Fig: Modern Chemical tanker underway
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 vessel’s 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:
NO NAKED LIGHTS
NO UNAUTHORISED PERSONS
SWITCH OFF MOBILE PHONES
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.
Most of the chemical present more than one hazard to health, for example, it may:
Personnel Exposure to Chemicals, Noxious Liquids and Fumes
- 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.
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
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 practiced.
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”.
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 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
Following detail pages explain all liquid chemical hazards & precautionary measures while carrying at sea.
- Toxicology and associated hazards onboard chemical tankers
Toxicity is the ability of a substance, when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed by the skin, to cause damage to living tissue, impairment of the central nervous system, severe illness or, in extreme cases, death. The amounts of exposure required to produce these results vary widely with the nature of the substance and the duration of exposure to it.
- Hazards of vapour given off by a flammable liquid while carrying at sea
Vapour given off by a flammable liquid will burn when ignited provided it is mixed with certain proportions of air, or more accurately with the oxygen in air. But if there is too little or too much vapour compared to the air, so that the vapour-and-air mixture is either too lean or too rich, it will not burn.
- Reactivity of various noxious liquid chemicals
Self-reaction: 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.
- Most corrosive chemicals carried onboard chemical tankers
Acids, anhydrides and alkalis are among the most commonly carried corrosive substances. They can rapidly destroy human tissue and cause irreparable damage. They can also corrode normal ship construction materials, and create a safety hazard for a ship.....
- Posoning hazards & first aid treatment
The poison is a very toxic substance which when absorbed into the human body by ingestion, skin absorption, or inhalation produces a serious or fatal effect. Poison may enter the human body orally, by inhalation, or by skin contact. After being absorbed by the body it may affect certain organs or give a general poisonous effect. Lately the cancerogene effects of some industrial chemicals have been noticed. This has led to significant reductions of hereto accepted TLV- values in many countries.....
- Specific gravity,Vapour pressure and
boiling point,Electrostatic charging & measuring Viscosity
Tanks on a Chemical Tanker are normally designed to load cargoes of a higher specific gravity than an oil tanker. Very often the design strength differs between groups of tanks on the same ship.
- General precautions onboard chemical tankers
Additional precautions for specific cargoes are necessary and should also be incorporated in the ship’s cargo handling procedures....
- Mooring precautions onboard chemical tankers
The consequences of a chemical tanker ranging along a jetty or breaking away from a berth could be disastrous, especially during a cargo transfer involving multiple different chemicals. Correct and sufficient mooring is therefore of the utmost importance.
- Berth precautions onboard chemical tankers
If an unauthorised craft comes alongside or operates in an area which may create a danger, it should be reported to the port authority and, if necessary, cargo transfer operations should cease.
- Cold weather countermeasures, avoiding electric storms
During cold weather, precautions should be taken to prevent equipment and systems from freezing. Attention should be given to pneumatic valves and control systems, fire lines and hydrants, steam driven equipment, cargo heating systems, pressure/vacuum valves etc......
- Restriction on using radio equipments and other mobile devices in cargo
During medium and high frequency radio transmissions significant energy is radiated, which can create a danger of incendive sparking by inducing an electrical potential in unearthed steelwork.
- Securing cargo tank lids and required safety precautions
Improper closing and sealing of cargo tank hatches can be a major cause of cargo contamination. A properly closed and sealed tank hatch/opening will prevent sea water ingress and maintain a positive pressure Nitrogen blanket in the ullage space. ....
- Means of access (gangways or accommodation ladders) safety precautions
Emergency towing-off wires ( fire wires)
,Ship’s readiness to move
Deckhouses and superstructures safety precautions
- Precautions against static electricity
Static electricity is generated by friction that occurs between different materials during relative motion. Electrostatic charges can then accumulate in materials which are poor conductors of electricity or which are good conductors but are insulated.....
- Cargo tank entry safety precautions
On chemical tankers the entry of personnel into cargo tanks is a more common practice than on oil tankers as a result of the requirement for inspections between grades etc; despite this, it is essential that the necessary checks are conscientiously made and recorded prior to entry in order to ensure the safety of personnel, enclosed space rescue equipment must be made ready for immediate use.
Following reference publications provide useful guidance and international regulations for carrying hazardous chemicals at sea.
Main Info pages!
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Chemical hazards |||
Cargo planning & Stowage |||
Preparation for unloading
Inert gas systems
Chemical handling Safe practice
Cargo & Ballast pumps
- 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
CHRIS Guide (USCG)
Chemical Data Guide for Bulk Shipment by Water (Condensed Chris)
MSDS for particular cargo carried
Chemical Tank Cleaning Guide
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