Skuld warns on nickel ore liquefaction risk

Skuld has noted thatin the nickel ore regions of Indonesia and the Philippines the rainy season starts in June and lasts until November. The September-October typhoon season in the Philippines was of particular concern. Skuld said that it was monitoring entered vessels that load nickel ore in the region. It said that it had observed an increase in the amount of rain-affected cargo.

Skuld said that it recently had nickel ore liquefaction issue on an entered vessel. She loaded nickel ore in the Philippines and two days later cargo liquefaction occurred when facing a tropical storm. The Master reported that the cargo in holds number 1 and 2 had liquefied, and the depth of the liquefaction was about 70cm from the cargo surface. The cargo in holds number 3 and 4 had slid to the portside and the vessel was listing about seven degrees to port.

The Master had taken immediate actions by adjusting the course and speed and correcting ballasting to better stabilise the vessel. Luckily the weather improved, and the vessel successfully proceeded to her discharge port, where she safely arrived on August 5th

Now, however. the 52,000 dwt, Panama-flagged, nickel ore-carrying Nur Allya has been missing since August 20th when she was underway along the northern coast of Buru Island. A major search operation involving air and sea assets had regrettably found no sign of the missing vessel or crew.

INTERCARGO was once again urging shipowners, operators and crew to exercise extreme caution when loading nickel ore and other cargoes that had the potential to liquefy.

Members and masters were advised to take extreme caution when loading nickel ore in the region of Indonesia and the Philippines.

The following actions were recommended:

  • The compulsory notification requirements set out by the P&I clubs must be complied with prior to arriving at the load port, and a preloading survey is highly recommended.
  • Always obtain the required cargo documentation from the shippers in advance (Shippers Cargo Declaration, TML & MC certificates) so that it can be checked.
  • Ensure that all safety precautions outlined in the IMSBC Code are followed.
  • The cargo and loading should be closely monitored and well controlled by a Can Test and any wet cargo must be rejected.
  • The passage of the vessel to her discharging port should be well assessed and planned to minimise motions of the vessel (e.g. rolling and pitching etc.). Heavy weather (e.g. wind force BF 7 or above) should be avoided.
  • Ensure that your C/Ps have BIMCO Charterparty clauses for solid bulk cargoes that can liquefy.
  • If the weather permits, check the condition of the cargo in the holds daily and notify your club immediately if anything abnormal is found.