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IMO Circular on Carriage of Bauxite

All will remember the tragic circumstances of the ‘Bulk Jupiter’ lost with 18 crew whilst carrying a cargo of Bauxite in the opening days of this year.  From the Bahamas investigation report that determined cargo liquefaction as the most probable cause of the loss, it is apparent that the discrepancies between the cargo properties declared and the properties of the actual cargo loaded on board were contributory to the incident as a false sense of security for the safety of the cargo would have prevailed.

The most recent meeting of IMO’s Carriage of Cargoes and Containers Sub-Committee agreed that special care needed to be taken whilst carrying Bauxite on board ships and emphasised the need for immediate action in order to prevent further loss of lives.  To this end a circular was agreed to further raise awareness of the possible dangers for liquefaction with the carriage of Bauxite and providing guidance to the Master on the acceptability of Bauxite cargoes.  It should be noted that it is stressed that if there is reason to doubt that the cargo being loaded is consistent with the shipper’s declaration then the Master should stop loading and have the shipper verify the properties of the cargo.

IMO is currently investigating the hazards and risks associated with the carriage of Bauxite with ongoing work in a correspondence group; the outcome of this work is envisaged to result in a change to the IMO IMSBC Code schedule for Bauxite and the circular is intended as an interim action.

The circular attached has recently been released in its final form as an official IMO circular (CCC.1/Circ.2).  It is noted that the draft circular was circulated to the INTERCARGO Technical Committee Members following its agreement during CCC2, however it is felt that the fundamental importance of awareness of the potential dangers with this cargo cannot be over stressed, especially now that in many areas associated with the export of Bauxite the monsoon season is beginning.