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Handling of bulk soda ash & safety preparations
Soda ash is a dry, powdery white, dusty bulk cargo used in several industries, the main one being glass manufacture. It is commonly known as sodium carbonate. The cargo must remain dry at all times.
hold inspection before a ship is to carry soda ash is stringent, exceeding that required for the carriage of grain. The hold should be hospital clean; it should be watertight, dried, clean in all respects, and free of scale, loose rust and all foreign materials or residue of previous cargo, on tank tops, bulkheads, hatch coamings and undersides of hatch covers.
Painting of holds is typically not required, but the paintwork needs to be in good condition. Surveyors will look for cleanliness, paint and rust blistering, cargo residues and potentially loose paint edges. Physical contamination is a primary area of concern. Soda ash is ruined if it comes into contact with oil.
Fig: Loading soda ash. Note good condition of the hold paintwork
The following is a typical instruction sent to a ship about to load a cargo of soda ash:
Contamination is a problem when carrying soda ash. The ship should not have carried chrome or chrome products, such as ferrochrome, chrome ore, bagged chrome and chrome manganese within the past six months to a year.
No previous cargo residues or staining on any surfaces of the holds to include tank tops, bulkheads, ladders, side pockets, container sockets of the under sides of hatch covers if applicable. No loose or flaking paint on any surfaces of the hold.
No bubble rust, loose rust or painted rust that maybe chipped or scraped on any surfaces of the hold. Ventilation ports/fan spaces if applicable must be checked for possible loose rust or paint chips that might fall onto the cargo.
Hold may not be chemically washed due to potential contamination and should only be cleaned with fresh water (high pressure).