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General precautions for carrying chemical cargoes - preventing

accidental spillage & other precautions

Chemical tankers are required to transport a wide range of different

cargoes, and many tankers are designed to carry a large number of
segregated products simultaneously. To cover all aspect of safety
handling such noxious liquid chemicals following general precautions
should be observed irrespective of cargoes carried.

Additional precautions for specific cargoes are necessary and should

also be incorporated in the ship’s cargo handling procedures.

These general precautions should be observed at all times, both in port

and at sea as applicable. Ports and terminals may have additional and
different precautions and it is the Master’s responsibility to ensure that
local regulations are understood and observed

Cargo Information

The IMO chemical codes as well as Marpol Annex II require that certain
information must available on board prior to loading, reference is made
to the IBC code and the BCH code. It is the Master’s responsibility to
ensure that the necessary information, including shipping document and
Material Safety Data Sheets are on board for each cargo, and available to
all personnel onboard and involved in cargo handling. Loading should not
commence before the Master is satisfied that the necessary information
for safe handling of the cargo is available.
Fig:Chemical tanker general safety precautions at berth

Preventing accidental spillage

Ships personnel must maintain a close watch throughout cargo

operations to ensure that any escape of cargo does not go unnoticed. In
this respect, it is essential that all valves are closed if not in use.

Personnel operating inert gas plants must be aware that, with some inert
gas generators, there is a risk of oil pollution via the cooling water
discharge when the burner does not ignite first time in its start cycle.
Where such a risk exists it is better to start the generator and check
before the vessel arrives at the berth and ensure no leakage of fuel.

Cargo or bunker tanks which have been “topped-off” must be checked

frequently during the remaining loading operations to avoid an overflow.

If an accidental spillage or leakage of cargo occurs during any operation,

the relevant operation must be stopped immediately. The operation must
not be restarted until the cause has been established and the defect

Modern vessels are supplied with an approved outfit of clean-up

materials in compliance with MARPOL and OPA90 requirements. Clean up
materials must be available at the bunker or cargo manifold, for the
prompt removal of any spillage on deck. Portable salvage pumps (air
operated and constructed of suitable chemical resistant materials)
suitably grounded and preferably hard-piped or connected to suitable
containment tank(s), shall be deployed at the after-end of each side of
the main deck.

Chemicals used for clean up on deck must not be allowed to enter the
water unless permission has been obtained from the harbour authorities.

Should an cargo spill accident take place then the appropriate

authorities, as detailed in the vessel’s Oil Spill Response Plan (US
waters), or SOPEP (other waters) must immediately be informed. The
contact sheet required by the Plan must be completed prior to arrival in

Personal protective equipment

All tankers designated for carriage of dangerous chemicals in bulk must

have on board suitable protective equipment and clothing for the
protection of crew involved in cargo handling and tank cleaning
operations. Some details of these will be found within the Safety &
Environmental Manual. The types and quantities of protective equipment
as well as additional safety equipment should be in a strict compliance
with requirements of IBC/BCH Code.

All ships carrying dangerous cargoes should have on board medical first-
aid equipment, including oxygen resuscitation equipment and antidotes
for cargo carried in compliance with recommendations listed in IMO
-–MFAG (Medical First Aid Guide) and WHO – IMGS (International Medical
Guide for Ships).

Openings in deckhouses and superstructures

Regulations require that portholes in the superstructure within a certain

distance of the cargo deck must be fixed shut. These design features
must not be modified in any way. All doors, portholes and other openings
should be kept closed during cargo operations. Doors that need to be
closed (except when in use) in port must be marked accordingly.
Mechanical ventilation should be stopped and air conditioning units
operated on closed cycle or stopped in situations where toxic or
flammable vapours may enter the accommodation. Low pressure in
accommodation must be avoided which will occur if air conditioning is on
full re-circulation and some extraction fans e.g. for toilets are still in use.

Engine Room Equipment

Boiler tubes, uptakes, exhaust manifolds and combustion equipment

must be maintained in good condition as a precaution against funnel
fires and sparks. In case of a funnel fire, or if sparks are emitted from the
funnel, cargo operations involving flammable products should be
stopped, and at sea, the course may be altered to prevent sparks falling
onto the tank deck.

Excluding vapour from machinery spaces

Care should be taken to ensure that flammable or toxic cargo vapour

does not enter the engine room spaces. Special attention should be paid
to engine room equipment connected to the cargo deck area.
In case of an accident or an emergency that could give rise to a situation
where toxic or flammable vapours are likely to enter the engine room
spaces, consideration should be given to its possible effect on personnel
and/or equipment and necessary preventive actions should be taken.

Following detail pages explain chemical tanker hazards & various

precautionary measures .

1. Emergency towing-off wires ( fire wires) ,means of access

,deckhouses and superstructures safety precautions, requirement
of chemical tankers readiness to move etc.

2. Emergency towing off wires and access to ship requirements

3. Mooring precautions for chemical tankers at berth

4. Assessing wind & weather conditions

5. Restriction on using radio equipments and other mobile devices in

cargo working areas

6. Effects of Tugs and other craft alongside chemical tankers

7. Preparations for hot work and safety precautions

Below 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
MSDS for particular cargo carried
Chemical Tank Cleaning Guide

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|||Special cargoes |||Spills emergencies |||Fire protection is merely an informational site about various

aspects of chemical tankers and safety tips that may be particular value
to those working in: Chemical Handling, Chemical Storage, Liquefied
Chemical Suppliers, Chemical Shipping, Chemical Transportation,
Chemical Terminals, Bulk Chemical Services and Chemical Processing. If
you are interested in finding out more about chemical tanker guideline
please visit IMO official website. For any comment please Contact us

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