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Shipping Indonesian coals: the hazards

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World Coal,

UK P&I Club, a leading provider of protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance and other services to the international shipping community, has released advice on the shipping of coal from Indonesia, highlighting the key risks.

“Self-heating incidents involving coal cargoes loaded at Indonesian ports have become increasingly frequent in recent years,” the UK P&I Club said in a press release. “The problem appears to be primarily related to the nature of the coals and may be exacerbated by the way they are handled prior to and during loading.”

To mitigate the risk of self-heating, as we as methane emissions, from coal cargoes, the UK P&I Club recommends monitoring the temperature of the cargo during loading. Cargo above 55°C should be rejected.

In addition, cargo holds should be closed immediately after the completion of loading in each cargo space. If a delay occurs during loading, the partially filled holds should be closed and they should not be ventilated.

When the holds are closed, the UK P&I Club recommends monitoring the hold’s atmosphere for methane, carbon monoxide and oxygen, starting immediately with a proper record kept of results. Such gas monitoring provides more reliable information on the status of the coal in the cargo holds than measuring temperatures using thermometers lowered into sounding pipes, which can only detect heating of the coal in the immediate vicinity of the sounding pipe.

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