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Hazards of carrying noxious liquid chemicals at sea and safety practice

Chemical cargoes may present a fire hazard which will be determined by the flashpoint, boiling
point, flammability limits and auto-ignition temperature of the product. The marine pollution
hazard will be dependent on several factors that include bioaccumulation and the attendant risk
to aquatic life or human health. In addition, release into the marine environment may cause
damage to living resources, hazard to human health and consequent reduction of amenities. The
air pollution hazard posed by release into the atmosphere may categorised by the emergency
exposure limit (EEL) of the substance.

Watch standing personnel must ensure that no one who is smoking approaches or boards the
vessel. Smoking on board must only take place in designated smoking areas. The company
policy on drugs and alcohol must be strictly enforced.

Parmanent Noictes

Permanent notices complying with international standards should be displayed in conspicuous
spaces onboard, indicating prohibited smoking and use of naked lights areas. Enclosed areas that
need to be ventilated prior to entering must also be marked.

Temporary Notices and signals

On arrival at a terminal, and throughout the vessels stay at anchorage or alongside, temporary
notices are to be displayed at the point of access or other conspicuous spaces, in the English
language, to indicate the following:


In addition, when hazardous chemicals are being handled a further notice should be displayed

Local national or port regulations may require additional notices which the Master must ensure
are complied with. Day and night signal for dangerous cargo as per local regulations and
international code flag are to be displayed as appropriate.

Health Hazards

Most of the chemical present more than one hazard to health, for example, it may:
Be corrosive
Be poisonous
Produce toxic vapours
Pose an asphyxiation hazard
Result in long term damage to eyes or the nervous system
Have long term carcinogenic effects.

Personnel Exposure to Chemicals, Noxious Liquids and Fumes

Unplanned exposure of personnel to toxic or corrosive fumes or liquid should always be treated
as an emergency and in serious cases the emergency team should be mobilised and the rescue
plan put into operation.

First Aid should be administered as documented in the MSDS, however, the Master must
evaluate the seriousness of the exposure and, if in doubt, seek further advice regarding treatment.

Officers must be trained in essential Firs Aid measures for the cargoes to be carried. In the event
of a serious leakage resulting in large concentrations of fumes, consideration must be given to
the organisation of alternative mustering points inside the accommodation in order for personnel
to don the Escape Sets located at various work places and in cabins, prior to an orderly
evacuation of the vessel, should this be necessary. Regular drills utilising this scenario should be

Enclosed Spaces

Enclosed spaces like ballast tanks, cofferdams etc in the cargo area may contain flammable or
toxic vapours or lack sufficient oxygen and must not be entered without permission from the
Master and only if proper ventilation is provided. The Master is responsible for ensuring that the
proper Enclosed Space Entry procedures are understood and adhered to. A list of spaces deemed
to require Enclosed Space Entry procedures is to posted up for all crew to comply and all such
spaces marked.

On vessels capable of carrying toxic, flammable, or oxidising cargoes, special consideration
should be given to the construction of the deck areas which may impede air flows from
dissipating cargo vapours. There are many such areas on ships but commonly found in the
vicinity of butterworth hatches, ullaging points and sampling points. They should be identified
and risk assessments conducted to determine the appropriate risk control measures such as
warning signs posted and personal gas meters to be worn.

Pollution prevention

It is the responsibility of the Master and the person he delegate to be in charge of cargo
operations, including bunkers, to know the applicable international and local pollution
prevention regulations and to ensure that they are not violated. Exercises should be held to train
personnel in accordance with the Vessel Response Plan and/or the Shipboard Oil Pollution
Emergency Response Plan. The Master should ensure that both local and international
regulations pertaining to the discharge of ballast water are complied with .

Before any Tank Cleaning takes place, the pollution categories (X,Y,Z or OS) of the cargo
residues in the tanks to be washed must be clearly established from one or more of the following
sources: Shipping Document, IBC Code and Certificate of Fitness, If any ambiguity exists as to
the Pollution Category the Master must seek advice from the Management Office prior to
commencement of operations .

Notification of Spillage into the Sea

Any incident, whether accidental or intentional, concerning the discharge of Noxious Liquids
into the sea, whether in harbour or at sea, must be reported to the proper authorities, a list of
which can be found in the SOPEP manual.

Sea valves and overboard discharge valves in pumprooms

In cargo pumprooms, particular care must be taken to ensure that no leakage of cargo takes place
through overboard discharge or sea suction valves when starting or running cargo pumps.
Manual valves are to be chained/locked. These valves are to be air pressure tested regularly for
integrity and a log entry made. Officers should refer to the ICS/OCIMF Publication Prevention
of Spillages through Cargo Pumproom Sea Valves.

Deck scuppers

Prior to any cargo operation taking place all deck scuppers are to be plugged and checked for
tightness. Careful attention is to be given to keeping scuppers dry and clean. Mechanical type
scupper closures are required to be used in USA ports and all ports.

Manifold savealls

Manifold savealls are to be provided under each manifold connection. These are to be kept clean
and dry wherever possible, with any cargo spillages being drained at the earliest opportunity.
Operational contamination is to be prevented by use of portable collection drums during

Following detail pages explain all liquid chemical hazards & precautionary measures while
carrying at sea.
1. Toxicology and associated hazards onboard chemical tankers

2. Hazards of vapour given off by a flammable liquid while carrying at sea

3. Reactivity of various noxious liquid chemicals

4. Most corrosive chemicals carried onboard chemical tankers

5. Posoning hazards & first aid treatment

6. What is putrefaction process of liquid chemicals ?

7. Specific gravity,Vapour pressure and boiling point,Electrostatic charging & measuring
8. General precautions onboard chemical tankers

9. Mooring precautions onboard chemical tankers

10. Berth precautions onboard chemical tankers

11. Cold weather countermeasures, avoiding electric storms

12. Restriction on using radio equipments and other mobile devices in cargo working areas

13. Handling precautions for carcinogens or cyanide-like substances

14. Handling precautions for Benzene & Methanol

15. Securing cargo tank lids and required safety precautions

16. Means of access (gangways or accommodation ladders) safety precautions

17. Preparations for hot work and safety precautions

18. Safe method of gas freeing after a tank cleaning onboard chemical tankers

19. Precautions against static electricity

20. Handling precautions for nitrogen from shore station

21. Cargo tank entry safety precautions

22. Ship to ship transfer safety precautions

23. How to deal with chemical fire onboard ?

Following reference publications provide useful guidance and international regulations for
carrying hazardous chemicals at sea.
SOLAS (latest consolidated edition)
MARPOL 73/78 (latest consolidated edition)
BCH / IBC Code
International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT)
Tanker Safety Guide (Chemicals)
Ship to Ship Transfer Guide (Petroleum)
Safety in Oil Tankers
Safety in Chemical Tankers
Supplement to IMDG Code (Including MFAG and Ems)
Clean Seas Guide for Oil Tankers
FOSFA (for Oils, Seeds and Fats)
Prevention of Oil Spillage through Cargo Pumproom Sea Valves
Chemical Data Guide for Bulk Shipment by Water (Condensed Chris)
MSDS for particular cargo carried
Chemical Tank Cleaning Guide

Our detail pages contain somewhat larger lists of resources where you may find more useful