IMSBC Code amendments come into force from 1 January 2021

IMSBC Code amendments come into force from 1 January 2021
IMSBC Code amendments come into force from 1 January 2021

As Amendment 05-19 of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code comes into force on 1 January 2021, here are some of the changes outlined in more detail. The IMSBC Code amendments happen every two years to reflect the changes in the nature and variety of solid bulk cargoes presented for shipment. In June 2019, IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee adopted Resolution MSC.462 (101) specifying forthcoming IMSBC Code amendments (05-19).

Bauxite cargoes are subject to change with and the new criteria distinguishing a bauxite cargo that may liquefy (Group A) from one that will not (Group C).

The work of the Global Bauxite Working Group culminated in the revision of the Group C bauxite schedule and a new Group A bauxite fines schedule, together with a new testing procedure developed just for bauxite cargoes.

Some notable developments in the new Amendment 05-19 of the IMSBC Code relating to bauxite cargoes are as follows:
– The particle size distribution (PSD) formula is the new criteria that distinguishes a Group A bauxite cargo from a Group C one;
– When PSD can be irrelevant;
– When a Group A bauxite can become a Group C bauxite cargo;
– New testing procedure for bauxite cargoes;

PSD criteria and Group A and C bauxite cargoes

A bauxite cargo will be classified as Group A if it has the following PSD formula:
– more than 30% of fine particles less than 1 mm (D30 < 1 mm); and
– more than 40% of particles less than 2.5 mm (D40 < 2.5 mm).

The Group C bauxite cargo schedule has been revised to include the above PSD criteria.

A bauxite cargo can only be classified as Group C under any of the 4 scenarios:
– It has 30% or less of fine particles less than 1 mm (D30 ≥ 1 mm);
– It has 40% or less of particles less than 2.5 mm (D40 ≥ 2.5 mm);
– It has both of the above;
– Freely draining cargo.

Freely draining cargo – PSD irrelevant

The PSD is irrelevant if the shipper is able to provide the master with a certificate, in accordance with the result of the test approved by the competent authority of the port of loading, stating that the moisture of the cargo freely drains from the cargo so that the degree of saturation is not liable to reach 70%. When such a certificate is produced, the bauxite cargo can be classified as a Group C bauxite cargo.

When a Group A bauxite can become a Group C bauxite cargo

Even if a Group A cargo meets the PSD criteria as set out in the Group A bauxite schedule, it can still be classified as a Group C if the shipper is able to provide the master with the certificate as mentioned above.

New testing Procedure for Bauxite

A new testing procedure developed just for bauxite cargoes can be found in Appendix 2 (Laboratory test procedures, associated apparatus and standards) of the new Amendment 05-19. It is called the modified Proctor/Fageberg test procedure for bauxite.

This new procedure works as follows:
– The transportable moisture limit (TML) of a cargo is taken as equal to the critical moisture content at 80% degree of saturation where the optimum moisture content (OMC) of the bauxite tested occurs at saturation levels greater than or equal to 90%.
– The TML of a cargo is taken as equal to the critical moisture content at 70% degree of saturation where the OMC of the bauxite occurs at saturation levels less than 90%.
– Where moisture freely drains from the sample such that the test sample compaction curve cannot extend to or beyond 70% saturation, the test is taken to indicate a cargo where water passes easily through the spaces between particles. Therefore, the cargo is not liable to liquefy.

Even though this is a new procedure, section 8 of the IMSBC Code stipulates that it is ultimately the competent authority in the country of origin of the cargo that determines the procedure for testing of moisture content and TML of a cargo. Only in the absence of such test procedures, the Appendix 2 test procedures as appropriate for the cargo in question are recommended.

Additionally there are changes to the Seed cake entries in the IMSBC Code

Regarding the Seed cake, there is no longer a seed cake entry that originally carried a Bulk Cargo Shipping Name (BCSN) “Seed cake (non-hazardous)”. This was a Group C entry, namely an entry containing seed cake cargoes that do not liquefy (Group A) nor possess a chemical hazard (Group B). It will be replaced by the following schedule that carries a new BCSN: “Seed cakes and other residues of processed oily vegetables”.

This is still a Group C schedule but covering a wider range of products apart from seed cakes. Traditionally seed cakes cover only residual products of oil-bearing seeds manufactured using a solvent extraction or mechanically expelled process.

This new Group C entry covers any residual product that is made from seed, grain, cereal, fruit or vegetables and through any chemical process.

For the cargo in question to be classified as a Group C cargo under this new schedule, the following requirements have to be met:
– It does not meet the dangerous goods criteria under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code’s classification of dangerous goods (see 9.2.2 of the IMSBC Code);
– It does not meet the criteria for materials hazardous only in bulk ( MHB) ( see 9.2.3 of the IMSBC Code);
– It is substantially free from flammable solvents or other flammable chemicals.

The way for the above requirements to be met are not specifically mentioned in the schedule but it is expected that some type of official certification will be required similar to what is required for the revised seed cakes UN 1386 and UN 2217 schedules in the form of a certificate recognised by a competent authority at the country of shipment.

In addition, a new Group B, MHB seed cake schedule carrying BCSN “Seed cakes and other residues of processed oily vegetables”, has been introduced under this Amendment. This schedule aims to capture all those products that do not meet the criteria for dangerous goods as per IMDG Code classification but yet fulfill the MHB criteria for self-heating (SH) properties.

As for the revised Seed cakes UN 1386 and UN 2217 schedules, the exempted cargoes have been renamed as “excluded” cargoes in the above-mentioned seed cake schedules. The excluded cargoes remain valid under the revised entry. The shipper will need to produce a certificate recognised by the competent authority at the country of shipment stating the oil and moisture content of these excluded seed cakes for them to qualify as such.

For these excluded cargoes to be classified as Group C, the shipper will need to comply with additional certificate requirements as mentioned in the Group C schedule that are applicable to them. Essentially, the shipper will need to produce a certificate, recognised by the competent authority of the country of shipment, stating that the requirements for exclusion from either the schedule for SEED CAKE UN 1386 (b) or UN 2217, whichever is applicable, are met and that the material does not meet the MHB (SH) criteria specified in 9.2.3.3.

Download the report of the maritime safety committee on its 101st session: Consolidated_version_of_the_iMSBC__Amendment_05_19_

Read another article involving bulk cargoes: Best practice guidelines to reduce the risk of cargo liquefaction before and during loading published

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