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Recommended IMO codes for modern chemical tankers

In addition to MARPOL 73/78 there are two IMO Codes applicable to chemical tankers:

Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (the BCH Code). This was first adopted by IMO in 1971 as voluntary guidelines providing advice to the industry and to authorities. Under the subsequent provisions of MARPOL Annex II , chemical tankers constructed before 1 July 1986 and engaged in international trade must comply with this Code.



chemical tanker navigation at sea
International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (the IBC Code). This was adopted by IMO in 1983. Under the provisions of SOLAS Chapter VII and MARPOL Annex II all chemical tankers constructed on or after 1 July 1986 must comply with the provisions of this Code.

Both Codes have been amended several times since their adoption, in order to keep them up to best practice in the industry. The IBC Code also contains the current requirements for safe handling of cargoes, and should be available on board for reference regardless of the age of the ship.


The relevant Code or Codes applying to a particular ship must be carried on board. The IMO Codes are intended to produce a uniform set of regulations, allowing a ship to be issued with a Certificate of Fitness indicating compliance with the relevant Code. The certificate is accepted by the nations to which the ship may trade as an assurance of the ship's constructional safety, in a similar way to the international acceptance of Safety Equipment, Safety Construction, Load Line and other certificates issued to signify compliance with IMO standards. As with other certificates, the Codes require periodic re-inspection of the ship during its lifetime to maintain validity.

The implementation of these international regulations is through the approval by national administrations of a Procedures and Arrangements (P&A) Manual, individually developed for each ship.


Main requirements of the IMO Codes

The IMO Codes address the safety of everyone involved and protection of the environment by ensuring that the ship will remain afloat after an assumed extent of damage, thereby minimising potential pollution and the uncontrolled release of cargo that could follow if a ship sank.

They set detailed requirements for specific aspects of the ship: materials of construction; the separation of cargo, accommodation and machinery spaces; segregation of different types of cargoes; controls and instrumentation for cargo handling equipment; control of conditions within cargo spaces and venting from them; piping and pumping arrangements; electrical installations; fire fighting and extinguishing systems; and personal protective equipment.

The IMO Codes then list cargoes, identifying the hazards each presents during carriage by sea. Cargoes which are assessed as presenting a safety or pollution hazard to such an extent as to warrant protection are required to be carried in designated ship types providing the appropriate degree of protection. Three ship types are prescribed, with the most hazardous cargoes receiving the most protection through further requirements applied to individual cargo tanks.


Chemical tanker familiarization training for newly joined crew member
It is essential on chemical tankers that everyone knows his ship's safety precautions thoroughly. Also the master/chief officer must assume responsibility for this. Newly signed on members of the crew should be familiarized about the following items and be shown around the ship to get detailed knowledge:

IMO codes guideline for modern chemical tankers
The IMO Codes address the safety of everyone involved and protection of the environment by ensuring that the ship will remain afloat after an assumed extent of damage, thereby minimising potential pollution and the uncontrolled release of cargo that could follow if a ship sank.

What is reactivity of noxious liquid chemicals while carrying at sea ?
The most common form of self-reaction is polymerisation. Polymerisation generally results in the conversion of gases or liquids into viscous liquids or solids. It may be a slow, natural process which only degrades the product without posing any safety hazards to the ship or the crew, or it may be a rapid, exothermic reaction evolving large amounts of heat and gases.

What is putrefaction process of liquid chemicals ?
Most animal and vegetable oils undergo decomposition over time, a natural process known as putrefaction (going off), that generates obnoxious and toxic vapours and depletes the oxygen in the tank. Tanks that have contained such products must be carefully ventilated and the atmosphere tested prior to tank entry .

Physical properties of various noxious liquid chemicals carried at sea
Specific Gravity (Density) ,Flash Point,Auto Ignition Temperature,Flammable / Explosive Limits,Vapour pressure/Boiling point,Freezing point/Melting Point....



Related info:

Preparations prior allowing personnel into cargo tanks / enclosed spaces

International regulations for preventing pollution from chemical tankers

Preparations for hot work and safety precautions

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