Chemical Tanker Guide Online
Home || Chemical hazards || Various chemicals || Cargo Stowage || Care ||Tank cleaning ||Handling equipments ||



Various special liquid chemicals characteristics & handling methods

The transportation of chemicals is technically and logistically different from the transportation of oil and oil products. Chemical tankers are more advanced in many ways. The cargoes may be hazardous and noxious chemicals or such products as edible oils and fats. A common characteristic of these cargoes is that they tend to be high value and require sophisticated handling for safety, health and loss prevention reasons.

Every chemical cargo carried requires careful consideration during the planning process and loading. Some are temperature sensitive some are semi-gases, some need to be inhibited, and some are sensitive to water. Checks also need to be made regarding the chemical ship type, (for instance category I, lI or III), tank coating compatibility, cross compatibility with other cargoes carried, environmental controls if required (inerting).

Deep sea chemical transportation
Fig : Chemical tanker deep sea chemical transportation


In addition, tank construction type for containment, venting requirements, gauging equipment, vapour detection, compatible fire protection medium, heating requirements, inhibition requirements, density limitations of the product in relation to the cargo tank, and pumping requirements are important considerations. Most of this information is set out in the IBC or BCH Code.




In addition, the vessels also need to take into account the information contained in safety data sheets, applicable load-line zones encountered during the voyage, changes in sea/harbour water densities, bunker quantities and disposition, the loading sequence of each grade, final quantities/ullages, charterers’ options on cargo lift requirements, segregation requirements, valve line-up and the line-up and sequence of concurrent ballast operations.


Hazards of cargo fumes

Officers and crew should be trained enough to identify smell and colours of dangerous gases and fumes. A surveyor and a ship officer lost their lives after inhaling CO2 gas present in a tanker's soya bean cargo. During a survey, the surveyor found that the last cargo hold was still closed, possibly due to a small technical fault. Instead of waiting for repairs to be completed he entered the hold with an officer, using the access ladder. When both men did not return, an alarm was sounded. Soon the Master found them dead under the box beams.

A lesson should be learnt from this incident. Firstly, every vessel should have on board a gasdetection/oxygen depletion-monitoring instrument. Secondly, the incident is an eye opener also for tankermen, who often think that nothing important or dangerous can happen on a dry cargo ship. All ships should be fitted with gas sampling apparatus for entry into enclosed spaces. It should be remembered that this includes cargo spaces where fumes may be present.

Experience has also shown that non-chemists should be extremely careful while handling chemical names. In some cases, a single letter in the name, wrongly used, can completely alter the meaning and properties of a chemical substance. While trying to identify a substance in an index, care must be taken not to confuse similar names which is all too easy in an emergency.

Strong smelling gases can damage the olfactory nerves after short-term exposure. If this happens, further detection or an increase in the intensity is not noticed, a person becomes unaware of the danger, possibly with dire consequences.


Good practices

High melting point cargoes such as Phenol, Palm fatty acid distillates lauric and Stearic acid has inherent property to form lumps of cargo. It is therefore recommended to turn the cargo pumps at regular intervals during the voyage and prior to discharge in order to avoid any last minute surprises. All the lines to be then blown back to the cargo tanks.

The danger of frozen valves, pressure/vacuum in the tanks to be monitored during loading, voyage and discharge. In the event if any of the pumps are found frozen, deployment of portable Framo pump should not be considered without a proper Risk assessment and office permission.



We have summarized below some of the special chemical cargoes frequently carried onboard chemical tankers

Handling benzene & methanol safety precautions
Benzene is known as a strong carcinogen and known to cause leukaemia. When handling cargoes with more than Benzene concentration of 0.5%, the Master is to ensure that all personnel involved are aware of the long term hazards. ....

Handling carcinogens requirements for certain chemical cargoes
A carcinogen is a substance that may cause cancer by contact or by inhalation. It is therefore essential that the highest safety precautions are taken when handling these cargoes. Access to deck areas must be restricted to duty personnel only. .....

Handling ACRYLONITRILE safety precautions
ACRYLONITRILE are high value and require sophisticated handling for safety, health and loss prevention reasons. They need careful consideration prior loading , tank coating compatibility, cross compatibility with other cargoes carried, environmental controls if required (inerting). .....

handling ISOCYANATES safety precautions
Isocyanates require sophisticated handling for safety, health and loss prevention reasons. They need careful consideration prior loading , tank coating compatibility, cross compatibility with other cargoes carried, special tank cleaning procedures & environmental controls . .....

handling Sulfuric acid safety precautions
Loading , carrying at sea & discharging of Sulphuric acid involve high risk and require sophisticated handling for safety, health and loss prevention reasons. They need careful consideration prior loading , tank coating compatibility, cross compatibility with other cargoes carried, environmental controls if required (inerting). .....

handling Phenol safety precautions
Phenol are high value and require sophisticated handling for safety, health and loss prevention reasons. They need careful consideration prior loading , tank coating compatibility, cross compatibility with other cargoes carried, environmental controls if required (inerting). .....

Hazards of Phenol - safe handling of Phenol on chemical tankers.
Heating instructions of the Shipper or Owners must be followed to avoid cargo related claims. Sufficient toxic gas measuring tubes must be available before commencement of loading. .....

Marine transportation of Phenol and more safety guideline
The solution of Phenol causes severe chemical burns to the intact skin, which are usually painless. It appears as white wrinkled "dead skin". In case of eye contact, permanent damage to the eye may occur.....

Handling benzene & methanol safety precautions
Benzene is known as a strong carcinogen and known to cause leukaemia. When handling cargoes with more than Benzene concentration of 0.5%, the Master is to ensure that all personnel involved are aware of the long term hazards. .....

Carriage of Hydrolysable cargoes
Carriage of Hydrolysable cargoes .....

Carriage of Propylene Oxide cargoes
Carriage of Propylene Oxide cargoes .....

Requirements of various grade chemical cargo heating
In a modern chemical tanker in order to maintain product quality, to minimise the potential for discoloration, and to facilitate some liquid cargo transport in a safe manner cargo heating is required. .....

Handling toxic cargoes
There are three common ways that a cargo can be toxic: swallowed (oral toxicity), absorbed through the skin, eyes and mucous membranes (dermal toxicity) or inhalation as a vapour or mist (inhalation toxicity). ....


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. What is putrefaction process of liquid chemicals ?
  6. Specific gravity,Vapour pressure and boiling point,Electrostatic charging & measuring Viscosity
  7. General precautions onboard chemical tankers
  8. Mooring precautions onboard chemical tankers
  9. Berth precautions onboard chemical tankers
  10. Cold weather countermeasures, avoiding electric storms
  11. Restriction on using radio equipments and other mobile devices in cargo working areas
  12. Handling precautions for carcinogens or cyanide-like substances
  13. Means of access (gangways or accommodation ladders) safety precautions
  14. Preparations for hot work and safety precautions
  15. Precautions against static electricity





Following reference publications provide useful guidance and international regulations for carrying hazardous chemicals at sea.



Main Info pages!

Home page ||| Chemical hazards ||| Cargo planning & Stowage ||| Cargo loading ||| Cargo documents ||| Safe stability ||| Cargo care ||| Preparation for unloading ||| Inert gas systems |||Gas freeing ||| Nitrogen handling ||| Chemical handling Safe practice |||Handling equipments ||| Cargo & Ballast pumps ||| Cargo tanks |||Tank cleaning |||Special cargoes |||Spills emergencies |||Fire protection




Chemicaltankerguide.com 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

Copyright © 2011 Chemical Tanker Guide.com All rights reserved.