Major export terminals in Brazil and Australia have been speeding up iron ore and coal loading rates in an attempt to increase turnover time and reduce congestion.
The trend had been highlighted by industry association Intercargo in a survey which suggested that it could potentially damage the structural strength of bulk carriers.
In response the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s Maritime Safety Committee meeting in London this week has agreed a new circular on safe loading rates should be agreed and included in the Code of Practice for the Safe Loading and Unloading of Bulk Carriers.
Intercargo’s technical manager Ian Harrison said: “The circular addresses industry concerns on the speed of loading bulk carriers including both structural and manoeuvrability issues”.
Harrison continued: “It also supports the ship’s master who ultimately takes responsibility for the safety of the ship and its crew, and has the right to stop the loading of a ship at anytime”.
The IMO has further agreed that a joint loading and unloading plan drawn up between the ship master and loading terminal should be made mandatory.