Technical Circular No.08 | 2016

Subject: Amendments to IMSBC Code

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  1. The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code is subject to updates every two years to reflect the changes in the nature and variety of solid bulk cargoes presented for shipment. In June 2015 IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee adopted Resolution MSC.393 (95) specifying forthcoming amendments to the IMSBC Code.
  2. The amendments will become mandatory from 1 January 2017 however Administrations may choose to apply the amendments on a voluntary basis from 1 January 2016.
  3. A brief summary of the significant changes to the code are listed below.
    • An addition has been made to Section 3. The Section now requires the ship’s crew to conduct regular on-board operational fire safety assessment of cargo handling areas on self-unloading bulk carriers installed with internal conveyor systems.
    • Cargo information required to be furnished by the shippers under Section 4.2 will now include information on whether the cargo is harmful to the marine environment. The cargo declaration form to be completed and signed by the shipper will also require such declaration therein.
    • A new Section 14 has been added. The Section 14 addresses the management of cargo residues Hazardous to the Marine Environment (HME) from ships under MARPOL Regulations. The responsibility of classifying and declaring whether a solid bulk cargo is HME or non-HME, lies with the shipper as per section 3.4 of the Guidelines.
    • A new provision for specially constructed cargo ships for dry powdery cargoes (new section 7.3.3) and exempting these ships as well as specially constructed or fitted cargo ships from certain requirements pertaining to Moisture Content (MC) and Transportable Moisture Limit (TML).
    • Under section 9.2.3, for "Materials Hazardous only in Bulk (MHB)", a notational reference will accompany the MHB designation under the "Class" cell in the individual cargo schedule.

      A summary of the notational reference is presented in the table below:

       Chemical Hazard

       Notational Reference

       Combustible solids


       Self heating solids


       Solids that evolve flammable gas when wet


       Solids that evolve toxic gas when wet


       Toxic solids


       Corrosive solids


       Other hazards


      At this time the chemical hazard references have only been added to the schedules of new cargoes classified as MHB added to the Code by this latest amendment.

    • Appendix 1: The following new schedules have been added to Appendix 1 of the Code:



       Amorphous sodium silicate lumps


       Boric acid


       Wood pellets containing additives and/or binders


       Wood pellets  not containing any  additives and/or binders


       Aluminum Fluoride


       Chemical Gypsum


       Copper Slag


       Glass Cullet


       Iron and steel slag and its mixture


       Iron ore fines


       Iron oxide technical


       Iron sinter


       Manganese component ferroalloy slag


       Manganese ore fines


       Scale generated from the iron and steel making process


       Spodumene (upgraded)


       Zinc slag


       Zircon kyanite concentrate


      Changes in the existing individual schedule

      • Wood pellets is deleted
      • Clinker Ash (word 'wet' is deleted)
    • Appendix 2: A new sub-section has been added addressing a new Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) testing procedure for iron ore fines called the "Modified Proctor / Fagerberg test".
    • Appendix 3: Aluminium Fluoride, Spodumene (Upgraded), Wood Pellets Containing Additives and/or Binders and Wood Pellets not Containing any Additives and/or Binders have been added to the list of non-cohesive cargoes.
    • Appendix 4: The index has been updated to include the new cargoes added to Appendix 1, while the entry for "Wood Pellets" has been deleted and the entry for "Clinker Ash, Wet" has been modified to "Clinker Ash".
    • Appendix 5: A new Appendix 5 has been added, which lists the Bulk Cargo Shipping Names in three languages- English, Spanish and French.
  4. MSC.1/Circ.1395/Rev.1 has been revised and replaced by MSC.1/Circ.1395/Rev.2 – Lists of solid bulk cargoes for which a fixed gas fire extinguishing system may be exempted or for which a fixed gas fire extinguishing system is ineffective.

    Following new cargoes have been added in MSC.1/Circ.1395/Rev.2

    • Amorphous Sodium Silicate Lumps
    • Boric Acid
    • Clinker Ash
    • Wood pellets not containing any additives and/or binders

    For Ships which are issued with Exemption certificate for fixed gas fire extinguishing system, if the above mentioned cargoes are carried or intended to be carried, exemption certificate will need to be replaced due to change to addendum i.e. MSC.1/Circ.1395/Rev.2.

    Ship Owners and Operators are advised to ensure their vessels comply with the amended IMSBC Code requirements from 1 January 2017 or earlier if required by the vessel’s flag state or the National Authorities at a port of call.

Enclosure: Nil


This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person.
While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.

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