Nickel Ore Liquefaction Eyed in Bulker Sinking Off Philippines; 11 Crew Members Missi - Ships Nostalgia
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Nickel Ore Liquefaction Eyed in Bulker Sinking Off Philippines; 11 Crew Members Missi

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  #1  
Old 14th October 2017, 10:31
Geoff Gower Geoff Gower is offline  
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Nickel Ore Liquefaction Eyed in Bulker Sinking Off Philippines; 11 Crew Members Missi

Eleven crew members of a Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier are missing after their*ship sank Friday off the coast of Philippines in what appears to be a possible case of nickel ore liquefaction. The Japanese Coast Guard reported Friday it had received a distress call from the 57,000 dwt MV Emerald Star, which was sailing about 280 km east of the northern tip of the Philippines with a crew of 26 Indian nationals.
Three vessels in the area were able to rescue 15 crew members but 11 others are still reported as missing, the Coast Guard said, adding that the ship has sunk. According to the S&P Global Platts, the Emerald Star was underway from Buli, Indonesia to Lianyungang, China with a cargo of nickel ore. The MV Trans Summer sinks off the coast of Hong Kong during Typhoon Utor in August 2013. Photo: HKG Flying Service Nickel ore,*a high-risk Group A cargo in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code, is notoriously known to be highly susceptible to liquefaction, that is when a dry cargo becomes fluid (i.e. liquefies) typically when exposed to an excessive amount of moisture. Cargo liquefaction can lead to cargo shift and vessel stability issues, and in the worst case can cause a ship to capsize at a moments notice. For this reason, nickel ore is often regarded as the world’s most dangerous cargo as dubbed by INTERCARGO, which represents the interests of dry cargo ship owners and operators. Shipping nickel ore from Indonesia to China is known to be particularly risky. In fact, nickel ore liquefaction was cited as the cause of at least four vessel casualties and the loss of 66 seafarers in the trade from October 2010 to December of 2011. And in 2013, the phenomenon was blamed for the loss of the MV Trans Summer, which sank off the coast of Hong Kong while carrying 57,000 tons of nickel ore loaded in Indonesia. The number of vessel casualties blamed on nickel ore liquefaction has fallen in recent years in part due to an export ban on nickel ore and bauxite from Indonesia, which was imposed in 2014 in order to boost Indonesia’s higher value smelting industries. Earlier this year, however, Indonesia introduced new rules to ease the 3-year export ban under certain conditions. Following the easing of the ban, INTERCARGO issued a statement to its members in January 2017 warning them of the risks associated with these types of cargoes: “We would urge Members exercise extreme caution should Indonesian ore exports re-enter the market; as the ban has been in place for some time it is most likely that many stockpiles will be subject to saturation and therefore the possibility of being offered cargoes with an unduly high moisture content may be anticipated. Furthermore, it is important to note that it has been reported specified shippers will be permitted to export washed bauxite, this form of processing of cargo was associated with a number of problems in the past and any such cargoes should carefully assessed prior to acceptance,” the statement said. The 2010-built MV Emerald Star is registered in Hong Kong and operated by Stellar Ocean Transport of Dubai.
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Old 14th October 2017, 11:34
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Basil Basil is online now  
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Sounds like some strict regulation required. I guess longitudinal bulkheads would help.
Where are the Seafarer's Section of the International Transport Workers' Federation on this?
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Old 14th October 2017, 18:02
George Bis George Bis is offline
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Sounds horrible stuff. What is the stowage factor?
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Old 14th October 2017, 18:53
Ian Lawson Ian Lawson is offline  
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Agreed, not pleasant at all. I seem to recall it stows at around 15/17 Cf/Tonne
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Old 14th October 2017, 19:36
John Cassels John Cassels is offline  
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Or they weren't pumping bilges regularly.
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Old 15th October 2017, 13:11
George Bis George Bis is offline
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In 1978 I was involved with carrying Silver Sand from LochAline in Scotland which was about the same stowage factor.
Our practice was to trim the cargo when loading to chock it in as best we could and as John sais pump the bilges every watch. We checked the suctions carefully before sailing and it went o.k.
We also used to load Silver Sand in Norway which was kiln dried and regarded as much more stable.
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Old 15th October 2017, 16:26
kudu kudu is offline  
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Why can't the ore be dried at source?.During the late19th and early 20th centuries local iron ore mined in Cleveland,N Yorks,and destined for the blast furnaces of Middlesbrough,was "roasted" before loading onto rail wagons.This was to get rid of moisture reducing tonnage tarrifs charged by the North Eastern railway. Surely modern technology could do the same thing at a much greater rate,with high risk ores,such as Nickel and Bauxite. The onus would then be on the crew of the vessel to ensure the ore stays dry.
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Old 15th October 2017, 18:53
John Cassels John Cassels is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kudu View Post
Why can't the ore be dried at source?.During the late19th and early 20th centuries local iron ore mined in Cleveland,N Yorks,and destined for the blast furnaces of Middlesbrough,was "roasted" before loading onto rail wagons.This was to get rid of moisture reducing tonnage tarrifs charged by the North Eastern railway. Surely modern technology could do the same thing at a much greater rate,with high risk ores,such as Nickel and Bauxite. The onus would then be on the crew of the vessel to ensure the ore stays dry.
What do you do when the ore concentrates have been lying on the stockpile for weeks in the rain ?. Apart from having tests carried out ( it's a long time ago and I forget the name of the tests) to determine how liable the ore will be to becoming liquid , the only thing the ship can to is to cover bilge gratings with burlap and sound /pump bilges at least every 24 hours and keep a good record of same.
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Old 15th October 2017, 19:40
Ian Lawson Ian Lawson is offline  
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The stockpile quality uncertainty will always be a problem. There are of course tests prescribed by IMSBC to ascertain the propensity for the ore to flow and these tests would be the Flow Table for Moisture Content & Flow Moisture Point and Penetration Test for Flow Moisture Point. Whether or not these tests are readily available at all ports is another question. They should be. The precautions you have given above re covering bilges with burlap is good advice and be standard operating procedure. Pumping of the Bilges should be done continuously if necessary and at least every 12 hours.
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