• IMO/ILO/UN ECE Guidelines for Packing Cargo Transport Units;
• International Code for the Safe Carriage of Packaged Irradiated Nuclear Fuel, Plutonium and High-Level Radioactive Wastes on board Ships (INF Code);
• Recommendations on the Safe Use of Pesticides;
• Appendix: Resolutions and Circulars referred to in the IMDG Code and Supplement.

Offshore supply vessels (OSVs) guideline

Offshore supply vessels (OSVs) are required to carry a variety of dangerous goods including those in packaged form; however, their design does not facilitate easy compliance with the IMDG Code. Furthermore, it has been noted that the backloading process often gives lead to incorrectly stowed and labelled dangerous goods.

MGN 205, which replaced MGN 140, outlines the required standard of compliance with the requirements of the IMDG Code and SOLAS Chapter VII for offshore support vessels (OSVs) utilising only weather deck stowage and goods stowed in offshore containers.

MGN 205 provides that the SOLAS Convention and provisions of the IMDG Code in force at any time will apply, except as given below. IMO Resolution A.863(20) - Code of Practice for the Carriage of Cargoes and Persons by Offshore Supply Vessels should be observed.

OSVs of 500gt and over built after 1 September 1984, and OSVs under 500gt built after 1 February 1992, carrying dangerous goods, must comply with SOLAS regulation II-2/54 regardless of whether the vessel is engaged on international voyages or not.

From 1st January 2001 all OSVs operating in or out of the UK, regardless of date of build or voyage definition, are required to carry a Document of Compliance.

It is known that the particular construction and design features of OSVs do not make for easy compliance with SOLAS 74 Chapter II-2/54. However, full compliance is required with regulations 54.2.6 and 52.2.7. The MCA will accept demonstrable equivalence. (The onus is on the operator of the vessel to demonstrate such equivalence.) Some aspects that can be considered are:

• 2.1.2 Amount and throw of water/ foam from fixed monitors/hydrants; and
• Suitable means to provide effective boundary cooling in lieu of A60 boundaries where required in sub paragraph 2.8.

Dangerous goods must be carried in closed offshore containers.

Containers should be built to the standards specified in MSC.Circ. 860 or DNVC 2.7-1 or BS EN 12079 or BS 7072.

Each container should only carry dangerous goods of a single class.

Where the IMDG Code specifies the standard of segregation between containers of incompatible goods to be “Away from” and “separated from” each other, such containers may be stowed adjacent to each other. Where the segregation standard is “separated by a complete compartment or hold from”, such containers should be separated by at least one standard container, either empty or containing non-hazardous goods but not foodstuffs. This relaxation does not apply to goods of Class 1, Class 6.2 or Class 7

The inherent OSV design means goods are generally only transported on deck. If design is such that an under deck space is utilised, then full compliance with the IMDG Code is required and paragraph 4 of this note does not apply.

The general stowage requirements given in Chapter 14 of the Introduction to the IMDG Code will apply in all cases.

It is recommended that containers be placarded on the top surfaces in addition to the sides in order to assist the Master and crew in the event of an emergency.

There have been cases where back-loaded cargoes of dangerous goods have not been delivered and documented in accordance with the regulations. It is the responsibility of the shipper/packer to ensure that back-loaded goods are delivered to the vessel in accordance with the requirements of the IMDG Code. That means correctly declared, stored, labelled, and placarded with the correct documentation. Consideration must also be given to the order of back-loading to ensure that the requirements given in paragraph 6 can be complied with. In this case the shipper is the Offshore Installation Manager. Any incidents of incorrectly delivered or documented back-loads identified will be pursued rigorously with a view to prosecution.

OSVs must comply with the requirements of the MS (Reporting Requirements for Ships Carrying Dangerous or Polluting Goods) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2498), as amended.

Other useful articles :
  1. Transport of dangerous goods at sea

  2. No packaged dangerous goods may be offered for carriage or taken aboard any ship unless a dangerous goods declaration or marine pollutants declaration (or a combined declaration) has been given to the master or operator as per the the MS (Dangerous Goods and Marine Pollutants) regulations 1997 .
    More .....

  3. Hazardous cargoes -loading precautions /monitoring

  4. Check the details of the goods including the labelling, the respective UN Number, the condition of the package, together with any special stowage requirements prior to loading the cargo.
    More .....

  5. IMDG code

  6. IMDG code brief guideline & regulatory requirement
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  7. The documents of compliance (DOC)for carrying dangerous goods

  8. Document of Compliance (regulation 22) applies to: • passenger ships built on or after 1 September 1984; • cargo ships of 500gt or over built on or after 1 September 1984; and • cargo ships of less than 500gt built on or after 1 February 1992.
    More .....

  9. Gas detection equipment

  10. An appropriate instrument for measuring the concentration of gas or oxygen in the air must be provided together with detailed instructions for its use. The instrument must be of a type approved by a Certifying Authority, and the crew must be trained in its use..
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