Applicability: All shipowners and operators involved in the carriage of solid bulk cargoes

Amendments (03-15) to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code will enter into force on 1 January, 2017, and may be implemented voluntarily as of 1 January, 2016.
New cargoes
The amendments introduce new individual schedules with specific carriage requirements for the following Group B cargoes (cargoes which possess a chemical hazard which could give rise to a dangerous situation on a ship):

  • amorphous sodium silicate lumps
  • boric acid
  • wood pellets containing additives and/or binders
  • wood pellets not containing any additives and/or binders.
    Note: The existing individual schedule for wood pellets is deleted.

Certification against the IMSBC Code for cargoes carried is voluntary. Shipowners and operators can request this certification from Lloyd’s Register and include the new cargoes after the application dates.
Other changes to the IMSBC Code
Other changes to the IMSBC Code include the following: 

  • A new test procedure is to be used for determining the TML (Transportable Moisture Limit) of iron ore fines, a Group A cargo which is now included in the Code as it may liquefy if shipped at a moisture content in excess of its TML, and which has been associated with the loss of several vessels in the past years.
  • Shippers will be responsible for declaring whether a solid bulk cargo is:
    • HME (harmful to the marine environment), in which case the relevant discharge restrictions should apply, or
    • non-HME, based on the criteria contained in new Section 14 ‘Prevention of pollution by cargo residues from ships’.
      Please note: this provision is recommendatory.
  • A fire safety risk assessment is required to be conducted by crew on ships with conveyor systems for unloading.
  • For MHB (materials hazardous only in bulk) cargoes, a notational reference will explain the specific chemical hazard(s) of the cargo and will be listed in the “Class” cell of the characteristics table for each individual schedule.
For more details on the amendments and a full list of the new cargoes added to the IMSBC Code, please see Resolution MSC.393(95)

For further information

Speak to one of our experts at your local Lloyd's Register Group office.

Guidance on carrying solid bulk cargoes safely

Lloyd's Register, the UK P&I Club, and Intercargo have produced a pocket guide for ships' officers and agents who arrange cargoes for loading.
This outlines the precautions to be taken before accepting solid bulk cargoes for shipment; sets out procedures for safe loading and carriage; details the primary hazards associated with different types of cargo; and underlines the importance of proper cargo declarations. A quick reference checklist and flowchart summarise the steps to be followed.
A PDF of both the pocket guide and flowchart can be downloaded here