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Pig iron characteristics & bulk loading guideline

Pig iron is the intermediate product of smelting iron ore with a high-carbon fuel such as coke, usually with limestone as a flux. Charcoal and anthracite have also been used as fuel. Pig iron has a very high carbon content, typically 3.5–4.5%, which makes it very brittle and not useful directly as a material except for limited applications.

Merchant pig iron comprises three main types: BASIC PIG IRON, used mainly in electric arc steelmaking, HAEMATITE PIG IRON [also known as FOUNDRY PIG IRON], used in mainly in the manufacture of grey iron castings in cupola furnaces, and NODULAR PIG IRON, used in the manufacture of ductile [also known as nodular or spheroidal graphite - SG] iron castings. Pig iron contains at least 92% Fe. Other constituents are typically:
Foundry pig iron is cast in 28 grades into 20 kg pigs. In a random heap, pig iron occupies approximately 50% of the apparent volume

Hazard : No specific hazard This cargo is non-combustible or has a low fire risk

Ventilation : No special requirement

Stowage & segregation : No special requirement

Hold cleanliness : Clean and Dry as relevant to the hazards of the cargo.

Precautions : Use the wooden mat or ply wood on the top of tank top to avoid any damage/ check vessel stability and stresses.

Carriage : No special requirement

Discharge : No special requirement

Clean up: Prior to washing out the residues of the cargo, the bilge wells of the cargo spaces shall be cleaned.


This cargo usually loading using tubs. In such case, tubs are usually lowered by a crane in the hold and the contents are spilled out. When this cargo is loaded using tubs. The first few tubs shall be lowered onto the tanktop to avoid damage.

Trim in accordance with the relevant provisions required under section 4 and 5 of the code, the tank top may be overstressed unless the cargo is evenly spread across the tank top to equalize the weight distribution. Due to consideration shall be paid to ensure that the tank top is not overstressed during voyage and during loading by a pile of the cargo.

Methods of grade separation (within one hold) are
  1. Stow different grades at opposite ends of hold
  2. Separate grade using steel product or boosters or pig tubs(preferably)
  3. Use chicken wire(double run) and plastic over the over stowage grade if over stow is unavoidable
  4. Never stow an “F” grade and an “SP” grade in the same hatch in bulk

Pig iron Loading Port - Rio de Janeiro / Brazil

Discharging port - New Orlean /Missisipi river/USA

Shippers’ Requirements
The IMO amendments to the entry for direct reduced iron pellets, lumps and cold moulded briquettes relate mainly to the ‘Shippers’ Requirements’ which now reads as follows:
A. Shipper should provide necessary specific instructions for carriage, either:
1 ) Maintenance throughout the voyage of cargo holds under an inert atmosphere containing less than 5% oxygen. The hydrogen content of the atmosphere should be maintained at less than 1% by volume; or

2 )That the DRI has been manufactured or treated with an oxidation and corrosion inhibiting process which has been proved to the satisfaction of the Competent Authority, to provide effective protection against dangerous reaction with sea water or air under shipping conditions.

B. The provisions of paragraph A may be waived or varied if agreed by the Competent Authorities of the countries concerned taking into account the sheltered nature, length, duration or any other applicable conditions of any specific voyage.’
(Source : Britannia circular 1982)

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Our detail pages illustrated many safety aspects of Bulk carrier

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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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