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– In a joint project, leading international classification society Bureau Veritas and  TMC Marine, a Bureau Veritas Group Company since 2016, have cooperated with London P& I Club to produce new guidance to support vessels planning to carry cargoes that may liquefy.

These cargoes are ore fines and concentrates, notably from south-east Asian load ports. Under certain conditions these cargoes may be prone to liquefaction. Such liquefaction can lead to a ‘free surface effect’ in cargo holds, causing a cargo shift, and a subsequent rapid loss of vessel stability which can lead to foundering and, all too often, high loss of life. In such circumstances, between 2010 and 2013, several bulk carriers were lost in Asian waters.

The purpose of the new booklet is to provide general guidance and practical advice to masters, ship owners, shippers and charterers on the loading and the carriage of bulk cargoes which may liquefy, the risks associated with liquefaction and the precautions that can be taken to minimize these risks. It is not intended to replace IMO regulations and guidance notes or documentation forming part of a vessel’s safety management system; the guidance is a practical tool for all involved in the trade of such cargoes – including iron ore fines, copper, manganese, nickel and zinc concentrates. 

Amélie Labbé, Manager Casualty, Damages and Repairs Section of Bureau Veritas says that the risk of liquefaction continues to be relevant today in 2017. ‘We consider it is important that all involved in the carriage of these cargoes have an easy to use, concise guide to the risks involved and, importantly, the risk management tools that can reduce the risk of loading cargoes which may liquefy. This is our first such project with TMC Marine and the London P&I Club. We look forward to the possibility of future projects.

Carl Durow, Loss Prevention Manager at The London P&I Club says ‘As bulk carriers represent a significant proportion of the tonnage entered in the London P&I Club, we are particularly interested in the production of advice which assists the better understanding of how liquefaction occurs and its effect on the stability of a ship. Key decision makers are generally to be found on-board ship in these cases and the advice contained in this booklet, produced in association with Bureau Veritas and TMC Marine Consultants, is aimed primarily at seafarers. We look forward to the opportunity to co-operate on similar practical loss prevention publications in the future.’

Capt. Yusuf Soomro, a Director of TMC Marine, said that TMC were very pleased to have applied their long experience of investigating shipping casualties to this worthwhile project, and look forward to further such cooperation in the future.

Communiqué du Bureau Veritas, 5/04/2017

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