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Various grade coal -Anthracite coal & Bituminous coal Handling guides


Vessels shipping coal should at all times carry on board instruments for measuring methane, oxygen and carbon monoxide gas concentrations, so that the atmosphere within the cargo space can be monitored. The instrument should be regularly serviced and calibrated so that it can provide the crewmembers with reliable data about the atmosphere within the cargo space. Care needs to be exercised in interpreting methane measurements carried out in the low oxygen concentrations often found in unventilated cargo holds.



Anthracite coal is also known as hard or stone coal. It has a low ash content with low volatility and a high BTU (British Thermal Unit) content.

Before loading

Remove all solid residues in the hold, sweep clean and flush with seawater. Cargo residues should not be allowed to accumulate, otherwise hold bulkhead staining may result. If the same cargo is carried continually, consideration should be given to hold cleaning after every fifth consecutive cargo.
bulk terminal grab-operation
Fig: bulk terminal grab-operation

After discharge


Bituminous coal

Bituminous coal, also known as soft coal, is usually black, although dark brown grades are found. It exhibits a relatively high level of plasticity, volatility and low ash content, making it ideal for coking. The hold cleaning procedure is similar to that for anthracite coal except that cargo residues should not be allowed to accumulate, and high-pressure hose cleaning is recommended after every second consecutive cargo, unless the ship is on a long-term charter.

Bituminous coal cargoes can result in hold staining. The holds may require additional cleaning, even with light chemicals, when some cargoes are to be loaded after bituminous coal, such as grains and fertilisers. The use of a prewash to protect the paintwork in the hold could be considered if the subsequent cargo to be loaded is of a sensitive nature, such as grain or fertilisers. Chemical splash suits, chemical gloves, boots, helmet with visor and safety goggles must be worn when cleaning. Check the Material Safety Data Sheet as issued by the producer.



Read more on
  1. Special precaution & IMSBC code guideline for handling bulk coal


  2. Various grade coal -Anthracite coal & Bituminous coal Handling guides


  3. Coal loading and related safety considerations





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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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