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Web alert: Australia's implementation of draft IMSBC Code amendments

07 January 2014

A new iron ore fines schedules to the IMSBC code was agreed at the IMO DSC18 meeting in September 2013 governing the carriage of iron ore fines by sea. The draft schedule was presented to the DSC meeting as a joint proposal by the Brazilian and Australian competent authorities and a group of industry bodies led by the International Group of P&I Clubs. The draft was based on the outcome of a wide ranging research project undertaken jointly by Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Vale on the behavior of iron ore fines cargoes carried by sea, which itself had been independently reviewed by Imperial College, London and Minton, Treharne and Davies (MTD), in order to ensure that the basis for the new schedule was based on sound and impartial scientific research.

The International Group coordinated the Imperial College/MTD review of the research work and also led the industry representation on this specific matter at the IMO DSC18 meeting. The conclusion of this work represents a successful outcome to the concerns previously raised by the International Group with regard to the carriage of iron ore fines by sea from certain jurisdictions. Although the new draft schedule will be mandatory in all SOLAS States Parties from 1 January 2017, IMO circular DSC.1/Circ.71 invites States to voluntarily implement the new draft schedule and test procedures as soon as possible.

Australia has accepted DSC 18’s invitation to voluntarily implement the draft schedule and test procedures as soon as possible via the issuing of an exemption certificate. Exemption Certificate 5186 was issued by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)  on 12 December 2013 and offers exemption from compliance with the provisions of the NAVIGATION Act 2012 Sub paragraph 7.2(a) and 7.2 (b) of Marine Order 34 (solid bulk cargoes) 2007,  Exemption Certificate 5186 is attached to this web alert for the benefit of members.