Hazardous cargo loading procedure

Dangerous goods on board

In the event of any dangerous goods or harmful substances being carried aboard the general cargo ship, reference to ‘The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG)’ code (volume 1, 2 and suppliment) should be consulted. Additionally, the Chemical Data Sheets contained in the Tanker Safety Guide (Gas and Chemical) issued by the International Chamber of Shipping may be appropriate.

Such goods/substances must be classified, packaged and labelled in accord with the Merchant Shipping Regulations. Such trailers or vehicles should be given special consideration when being loaded and inspected for leakage prior to loading on the vessel. Such vehicles/containers should also be provided with adequate stowage that will provide good ventilation in the event of leakage whilst in transit, e.g., upper deck stowage, exposed to atmosphere is recommended as a general rule.

Deck Officers should pay particular attention to the securing of such transports to ensure negative movement of the unit. Special attention should also be given to the securing of adjacent units to prevent escalation of cargo shifting in a seaway.Tank vehicles may not necessarily be carrying hazardous goods, but any spillage of the contents could act as a lubricant on surrounding units and generate a major cargo shift on Ro-Ro vessels in heavy seas.

In the event that a cargo parcel/unit is found to be ‘leaking’ or have exposed hazards, the nature of the cargo should be ascertained and personnel kept clear of the immediate area until the degree of hazard is confirmed. In any event the unit should not be accepted for shipment and rejected until satisfactorily contained.

Where a hazardous substance is discovered at sea, to be a threat to personnel, full information should be sought as soon as possible.Any action taken would reflect on the nature of the substance and the emergency actions stipulated in carriage instructions. It may become prudent to seek additional instructions from the manufacturer of the substance and act accordingly.

The shipping procedure for hazardous/dangerous goods is as follows:

1. The shipper is responsible for obtaining the ‘Export Licences’ for the shipment.

2. The shipper would also be responsible for marking and labelling the goods to be shipped in accord with the IMDG Code.

3. The shipper would then be in a position to contact the Shipping Companies Agents and must provide:The Number of packages, their weight, the value, the volume, and any special requirements that may be required for the cargo.

4. Customs clearance would be required, and the goods may be liable to inspection.

5. The bill of lading is also liable to be endorsed, especially if packages are damaged and are rejected.

6. The goods would be listed in the ship’s manifest and on the ship’s cargo plan.

7. Ship’s Officers would 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.

8. Throughout this procedure the Ship’s Master has the right to accept or reject the cargo prior to loading.

Once stowed on board the vessel the IMDG Code requirements would be followed throughout the period of the voyage.

Monitoring of Hazardous Cargoes:
Different operators monitor the shipment of Hazardous Goods in various ways but each vessel needs to be fully aware of the position of the cargo, its class and the emergency procedures that are involved if transport difficulties arise. Ferry operators tend to identify on a cargo stowage outline the position of the ‘special unit’, and the relevant details are recorded once it has arrived for shipment.

Related guideline:

Risk of spillage of dangerous goods on board general cargo ships

What is ISM ? Why it is mandatory for all seagoing cargo ships now?

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