October 27, 2016

Local correspondents in the Philippines have reported recent cases of nickel ore cargo being loaded in a wet condition which can lead to liquefaction and the associated dangers. The situation has been complicated by the recent heavy rains in the Philippines. There is also pressure from some of the local mining interests, with examples of surveyors being threatened for taking samples and also being pressurised into passing barges as acceptable for loading.

Members are advised to exercise extreme caution when loading nickel ore in the area. Ship’s staff should closely monitor all cargo loading operations and seek expert advice if the cargo appears to be wet, if a can test indicates any signs of liquefaction or if there is excessive cargo splatter on the cargo hold bulkheads. Cargo documentation should also be carefully checked and, in accordance with the IMSBC Code, cargo sampling and testing for moisture content should be conducted as near as practicable to the time of loading, particularly if there has been significant rain between the time of testing and loading.

Mandatory notification requirement

Whilst it remains the Members’ responsibility to ensure full compliance with the IMSBC Code and to take any measures necessary to ensure the safe carriage of nickel ore cargoes, Members who plan to fix or charter a ship to load nickel ore from ports in the Philippines, or where under an existing fixture a ship is ordered to load such cargo, are reminded of the mandatory requirement that they contact the Managers at the earliest opportunity. This will enable the Managers to provide Members with relevant information on any measures that might be taken to reduce the risk, as set out in our previous circular and bulletins, such as the appointment of a local surveyor to assist the Master, and if required, the appointment of an expert to liaise and supervise the local surveyor throughout.

Members are also advised to contact local correspondents immediately if they experience any problems.

For further information please refer to the bulletin and circular issued July 2015 and May 2012, respectively.