Dangerous goods

Dangerous goods
Dangerous goods on ships are basically those classified as such under the following Regulations or Codes:
•    Local Legislation.
•    International Maritime Organization (IMO) see Chapter 7 Safety of Life at Sea and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG).
•    Road Transportation of Dangerous Goods (ADR Accord Dangerous Routier).
•    Rail Transportation of Dangerous Goods (RID Reglament International Dangereuses).
•    I.L.O. Guidelines.
Dangerous cargoes
Dangerous cargoes are classified according to their nature (liquid, solid) and packaging (pallets, drums, containers, bulk) and are further sub-divided as follows:
•    Explosives (Class 1)
•    Gases (compressed, liquefied and dissolved under pressure) (Class 2)
•    Flammables (liquid and solid) (Class 3)
•    Substances liable to spontaneous combustion (Class 4)
•    Water reactive substances (Class 4)
•    Oxidizing substances (Class 5)
•    Poisonous, toxic substances (Class 6)
•    Infectious substances (Class 6)
•    Radioactive materials (Class 7)
•    Corrosives (Class 8)
•    Miscellaneous dangerous substances (Class 9)

In order to contribute towards the safe carriage of goods considered as ‘dangerous’ an international code was drawn up by the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization, which is a specialized agency of the United Nations. The code is known as the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) and it sets out in detail provisions and requirements applicable to individual classes of substances, materials or articles which are carried by sea.

Regarding provisions and requirements, the code focuses on the following aspects:
•    Packaging
•    Marking
•    Labeling
•    Documentation
•    Stowage (recommending separation/segregation of hazardous goods)
•    Quantity limitations
•    Exceptions and notifications towards prevention/mitigation of pollution

At all times it endeavours to respond to the changing needs of the chemical industry, developments in maritime transport and facilities at ports of call. This implies continuous revision, amending and rearrangement of the IMDG Code.

This code is directly linked with information given on the same subject in the SOLAS and MARPOL publications and it has been enforced widely in the international shipping community but it must be understood that it is a Code and not a Treaty and therefore carries no legal weight; its contents being recommended to governments for adoption as national regulations. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Office (ILO) have evolved a Medical First Aid Guide (MFAG) for Accidents Involving Dangerous Goods which in turn acts as a complement to the International Medical Guide for Ships (IMAS). The Emergency Procedures for Ships (EMS) carrying dangerous goods are also worth mentioning. To sum up, all the above can be considered as being ‘de facto’ enforced on the international maritime scene.
Vessels carrying dangerous goods (Imports)
In order to make the necessary arrangements prior to the vessels arrival the Customs House Agent must receive beforehand full details as defined by the IMDG Code of all dangerous cargoes that are on board.
At least 72 hours before arrival, the Agent is required to present, as applicable, the following completed forms as per Coastguard Maritime Ordinance 1-990 (Transport of Dangerous Goods by Ship) to the Coastguard Salvage and Fire Dept. An exception for the above time limit is considered in the case of vessels calling from nearby ports, when a 72 hour preadvise is impossible.

1) Annex 1, sheet 1, Notification of dangerous goods in packages.
2) Annex 1, sheet 2, List of dangerous goods in packages.
3) Annex 1, sheet 3, Stowage plan (cargo, passenger and Ro-Ro vessels).
4) Annex 1, sheet 4, Stowage plan (container vessels - bay plan).
5) Annex 3, sheet 1, Notification of dangerous goods in bulk.
6) Annex 3, sheet 2, Description of dangerous goods in bulk.
7) Annex 3, sheet 3, Stowage plan (bulk cargoes).
8) Annex 8, sheets 1 and 2, List of unspecified dangerous goods.

The General Alphabetical Indexed Manifest presented to Customs (at Buenos Aires computerized manifest) must contain appropriate identification of dangerous goods by their IMO Class and UN number.

IMDG cargo is usually, by its nature, cargo which must be delivered to consignees directly alongside the vessel. Should this not be so, it must be taken from alongside to a bonded warehouse with facilities to receive this type of cargo. In either case IMDG cargo is not permitted to remain on the quay awaiting delivery. Coastguard authority must be kept informed of the loading and movement of this type of cargo in order to be aware of the potential hazards on board or within the port area, warehouses and/or on-carrying craft if said cargo is in transit. Upon loading dangerous goods in containers or vehicles, Annex 2, certificate of stowage of dangerous goods in containers or vehicles must be presented.
For export cargoes, full details must be supplied in advance to booking departments and ships involved in their oncarriage. Safety measures must be taken on shore. When dangerous goods are to be transported or carried within containers or vehicles, all recommendations as per the existing Codes have to be applied twice. Firstly to the packages and their packings within the container or vehicle and secondly to the container itslef to ensure that cargo is placed on board as per IMDG recommendations.
Shippers Declaration
Should the shipping document not convey full details of the relative hazard of the goods it is convenient to apply Rule 5 Chapter 7 of the SOLAS Convention, ie. that the shipper makes a declaration that the consignment is suitable for a sea voyage and to this effect the Code offers the following style:

‘I hereby declare that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately described above by the correct technical name(s), proper shipping name(s), and are classified, packaged, marked and labeled, and are in all respects in proper condition for transport by....................insert type of transport involved................. according to the applicable international and national governmental regulations.’

                                                                                          Signature on behalf of Shippers

Difficulties can arise with mixed products N.O.S. (not otherwise specified). In such cases additional information should be requested. To sum up, the efficient and safe carriage of dangerous goods is dependant on:

    •    Classification and declaration of goods.
    •    Correct packaging, marking/labeling and documenting.
    •    Proper handling, stowage, securing and provision of information to all parties concerned.