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Over ten years ago, the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code replaced the old BC Code to enhance safety protocols involving shipment and stowage of solid bulk cargoes. In addition to providing detailed information about shipping dangerous solid bulk cargoes, the IMSBC further offers guidelines on complying with procedures that should be utilized before shipping certain solid bulk cargoes.
The guide to IMSBC Code is an essential handbook for mariners, captains, ship navigators and government agencies. Knowing critical information regarding standards for shipping all types of solid bulk cargoes (with the exception of grain) ensures hazardous cargoes are accurately identified and handled with rigorous safety compliance practices.
Changes to IMSBC Code include revised individual provisions for solid bulk cargoes, new standards for shipping sulfur and references to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) amendments.
Standards established by the CSS Code deal with the unpredictable vertical, transverse and longitudinal accelerations acting on cargo ships in seaways. Hazardous conditions emerging from these forces demand the practice of rigorous and compliant protocols that ensure reliable securing and stowage of onboard cargoes. When solid cargoes are properly anchored according to material composition, this can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of undesirable ship movement.
The Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code) manual includes the following critical points:
All individuals tasked with securing and stowing solid cargoes should be highly qualified, knowledgeable about the CSS Code and duly experienced with complying with performance protocols.
When determining how to secure and stow solid bulk cargoes, personnel must consider the expectation of severe weather occurring during the voyage. Cargo stowage should meet or exceed the demands of potentially dangerous weather.
When encountering extreme weather, ship captains and navigation crew should always consider the type of cargo being hauled and how it has been secured when making decisions about how to handle their vessel.
The IMDG Code was originally developed to help stop sea pollution caused by unsecured or improperly stowed, hazardous solid bulk cargoes.
The IMDG Code is a uniform code applicable to global ships assigned to transport all types of cargo. Updated every two years, the IMDG Code committee members allow amendments agreed upon to remain valid for no longer than three years. In most cases, amendments are permitted to overlap so the maritime industry has enough time to enact adjustments necessary for complying with amendments.
Fundamental principles of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods IMDG Code include:
Accurately classifying solid cargoes based on dangers they may cause during transportation
Ensuring dangerous cargoes are kept in receptacles that meet or exceed the demand for the strength necessary to prevent goods from escaping their receptacles
Labeling cargoes with appropriate warning labels identifying the cargo as hazardous
Assigning standardized documentation to all dangerous goods that can be provided while goods are being transported
New editions of the IMDG Code are published biannually. They contain recently adopted amendments and details regarding compliance protocols for these amendments.