All about the IMSBC Code

International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code 2012

IMO will soon be publishing the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code and Supplement, 2012 Edition, incorporating Amendment 01-11 (IMSBC Code 2012). This update to the original IMSBC Code 2009 is already available for use, in spite of the lack of a published hardcopy. IMSBC Code 2012 will replace IMSBC Code 2009 starting in 2013 when the IMSBC Code 2009 expires.

What’s it for?

Starting in 1960, IMO began developing an internationally acceptable code of safe practice to address the problems involved in the shipment of bulk cargoes. This became the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code), several editions of which have been published since the first edition in 1965. In 2008, the BC Code was renamed to be the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code, and it was established that the code would be updated on a regular basis. The IMSBC Code addresses all solid bulk cargoes except for grain; the requirements for the transport of grain are covered by the International Code for the Safe Carriage of Grain in Bulk (International Grain Code), 1991.

The prime hazards associated with the shipment of solid bulk cargoes are:

  • structural damage due to improper cargo distribution
  • loss or reduction of stability during a voyage
  • chemical reactions of cargoes

Therefore the primary aim of the IMSBC Code is to provide information on the dangers associated with certain types of solid bulk cargoes and to provide procedures to be followed when shipping solid bulk cargoes.

What has changed?

The IMSBC Code 2012 may be used from the start of 2012, though it won’t become mandatory until January 2013.

Changes in this edition include:

  • Fully updated individual schedules for solid bulk cargoes
  • New individual schedules for such cargoes as distillers dried grains with solubles, ferrous sulphate heptahydrate, fly ash wet, granular ferrous sulphate, magnesium sulphate fertilizers and general wood products
  • References to the most recent SOLAS amendments
  • Updated information from the 2010 edition of the IMDG Code

This publication presents additional information that supplements the IMSBC Code, such as the Code of Practice for the Safe Loading and Unloading of Bulk Carriers (BLU Code, including BLU Manual) and Recommendations on the safe use of pesticides in ships applicable to the fumigation of cargo holds.

Draft amendment 02-13 to the IMSBC Code agreed

Work on draft amendment 02-13 to the IMSBC Code has begun. It is expected to be finalized in 2012, and the new edition published in early 2013.

It is important to note that IMSBC Code Amendment 02-13 is only a draft at the moment. Upcoming changes presently include:

  • Amendments to the code’s provisions on application and implementation
  • Certificates of test
  • Sampling procedures and complementary test procedures for determining the possibility of liquefaction
  • Revision of some existing schedules for cargo carriage and development of new schedules for specific cargoes

When is it available?

The English edition of the IMSBC Code 2012 is expected to publish March 2012. French and Spanish translations will follow.

Update: the English IMSBC Code 2012 is now available.

Update: the Spanish translation of the IMSBC Code 2012 is now available.