Silver nitrate testing of cargo holds for carriage of steel cargoes

American Club has noted that silver nitrate testing for the presence of sodium chloride (salt) in cargo holds prior to loading was an important practice to prevent claims for damage to steel cargoes.

The Club emphasized that, as part of the standard pre-load survey for transporting steel cargoes, “vessel cargo hold tank tops, adjacent sides, and end plating should be tested for the presence of salt by using a silver nitrate solution”.

However, the Club observed that, in most ports within the People’s Republic of China (PRC), direct access to vessels by Association approved surveyors had been restricted. As a result of the recent easing of the PRC’s zero-Covid policy restrictions, it was expected that there would be a similar easing of restrictions in ports in the coming months. “In the meantime, vessel crews are recommended to perform such tests where surveyors are not able to attend prior to loading of the steel cargo. This will allow the crew to determine if there are cargo hold locations that should be cleaned further or covered in tarpaulins to prevent contact between sodium chloride affected areas and the cargo.”

American Club said that members should consider:

  1. ensuring enough silver nitrate is available on board;
  2. establishing procedures to guide the crew as to which key locations in the cargo holds that should be tested; and
  3. establishing guidelines for the crew to follow in the event of positive silver nitrate test results.