What’s new in IMDG Code Amendment 36-12 (2012 Edition)

IMDG Code 36-12

This article is based on the Overview of Changes distributed by IMO, and includes some additional clarification.

IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), at its ninetieth session in May 2012, adopted resolution MSC.328(90), which finalized Amendment 36 to the IMDG Code.

IMDG Code Amendment 36-12 is available for use starting January 1, 2013, and will be mandatory starting January 1, 2014. This means that the new edition will overlap with the previous edition, IMDG Code 35-10, for all of 2013.

There are new UN Numbers up to 3506 and some new packing instructions, as well as many detailed changes to the chapters and the Dangerous Goods List entries. The most significant changes are summarized below.

Stowage and Segregation

Part 7 has been reorganized according to job function. Chapters 7.1 and 7.2 lay out general stowage and segregation rules. Chapter 7.3 is now about loading goods into transport containers. Chapters 7.4, 7.5, 7.6 and 7.7 apply to container ships, Roll-On/Roll-Off (RO-RO) ships, general cargo ships and shipborne barges, respectively. As before, a ship may comprise several types of stowage space and the appropriate chapters refer to how each space is used.

The revised Chapter 7 now has the following structure:

  • 7.1 General Stowage Provisions
  • 7.2 General Segregation Provisions
  • 7.3 Consigning Operations concerning the packing and use of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs) and related Provisions
  • 7.4 Stowage and Segregation on Containerships
  • 7.5 Stowage and Segregation on RO-RO ships
  • 7.6 Stowage and Segregation on General Cargo Ships
  • 7.7 Shipborne Barges on Barge-carrying Ships
  • 7.8 Special requirements in the event of an incident and fire precautions involving dangerous goods
  • 7.9 Exemptions, Approvals and Certificates

Sources of heat

The various requirements for ‘away from’ all or any sources of heat, shaded from radiant heat or direct sunlight (except for calcium hypochlorite), sparks (except for UN 1327 HAY) and flame, are replaced by a general “Protected from sources of heat,” the meaning of which is given in 7.1.2. This includes being at least 2.4 m (7.8 ft) from heated ship structures; and for packages on deck, not in CTUs, to be shaded from direct sunlight. Depending on the substance and the planned voyage, it may be necessary to reduce an on-deck CTU's exposure to direct sunlight.


Segregation from foodstuffs (which is now defined in 1.2.1) has changed. 'Away from' foodstuffs and ‘Separated from’ foodstuffs are no longer mentioned.

Generally, a class or subrisk of 2.3, 6.1, 6.2, 7 and 8, plus a few specific entries in the DGL, shall not be in the same CTU as foodstuffs. However, some class 6.1 or 8 items, plus a few specific entries in the DGL, will be allowed in the same CTU as food, provided they are at least 3 m (9.8 ft) apart, without needing competent authority approval.

On container and RO-RO ship spaces, no segregation requirements exist between CTUs because of food. Currently classes 2.3, 6.1, 6.2, 7 and 8 need it.

In conventional stowage spaces, class 6.2 will still require segregation value 3 (’Separated by a complete compartment or hold’) from food, but now reducing to 2 (‘Separated from’) if either is in a closed CTU. The other classes and DGL-specific items remain as segregation value 2, but reducing to 1 (‘Away from’) if one item is in a closed CTU, or 0 (‘Segregation, if any, is shown in the DGL’) if both are in closed. The current relaxation to segregation value 1 for class 8 and class 6.1 PG III is removed.

Rules for segregation from odor-absorbing cargoes are not changed by this.

Limited quantities

When in limited quantities (LQ), Class 8 Packing Group II liquids in glass or similar inners also need rigid intermediate packaging. Other substances in LQ in fragile inners will need suitable intermediate packaging when in shrink-wrapped or stretch-wrapped trays. Three UN Numbers of Class 1.4S Explosives may be consigned as LQ, but are still subject to the rules of section 4.1.5.


Fireworks, UN 0333-7 now need a classification reference issued by the competent authority.

There are now only five stowage categories for explosives, and these are not the same as the present 01 to 05. If explosives are to be put into a CTU it must be a closed CTU for Class 1. All explosives on deck must be in a closed CTU. The stowage categories 01 (the least restrictive) to 05 relate to whether they are also allowed under deck, whether in closed CTUs or otherwise.

All explosives of a particular division and compatibility group are allocated the same stowage category.

Other notable changes

The new section 2.9.4 Lithium Batteries is added; a new section 2.0.5 Transport of Wastes contains the provisions formerly in Chapter 7.8.

A new Special Provision 363 deals with dangerous goods in equipment where the dangerous goods are in excess of the limited quantity limit defined in the Dangerous Goods List.

IMDG Code Supplement unchanged

The Supplement to the IMDG Code, which contains Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (EmS Guide) and the Medical First Aid Guide (MFAG), was not affected by IMDG Code Amendment 36. As such, IMO has decided not to publish a 2012 edition of the Supplement, and to instead retain the IMDG Code Supplement 2010 Edition as the most current.