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Salt loading guideline - Precautions & hold preparation

Salt is an aggressive product on steel and paint. It contains about 3% moisture and is very hygroscopic.Common salt or sodium cloride is obtained from sea water, which contains about 3% of it, by a process of evaporation. They are fine white grains. Moisture variable to 5.5%. With bulk cargoes it is usual to limewash the hold prior to loading. On long voyages the loss of weight is 5 % or more, this being due to evaporation, from which it follows that dry goods liable to take harm from moisture should be stow with salt.

Salt is highly soluble. In the case of ingress of water into holds, there is a risk of loss of Stability of the ship through dissolution of this cargo(formation of a wet base and shifting of cargo).

Salt Characteristics:

Before loading

To protect the hold steel paint or limewash, the holds can be washed with proprietary products such as hold block. Studies have concluded that 100% paint protection is a good deterrent against the corrosive effects of a salt cargo.


Rust on the surface in the hold will discolor the salt with which it comes into contact. If this is possibility it will be necessary to limewash the hold – to coat the bulkheads and the tank top with lime to prevent the salt from coming in contact with the rusty surface. It will necessary to lime wash the bulkhead to whatsoever height the cargo is expected to reach in the holds.

Weather precautions

This cargo shall keep as dry as practicable. This cargo shall not be handled during precipitation. During handling of this cargo, all non working hatches of the cargo spaces into which this cargo is loaded or to be loaded shall be close.

Precautions – Hold preparation

The parts of the cargo space in contact with the cargo such as tank tops, hoppers, side plating and bulkheads shall be lime-washed or coated with paint to prevent corrosion. If the coating is intact then there is minimum risk of hold corrosion. However if the hold coating is damaged in places, then lime wash should be considered especially in case repeated carriage is planned. Please see below for instructions on cleaning the Lime Wash.

After loading

On completion of loading and during carriage, the hatches should be sealed, and excessive condensation avoided. A major ingress of water into the holds can cause a loss of stability. Salt is water-soluble and in the event of water ingress into the hold, there is a risk of loss of ship stability as the salt dissolves and causes the cargo to shift.

Clean up

In the case that the residues of this cargo are to be washed out, the cargo spaces and the other structures and equipment which may have come in contact with this cargo, with fresh water or its dust shall be thoroughly swept prior to washing out. Particular attention shall be paid to bilge wells and framework in the cargo spaces. The fixed bilge pumps shall not be used to pump the cargo spaces, because this cargo may make the bilge system inoperative.

Lime wash require the removal before the carriage of sensitive cargoes such as foodstuffs, fertilizers, mineral sands. A word of caution with the Lime Wash; subsequent removal of the hard lime wash coating may become an issue. Usually the lime wash can be removed by HCL Acid or Citric Acid wash with subsequent rinsing with freshwater.

After discharge

If the holds have been limewashed, the dried limewash can be difficult to remove. Acid-based cleaners and muric acids or caustic soda are reported to be useful to remove limewash. Limewash (calcium hydroxide) is powdered limestone, predominantly calcite. It is difficult to remove when dry and therefore a thinner dilution of limewash is preferable – subject to it protecting the steel or paintwork.

40kg of calcium hydroxide to every 200 litres (drums) of hot or warm water will produce an adequate wash. 2.5kg of granulated sugar can be added to the mix to make it easier to remove. The mix can be applied with brushes or paint spraying equipment. After cleaning the limewash with saltwater hoses, it should be hosed down with freshwater.

Salt Discharging port - PAKNING / Indonesia ; PORT KELANG/MALAYSIA

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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.
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