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Mineral concentrates & mineral sands loading guideline for sea going bulk carrier



Mineral Concentrates

Mineral concentrates are refined ores from which the bulk of waste materials have been removed and may be powdery or lumpy in character. They are of higher value than unrefined ores. They may liquefy if shipped with a moisture content in excess of their transportable moisture limit (TML). The IMSBC Code provides specific advice on working the cargo (both loading and discharging) during periods of precipitation. Concentrates will decompose burlap or canvas over bilge wells and may have a detrimental effect on the ship's structure if carried continuously over a long period of time.

Zinc concentrate loading
Zinc concentrate loading

( IMSBC Group A ) Mineral concentrates are refined ores from which the bulk of waste materials have been removed. They may liquefy if shipped with a moisture content in excess of their transportable moisture limit (TML). They are non-combustible and have a low fire risk.

It should be noted that some concentrates cause oxygen depletion and it should be verified that oxygen levels in all parts of the hold, including access hatches and ladders, are tested before allowing entry to the space.

Many different types of concentrates are handled in various parts of the world and in varying quantities. Most of these cargoes are extremely heavy and have a low transportable moisture limit (TML).
This means that if the moisture content of the cargo become greater than the TML the cargo can liquefy and turn into a slurry. When this happens on board, the cargo moves from side to side as the ship rolls which reduces the ship's righting lever. It does not require much cargo weight to capsize the vessel when this happens, it a loss of stability due to free surface effect. Some of the most dangerous cargoes where this can happen are copper, lead or zinc concentrates, magnetite, limonite and most pyrites.

Mineral Sands

Mineral sands such as ilmenite, rutile and zircon are refined products and any form of contamination will result in a large claim against the ship. Consequently, a thorough cleaning should be carried out prior to shipment. Residues of previous cargoes must be completely removed with particular attention being given to the underside of steel hatch covers, horizontal flanges of under deck beams, stringers and horizontal stiffeners.

Similarly, loose rust scale must be removed with particular attention to the areas mentioned above. The final wash down should be with fresh water and the compartment should be dry prior to the start of loading. Where suction boxes are flush with the hold ceiling, as in most modern bulk carriers, suction plates should be covered with two thicknesses of burlap and cemented in place. Mineral sands must not be loaded during precipitation.





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Practice of draft survey & measurement of bulk cargo loaded or discharged

  1. Hazards of handling copper concentrate


  2. Hazards of handling bulk sulphur

  3. Loading, carrying and discharging of bulk coal


  4. Special precaution & IMSBC code guideline for handling bulk coal


  5. Special arrangements for carrying grain cargo


  6. Grain handling precautions - various limitations


  7. Safety precautions for loading and carriage of iron ores


  8. Risk of carrying high density iron ores in bulk


  9. Salt loading guideline - Precautions & hold preparation


  10. Pig iron preparations for bulk loading


  11. Risk of iron ore liquefaction during sea passage & countermeasures


  12. Preparations, loading, carrying & discharging bulk cement


  13. Petcoke loading in bulk & associated problems for bulk carriers


  14. Handling of bauxite - The environmental impact of Jamaica bauxite mining


  15. Carrying gypsum -Toxins, physical reactions & environmental degradation


  16. Cargo liquefaction & potential problem for transporting bulk cargo


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Operation of sea going bulk carriers involved numerous hazards . Careful planning and exercising due caution for all critical shipboard matters are important . This site is a quick reference to international shipping community with guidance and information on the loading and discharging of modern bulk carriers so as to remain within the limitations as specified by the classification society.
It is vital to reduce the likelihood of over-stressing the ship's structure and also complying with all essential safety measures for a safe passage at sea. Our detail pages contain various bulk carrier related topics that might be useful for people working on board and those who working ashore in the terminal. For any remarks please Contact us

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