Web alert: steps being taken to tackle liquefaction of Bauxite cargoes - an update from Intercargo

News & Insights 22 July 2015


Following the tragic loss of the Bulk Jupiter earlier this year following the liquefaction of her bauxite cargo, steps are being taken to increase awareness of the nature of Bauxite and prevent such incidents happening again.

Following the tragic loss of the Bulk Jupiter earlier this year following the liquefaction of her bauxite cargo, steps are being taken to increase awareness of the nature of bauxite and prevent such incidents happening again.

Intercargo has submitted a document to the IMO Sub-Committee on the Carriage of Cargoes and Containers with suggested amendments to the Bauxite Schedule. Brazil and Australia have submitted similar papers and are requesting that a correspondence group be convened by the IMO to discuss the on-going study into the carriage of bauxite currently being undertaken in Australia. The intention of this work is to reach a new/amended Bauxite Schedule in the IMSBC Code.

Intercargo’s submission to the IMO proposes the following amendments to the current Bauxite Schedule:

  • any bauxite cargo which does not accord with the schedule description should be appropriately tested for liquefaction properties;
  • if liquefaction properties are found, the relevant TML should be determined and adhered to.

The intention is that these amendments take effect in the intervening period until the results of the Australian/Brazilian studies are available. These amendments are not based on strict scientific fact but should serve to increase concerns over the carriage of bauxite and the risk of liquefaction. The amendments would also address the current issue of bauxite cargoes being incorrectly shipped as ‘Group C’ cargoes.

Intercargo recently visited Kuantan, where the Bulk Jupiter had loaded the bauxite cargo, to discuss the implementation of the IMSBC Code. They found that the majority of the Kuantan cargoes did not comply with the description in the schedule in regards to size distribution and, further, the declared moisture content was invariably well in excess of the description maximum of 10%. There have not been any problems reported in relation to Australian bauxite cargoes. However, caution must be advised in all cases now that we know the liquefaction properties of bauxite, demonstrated so devastatingly in the Bulk Jupiter incident.

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