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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).”

Fig: Loaded through hold access in bad weather

It is unacceptable to have:
  1. loose and flaking paint with
  2. cargo residues visible
  3. paintwork not adhering firmly to the steel bulkheads
  4. loose flaking paint, paint covering bubble rust
  5. paintwork stained
  6. rust scale
  7. rust spots/surface rust
  8. residual cargo
It is important for ships to have maintained their cargo holds in good condition before loading soda ash as the requirements of hold preparation are of a high standard.

This cargo is very dusty, and machinery, equipment and accommodation spaces should be protected from the dust. Personnel should wear personal protective equipment on deck, including goggles and dust filter masks.

Cargo documents

  1. Bulk carrier voyage agreement - Function of bill of lading

  2. Signing a bill of lading & relevant guideline

Related Information

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

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Our detail pages illustrated many safety aspects of Bulk carrier

Home page |||Bulk carrier types ||| Handling of bulk coal |||Cargo planning ||| Carriage of grain |||Risk of iron ores |||Self unloading bulk carriers |||Care of cargo & vessel |||Cargoes that may liquefy |||Suitability of ships |||Terminal guideline |||Hold cleaning |||Cargo cranes |||Ballast handling procedure |||Bulk carrier safety |||Fire fighting systems |||Bulk carrier General arrangement

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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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