DNV GL tackles cargo liquefaction threat

26 Oct 2015
The guideline aims to raise the awareness of the risks of liquefaction

The guideline aims to raise the awareness of the risks of liquefaction

Class society DNV GL has published design and operational guidelines to tackle what it argues is the "most significant factor in lives lost at sea" for bulk carriers.

The guideline aims to raise the awareness of the risks of liquefaction and describes mitigating actions to reduce these risks. Many common bulk cargoes have the potential to transform into an almost fluid state which threatens the stability of the vessel.

Morten Løvstad, business director of bulk carriers at DNV GL, said: “While the general safety level of modern bulk carriers has been significantly improved over the last decades, recent incidents have shown that cargo liquefaction remains a major safety issue.”

The guidelines focus on both the operational and design aspects of cargo liquefaction. A number of recommendations are made to reduce risk in daily operation, including making sure that cargo is correctly identified and properly documented, as well as ensuring the time interval between testing for moisture content and loading is more than seven days.

The design guidelines look at the potential of carrying cargoes with high moisture content onboard specially constructed or fitted ships, in compliance with the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code. This means the vessels can remain safe both from a stability and strength point of view even if the cargo liquefies or shifts.

Løvstad said: “Under the IMSBC code such vessels must have permanent structural boundaries or specially designed portable divisions to confine any shift or liquefaction of cargo, but detailed requirements are lacking.

“It is clear, however, that stability and structural strength have to be specially considered, and our guideline sets out criteria for them, based on DNV GL procedures and rules,” he concluded.

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