Check declarations before loading Indonesian iron ore fines, advises North

North had reminded members with vessels fixed to load bulk iron ore fines cargo in Indonesia to make sure they receive the necessary documentation for carrying Group A cargoes in good time before loading commences.

The Club noted that recently a vessel had arrived in Indonesia to load a cargo of iron ore fines (IOF).

However, following the receipt of the declaration and accompanying certificates, concerns arose with the shipper’s sampling and testing methods.

It was noted that:

  • there was potentially insufficient number of samples drawn to be representative of the full cargo;
  • the flow table method was used to determine the transportable moisture limit (TML);
  • Section 4.64 of the IMSBC Code provides detailed advice on the number and weight of samples required for concentrate cargoes but is less detailed with regard to unprocessed ores such as IOF. The sampling procedure for concentrates does, however, provide a useful guideline for other Group A cargoes.

North reminded members that appendix 2 of the IMSBC Code listed the test procedures for materials that were in danger of liquefying, one of which was the flow table test. However, the results of a flow table test were open to subjective interpretation and, consequently, potential accuracy issues.

The list also includes a procedure dedicated to testing IOF – the ‘Modified Proctor Fagerberg test for Iron Ore Fines’. North said that this test was recommended in order to achieve more reliable results and allow greater confidence in the resultant TML.

The Club concluded that “early identification of any documentary discrepancies or concerns is key to providing a timely resolution before loading and therefore minimising delays”. It said that calling vessels should ensure that they received the shipper’s declaration and test certificates well in advance to address any issues.