The IMO’s Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC) held its 18th session from Monday 16 through Friday 20 September 2013 under the Chairmanship of Mr Xie Hui (CHINA) and his Vice Chairman, Mr Patrick Van Lancker (BELGIUM). Within the revised sub-committee structure, DSC will become the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) and hold its first meeting from 8 to 12 September 2014.

Following a customary welcoming address by the Secretary General of IMO, the full text of which can be downloaded from the IMO website at the link : three working groups were convened and Chaired as follows :

WG1 Container Safety, Mr K Smith (USA)
WG2 Amendments to the IMSBC Code, Dr S Ota (JAPAN)
WG3 Carriage of appropriate atmosphere testing instruments, Captain M De Gracia (PANAMA)

Subsequent text is a compendium of salient points from the meeting of most interest to Intermanager Members :

• REVIEW OF GENERAL CARGO SHIP SAFETY. Following consideration of Risk Control Option (RCO) 17 assigned to DSC by MSC relating to improvement of cargo stowage, especially bulk (other than grain) and heavy items, it was decide to recommend that no further action to be taken since such improvements are generally covered by the relevant instrument (eg. IMSBC Code and CSS Code, etc) .

• DEVELOPMENT OF THE ACEP DATABASE. The Bureau International des Containers (BIC) provided information on the pilot ACEP (Approved Continuous Examination Programme) database project. Despite concerns, not least that of cost, expressed robustly by WSC, BIMCO and ICS, it was agreed that the pilot IC database should be developed globally, the cost of which would be borne by BIC members. Accordingly, BIC was requested to update CC1 on progress and explain how a linkage to BISIS could be arranged.

• CONTAINER SAFETY. Points of particular importance:

(1) VERIFICATION OF CONTAINER WEIGHTS. A draft amendment to SOLAS regulation V1 / 2 and relevant Guidelines will be submitted to MSC93 for approval. This stipulates that gross mass shall be verified by the shipper, either by:

I. weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or
II. weighing all packages and cargo items and adding the tare mass of the container

Also, the shipping document shall be:

I. signed by a person duly authorised by the shipper; and
II. submitted sufficiently in advance to facilitate preparation of the ship stowage plan.

(2) PREVENTING THE USE OF COUNTERFEIT REFRIGERANTS. IICL (Institute of Container Lessors) submitted a paper noting that explosions resulting from adulterated refrigerant gases have been eradicated following industry action. In addition, draft amendments to chapter 7 of the IMDG Code were agreed for submission to E&T20 (Editorial and Technical WG) for consideration and preparation of any consequential amendments.

(3) REVISION OF ISO 3874 (FREIGHT CONTAINERS-HANDLING AND SECURING). ISO is undertaking work to revise standards relating to securing equipment used on board ships to secure containers which is expected to be completed within 12 months.

(4) REVISION OF THE GUIDELINES FOR PACKING OF CARGO TRANSPORT UNITS. The IMO/ILO/UNICE Group of Experts will meet in Geneva on 4 and 5 November 2013 to discuss the revision of their Guidelines for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU). In the meanwhile, the draft CTU Code finalised by the Group of Experts at its fourth meeting will be submitted to MSC 93 for approval. ISO is being invited to review the current options in appendix 5 to Annex 14 to the draft CTU Code given industry concerns about possible reduction of container safety following tests described in a SLOVAKIA and SWEDEN submission and to inform the Group of Experts as to their conclusions and recommendations. It is hoped that the draft CTU Code can be made available on the web, free of charge, for ease of dissemination.

• DEVELOPMENT OF AMENDMENTS TO THE IMSBC CODE AND SUPPLEMENTS, INCLUDING EVALUATION OF PROPERTIES OF SOLID BULK CARGOES. The Sub-Committee considered the report of E&T18 (DSC 18/6), also that of the Correspondence Group and approved in general. Of particular interest, are several points made in the report of the Iron Ore Technical Working Group (TWG) that:

a. further evidence substantiates applicability of the adjusted routine iron ore fines test identified in TWG Report #3 ‘Iron Ore Fines Proctor – Fagenberg Test’ using real-world conditions, geotechnical methods, numerical modelling and cargo observation;
b. it was agreed to include the new test procedure for determining TML (transportable moisture limit) of iron ore fines;
c. independently verified research showed that iron ore fines with a goethite content of 25% is liable to liquefy whereas that with 35% is not;
d. not to include ship size for exemption in the IMSBC Code; and
e. use a goethite content of 35% as a threshold for exemption on requirements for Group A cargoes ie, those which may liquefy if shipped with moisture content in excess of the TML.

• PROPOSALS FOR INDIVIDUAL SCHEDULES IN THE IMSBC CODE. A total of 17 types of cargo were proposed for individual schedules in the Code Based on 22 submissions, all of which were duly considered.


a. The need for a numerical reference to be inserted in the individual schedules in the section for ‘Characteristics’ and next to the MHB class, in order to identify the type of hazard will be introduced.

b. A new appendix in the IMSBC Code containing the Bulk Cargo Shipping Names in English, French and Spanish will be included.

c. The need to compile a new section for environmentally hazardous substances within the IMBSBC Code in relation to the revised MARPOL Annex V by developing a corresponding indicative lit of solid bulk cargoes was recognised.

d. A correspondence group on HME (harmful to the marine environment) substances within the IMSBC Code in relation to the revised MARPOL Annex V will be established.

e. Acknowledgement of the need to develop validated training material in order to facilitate safe transport and operation procedures involving solid bulk cargoes was made leading to recognition of the further need for a training IMO Model Course to be developed.

f. A draft amendment to Appendix 2 of the IMSBC Code regarding a new test procedure for determining the TML of Iron Ore Fines was drafted in preparation for E&T21.

g. Agreed that the Iron Ore Fines containing more than 35% of the total goethite to which the individual schedule for IRON ORE should be applied, may be carried in accordance with the individual schedule for IRON ORE.

h. Potential health hazards that may be associated with iron ore fines were discussed.

i. A draft DSC Circular was produced on early implementation of the draft amendments to the IMSBC Code relating to the draft schedule for iron ore fines.

j. Requested E&T21 to review Appendix 4 of the IMSBC Code in order to amend some inconsistencies for seed cake entries in the index for solid bulk cargoes.

• DEVELOPMENT OF AMENDMENTS TO THE IMDG CODE AND SUPPLEMENTS. The Sub-Committee considered the report of E&T19 and took the following actions:

a) instructed E&T20 to finalise the reorganisation of Column (16) of the dangerous goods list;
b) endorsed E&T’s recommendation on classification of mixtures with marine pollutants;
c) referred a GERMAN proposal for the introduction of a safety adviser post in the transport of dangerous goods in the IMDG Code vis à vis non-declared and mis-declared dangerous goods to E&T20;
d) invited ICS to submit concrete proposals at a future session (of CCC) in order to improve the ability of Member States to address better, the problem of mis-declaration of dangerous goods;
e) referred draft amendments to the EmS Guidelines to SSE1 for advice in respect of water-reactive materials;
f) agreed to harmonise symbols with those in the United Nations;
g) approved, in principle, draft amendment 37-14 of the IMDG Code, also amendment to the EmS Guidelines and instructed E&T20 to finalise them; and
h) registered concern expressed within the group at the sheer volume of the draft CTU Code.

• LIST OF POTENTIAL MARINE POLLUTANTS. KOREA put forward a list of environmentally hazardous substances, according to the GESAMP Hazard Profiles, contained in the Dangerous Goods List which will be referred to E&T20 for verification and subsequent inclusion in draft amendment to the IMDG Code.

• DEVELOPMENT OF AMENDMENTSTO SOLAS AND THE RELEVANT CODES CONCENING MANDARORY CARRIAGE OF APPROPRIATE ATMOSPHERE TESTING INSTRUMENTS ON BOARD SHIPS. Having considered the report of the working group, the Sub-Committee approved it in general and took the following action:

1. Agreed a draft amendment to SOLAS CHAPTER XI-1 for submission to MSC93 as follows, noting that Plenary mutated into a giant working group for several hours such that there were very many changes to the draft, viz:

Atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces:
“Every ship to which Chapter 1 applies shall carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments. As a minimum, these shall be capable to measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide. Instruments carried under other requirements may satisfy this regulation. Suitable means shall be provided for the calibration of all such instruments.”

2. Agreed draft MSC93 circular on Guidelines to facilitate selection of portable atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces as required by SOLAS regulation xi-1/7.

3. Agreed draft consequential amendments to the Code for construction and equipment of mobile offshore drilling units (1979, 1989 and 2009 MODU Codes) for approval in principle by MSC93 and subsequent adoptions in conjunction with associated SOLAS amendments.

4. Concurred with the Group’s view not to amend the HSC and DSC Codes; and

5. Agreed that training issues on atmosphere testing instruments are adequately covered in the STCW Convention, therefore no further action is necessary in this regard.

Captain Paddy McKnight


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