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2019 March 15 18:29

IMO strengthens coal moister control

The International Maritime Organization7 has introduced amendments to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMBC Code) concerning the criteria under which coal cargoes are considered Group A, i.e. liable to liquefy. Yevgeny Kolosov, head of the dangerous goods and tare sector, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, told about the amendments at the 2nd Conference “Dangerous Goods: New Transportation Requirements” organized by PortNews Media Group.

The most significant consequence for a vessel resulting from liquefaction is cargo shift leading to loss of stability. Having carried out the research and analyses of incidents caused by the above-mentioned problem IMO has taken a decision to introduce amendments into IMSBC Code according to which coal cargoes are considered as liable to liquefy.

Amendments to the IMSBC Code entered into force on 1 January 2019 (IMO Resolution MSC.426(98)). The IMSBC Code describes coal as a natural, solid, combustible material consisting of amorphous carbon and hydrocarbons. Although coal is best known for its flammable and self-heating properties, certain coal cargoes may also be liable to liquefaction. The amendments to the IMBC Code concern the criteria under which coal cargoes are considered Group A, i.e. liable to liquefy, in addition to the Group B chemical hazards which apply to all coal cargoes, such as potential self-heating or methane emissions. Coal cargoes may therefore require the same TML and moisture certification as other Group A cargoes. The classification of coal has changed so that all coal is to be treated as both Group A and B, unless otherwise tested. This means that all coal cargoes are to be considered as both liable to liquefy and have a chemical hazard - unless they meet the new criteria as detailed in the IMSBC Code.

In the Russian Federation, the organization authorized to issue certificates complying with the IMSBC Code is the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. Information about certification as well as information related to safe transportation of dry bulk cargo is available at the website of RS for all stakeholders. Yevgeny Kolosov reminded that Russia has been carrying out coal classification based on laboratory tests from 2015.

For cargoes that are Group A (and B), shippers can now test the cargo for its Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) using a newly developed test method for coal. As with all Group A cargoes, if the coal has a TML certificate then it must be protected from rain in shore stockpiles and barges during loading, and the moisture content will need to be re-checked after any rain at the load port.