Cargo misdeclaration causing Maputo problems

North of England Club has warned members that incorrectly declared chrome concentrate bulk cargoes were causing confusion during loading in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The Club said that shippers exporting chrome-based bulk cargoes from Mozambique were using “several different terms” to describe the cargo, which had led to inaccuracies in describing the actual cargo and could lead to the ship’s crew thinking a cargo was safe when it was at risk of liquefying.

North said that terms commonly used by shippers included chrome ore, chromite ore, chrome ore concentrate and chrome concentrate. These had been used interchangeably by some shippers as if they were describing one type of cargo, whereas in fact they were two very different types of cargo:

  1. Chromite ore is an unprocessed commodity and is a listed schedule in the IMSBC Code. It is a Group C cargo which means it should not liquefy.
  2. Chrome concentrate is an ore that has undergone some form of processing and would ordinarily come under the Mineral Concentrates schedule in the IMSBC Code. It is a Group A cargo which means there is a risk of liquefaction. North said that for these cargoes the cargo declaration should be accompanied by laboratory test certificates for moisture content (MC) and transportable moisture limit (TML) in accordance with the IMSBC Code.

North warned Members that cargo quality, with particular regard to moisture content, varied between different shippers as did the accuracy in describing the cargoes.

North said that it had been led to understand that that stockpiles of these cargoes were uncovered and were therefore exposed to the elements, increasing the risk of liquefaction. If there had been significant rainfall, Members were advised to ensure that the shipper re-tested stockpiles for moisture content and provided new certificates accordingly.

North further warned that the reliability of TML and MC certification provided had from some shippers been suspect, with subsequent re-testing by an owner’s appointed laboratory often providing “very different results”.

North said that Members should not rely on shippers’ test results and should be suspicious of any speedily re-issued test certificates.