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THE UNIVERSITY OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

UNIVERSITY OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Q&A
With respect to IMO code of safe practice for ships carrying solid cargo in
bulk and Code Of Safe Working Practice for seamen (COSWP);

a) Describe in details the preparation of cargo holds prior to loading coal in


bulk.
Answer:
Before loading cargo:
i) Bilge wells should be cleaned, residual cargoes removed, suction tested and
covered with taped down double wrapped burlap.
ii) Hatch top wheels and associated equipment should be greased to ensure
that no sparks are caused during opening and closing.
iii) Electrical cables, cargo hold lights and any other electrical instruments
within cargo holds should be checked for insulation damage to ensure that
they are safe for use in an atmosphere containing explosive gases.
On bulk carriers, as no lighting is needed, the fuses should be pulled to isolate
electricity.
iv) Ships that carry coal are required to carry instruments to measure:
a) Methane, oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in cargo holds
b) cargo hold temperature (between 0-100C)
c) the pH of bilge water.

The installation of these instruments or the taking of measurements, should be


possible without entering the cargo space. Arrangements should also be made
to calibrate and test the instruments.
Extra monitoring should be implemented when coal is loaded in holds
adjacent to hot areas, such as heated fuel DB tanks and engine room
bulkheads.
The ideal place to monitor the temperature of the load is the centre of the
stow. If the temperature is measured from the side, top or corners of the hold
it must be remembered that the temperature at the centre of the cargo will be
several degrees higher.
A no smoking policy should be fully implemented on the ship and hot work
should not be allowed, particularly in the vicinity of cargo compartments.
Except where the shipper provides specific instructions to ventilate the cargo,
compartments containing coal should only be ventilated for the first 24 hours
after departure from the loading port.
b) Identify the hazards and precautions when loading, carrying and
discharging coal in bulk
Answer:
Loading ;
Coal may heat spontaneously and that some coals may be liable to self heating
which could lead to spontaneous combustion.
Cargo temperature is to be monitored (not more than 40 c deg), the methane
content to be monitored (not excess of 10% of the LEL). In this respect, please
be guided that your vessel is provided with the necessary instruments to
calibrate.
The ship shall be kept upright during loading of this cargo. This cargo shall be
so trimmed to the boundaries of the cargo space that the angle of the surface
of the cargo with horizontal plane does not exceed 25 deg. This cargo shall be
kept as dry as practicable. This cargo shall not be handled during
precipitation.
Vessels shipping coal should at all times carry on board instruments for
measuring methane, oxygen and carbon monoxide gas concentrations, so that

the atmosphere within the cargo space can be monitored. sensor. However,
additional guidance should be sought from the manufacturer of the instrument.
Bilge precautions: Bilge wells shall be clean, dry and covered as appropriate,
to prevent ingress of the cargo.
Hazard: Coal May be create flammable atmospheres, may heat spontaneously,
may deplete the oxygen concentration, may corroded metal structures. Can
liquefy if predominantly fine 75% less than 5 mm coal.
Weather precautions: Unless the vessel is specially constructed, the Moisture
content of the cargo shall be kept less that TML during voyage.
Stowage & segregation: This Cargo shall be separate from goods of classes
1,2,3,4,5 n IMDG
Ventilation: Follow the special precautions in IMDG
Hold cleanliness: Clean and Dry as relevant to the hazards of the cargo.
Special Precautions
Coal emitting methane
Self-heating coals
field self-unloading bulk carrier
Carriage:
In respect of coals liable to spontaneous heating, the Code recommends that
the hatches should be closed immediately after completion of loading in each
cargo space. The atmosphere in the cargo spaces should be monitored and, if
the carbon monoxide level shows a steady increase then the cargo spaces
should be completely closed down. The covers could also be additionally
sealed with suitable sealing tapes.
Discharge: No special requirement

c) What procedures need to be implemented , Should it become necessary


to enter a cargo hold loaded with bulk coal,
Answer:
Entry to cargo spaces
Coal will oxidize, and this oxidation process
removes oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere. The oxygen content of a
normal atmosphere is 20.8%.
Tests of the atmosphere in a sealed hold carrying a coal cargo have
indicated an oxygen content less than 4%. It is thus essential that
prior to entry into a cargo space or a neighbouring confined space that
suitable test procedures are followed. Appropriate recommendations
are detailed in Appendix F of the IMO BC Code.
The importance of this test procedure cannot be over emphasised. We
still learn of loss of life through entry into cargo spaces and confined
spaces without prior testing of the atmosphere.
However, it is encouraging to note that at least one major exporting
terminal will not commence loading a coal cargo until they are
satisfied that the vessel is equipped with the relevant test apparatus
and persons trained in the use of the apparatus.
If the shipper has declared that the cargo is liable to self-heat, then the
following additional precautions should be taken:
If required, the Master should seek additional guidance from the shipper on
the adequacy of the existing precautions
if analysis of the atmosphere of the cargo compartment indicates an increased
carbon monoxide concentration, then
i) the hatch covers should be closed after loading and additional seals applied
ii) surface ventilation should be kept to minimum
iii) carbon monoxide concentration should be regularly measured and
recorded
iv) if the hold temperature exceeds 55C or the carbon monoxide
concentration rises steadily, expert advice should be sought

If there is a fire or self-heating has progressed to an advanced state, the Vessel


should:
Close all ventilation to the holds
Commence boundary cooling of the affected holds and
consider heading towards the nearest port as a refuge
The P&I Club should be notified without delay as an
emergency response may need to be triggered including
the attendance of an expert
Ensure all spaces adjacent to the holds are checked prior
to entry and that no-one enters confined spaces without
confirming that it is safe to do so
Provide Owners and the P&I Club with all
As last action, release CO2 into concerned hold and head for a port of refuge
to seek shore assistance.

During voyage, it is noticed that cargo temperature is increasing regularly and


nearing +55 degrees.
a)

List the course of action you will take onboard.

Answer:
If the shipper has declared that the cargo is liable to self-heat, then the
following additional precautions should be taken:
If required, the Master should seek additional guidance from the shipper on
the adequacy of the existing precautions
if analysis of the atmosphere of the cargo compartment indicates an increased
carbon monoxide concentration, then
i) the hatch covers should be closed after loading and additional seals applied
ii) surface ventilation should be kept to minimum
iii) carbon monoxide concentration should be regularly measured and
recorded

iv) if the hold temperature exceeds 55C or the carbon monoxide


concentration rises steadily, expert advice should be sought.

b) In case your actions listed in (a) does not remedy the situation, list
further action necessary.
Answer:
If there is a fire or self-heating has progressed to an advanced state, the Vessel
should:
Close all ventilation to the holds
Commence boundary cooling of the affected holds and
consider heading towards the nearest port as a refuge
The P&I Club should be notified without delay as an
emergency response may need to be triggered including
the attendance of an expert
Ensure all spaces adjacent to the holds are checked prior
to entry and that no-one enters confined spaces without
confirming that it is safe to do so
Provide Owners and the P&I Club with all
As last action, release CO2 into concerned hold and head for a port of refuge
to seek shore assistance.