The UK P&I Club has issued an advisory about the liquefaction risks of nickel ore cargos, after a bulker belonging to one of its members listed on 15 July.
The club was referring to Malaysian Bulk Carriers’ Supramax bulker Alam Manis, which listed three days after loading nickel ore in Surigao, Philippines.
The ship was en route to Lianyungang, China, when it began listing. It proceeded to San Fernando in north Luzon but the crew evacuated the vessel when the listing worsened on 17 July. All but one of the 21 crew members survived.
UK P&I advised that with the monsoon season now on in the Philippines, nickel ore cargoes could become vulnerable to liquefaction, posing risks for ships carrying such cargoes.
The club said, “The rainy season in Philippines officially started on 23 June this year. The heavy rains combined with the strong winds and rough seas experienced in South China Sea lately bring forward, once again, concerns about cargo liquefaction.”
Under the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code, nickel ore is already classed as Group A cargo, meaning it may liquefy.
All nickel ore shippers should provide Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) and Moisture Content (MC) Certificates.
On receiving the certificates, ship masters should make sure that the date on which the samples for determining the moisture content were taken is no more seven days before the actual loading.
UK P&I said, “Furthermore, they (masters) should ensure that the actual port of loading is the same as the port for which the certificates were issued.”
Masters and crew members should also conduct frequent and regular tests and watch out for cargo splatter marks on the bulkheads, shell plating and hatch coamings.
They should also look out for water dripping from the cargo, said UK P&I.