Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Cargoes and dangerous goods

AMSA's responsibilities

AMSA is responsible for implementing the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations in Australia for all safety-related aspects for marine carriage including bulk liquid and solid cargoes, dangerous goods, general cargoes, containers, as well as standards and operations concerning cargo lifting gear.

Cargoes

Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), ships are subject to port State control inspections to verify compliance with cargo requirements including:

  • stowage
  • segregation
  • packaging
  • documentation.

AMSA represents Australia at the following cargo-related IMO Sub-Committees:

  • Sub-Committee on the Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC)
  • Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR)

Related regulations and publications

Cargo Handling

Information Sheets

Grain

  • Marine Order 33: Cargo and cargo handling – grain
  • Form AMSA225 [PDF Icon PDF: 304Kb]: Loading, or Sailing after Partial Discharge, of Bulk Grain

Bulk Cargoes

AMSA Accepted Training Courses for cargoes and dangerous goods.

IMSBC Code 2016 Edition (including 03-15 amendments

It should be noted that the individual schedule for IRON ORE in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) incorporating amendment 03-15 and supplement 2016 Edition was not the amended version.  The IMO has issued an errata.

The errata includes the correct individual IRON ORE schedule, as amended by the 03-15 amendments. If you have a hard copy of the Code this should be printed out and inserted in your copy of the Code. If you purchased the e-reader file, you can access the erratum using the Internet Update/Check for Content Update function on The IMO Bookshelf.  

The Code and errata remain the responsibility of the IMO. If you have any further questions about this errata for the version of the IMSBC Code you may have, you should contact the IMO or the IMO authorised seller you purchased the Code from.

SOLAS Amendments Relating to Verified Gross Mass of Containers

From 1 July 2016, revisions to the SOLAS Convention will come into effect, making the shipper responsible for verifying the gross mass of a container and stating this verified gross mass on the maritime shipping documents.

The shipper can use either:

  • Method 1 - Weighing the fully laden (packed) container
  • Method 2 - Weighing the cargo, and adding the weight of the empty container (tare).

For either method weighing equipment used must meet standards of accuracy prescribed in the applicable legislation.

From 1 July 2016 all containers being shipped from Australia must have a declared 'verified gross mass' on the maritime shipping documents.

Containers without a verified gross mass on the maritime shipping documents cannot be loaded.

To assist with compliance, the IMO has published; ‘Guidelines Regarding the Verified Gross Mass of a Container Carrying Cargo’ (MSC.1/Circ.1475.

AMSA has amended Marine Order 42 to implement the SOLAS requirements. Marine Order 42 (Carriage, stowage and securing of cargoes and containers) 2016 is freely available from the Federal Register of Legislation and from our Marine Orders page. The list of standards approved in writing by AMSA as mentioned in 10(3)(II) can be found in the Instrument of approval - approved accuracy standards for weighing equipment for the determination of verified gross mass (VGM). The new MO42 will commence on 1 July 2016.

AMSA has compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the implementation of the SOLAS requirements in MO42.

AMSA Exemption relating to Competent Authority approval of a Modified Test for Coal

AMSA has issued an Exemption [PDF Icon PDF: 698Kb] providing for shippers of coal to use an additional test for evaluation of liquefaction properties of Coal.

The approved test is the Modified Proctor/Fagerberg Method for Coal [PDF Icon PDF: 701Kb].

Shippers of Coal as a solid bulk cargo from Australia should also take note of the separate AMSA Exemption for Shippers of Group A Solid Bulk Cargoes [PDF Icon PDF: 703Kb], requiring the provision of additional documentation to the master if your coal is classified as a Group A solid bulk cargo.

AMSA Exemption relating to the testing of the Material Hazardous in Bulk (MHB) - corrosive properties of Solid bulk Cargoes

AMSA have been working with industry on issues identified with the repeatability and reliability of the modified C.1 test prescribed by section 9.2.3.7.3 of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code. It was noted that actual behaviour of solid bulk materials did not reflect the outcome of the test which found a number of benign materials to be a corrosive solid. AMSA, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and Australian industry have been working with Curtin University to assess the scope the issues. This resulted in papers being taken to the 3rd session of the IMO Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) sub-committee (see note) and an exemption being issued for IRON ORE and IRON ORE FINES to allow the use of an alternative test pending the conclusion of further research. This issue is now the subject of an international research effort and an IMO Correspondence Group.  While the work is progressing well it will take some time to complete.

Note: Relevant papers submitted by Australia were CCC 3/5/17, CCC 3/INF.7, CCC 3/INF.17, CCC 3/INF.18 and CCC 3/INF.19. Support was provided by the IIMA in CCC 3/5/20 and the outcome detailed in the report of CCC3 in CCC 3/15 in sections 5.60 to 5.62.

In the interim AMSA the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and Australian industry have continued to work with Curtin University on this issue. As a result alternative test arrangements have been extended by AMSA to cover IRON ORE, IRON ORE FINES, BAUXITE, COAL, MINERAL CONCENTRATES AND METAL SULPHIDE CONCENTRATES. AMSA is acting in line with its obligations under the IMSBC code, and in consultation with IMO, to facilitate the shipment of these cargoes until the issue can be resolved. The alternate was to rely in a Tripartite assessment under section 1.3 of the IMSBC Code for many shipments of these cargos. This was considered untenable. Once the IMO agree on a solution this this issue AMSA will move to implement it.

AMSA has issued two exemptions in respect of this issue;

EX5450 allowing shippers of  IRON ORE, IRON ORE FINES, BAUXITE and COAL to use an alternative method for evaluation of the MHB corrosive properties of iron ore and iron ore fines. The alternative method is by use of the standard DIN 50929-3 Corrosion of metals; probability of corrosion of metallic materials when subject to corrosion from the outside; buried and underwater pipelines and structural components as detailed in the exemption. The previous exemption EX5389 has been withdrawn.  

EX5451 allowing shippers of  MINERAL CONCENTRATES AND METAL SULPHIDE CONCENTRATES to use a modified C.1 test better suited to the properties of these materials. The test ensures greater repeatability and better reflects the evidence for transfer and carriage of this cargo.

AMSA Determination relating to Material Hazardous in Bulk (MHB) categorization related to the self-heating properties of COAL

AMSA have been working with industry with regard to issues identified with the repeatability and reliability of the N.4 test prescribed by section 9.2.3.7.3 of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code to determine self-heating properties of COAL. It was found that actual behavior of most COAL cargoes during transport, or when stored in stockpiles, did not reflect the outcome of the test. Research found significant issues of repeatability with positive and negative results for the same cargo in different tests. AMSA, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and Australian industry have been working with ACARP and the University of Newcastle to assess the scope of the issues. As a result of this work it was concluded that some COAL cargoes were Material Hazardous only in Bulk (MHB) with self-heating properties, but did not behave like a dangerous good of Class 4.2. AMSA also noted that some COAL cargoes are Class 4.2 dangerous goods and need to be treated as such.

AMSA have determined, by approval AP5416, the categorization of COAL, meeting certain criteria, to be MHB on the condition that extra precautions are taken.  The alternate was to rely on a Tripartite assessment under section 1.3 of the IMSBC Code for many shipments of COAL and this was considered untenable noting the evidence did not support the higher categorization. COAL cargoes above the limits established in the determination will be considered Class 4.2 dangerous goods and these will need a Tripartite assessment to be shipped. AMSA is acting in line with its obligations under the IMSBC code, and is preparing to take papers to the 4th session of the IMO Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) sub-committee detailing the outcome of ongoing research.

Livestock

The obligations with regard to loading and transporting livestock from Australia are set out in the relevant sections of the Navigation Act 2012 and designated Marine Orders, in particular Marine Order 43 (Cargo and cargo handling - livestock) 2006. Marine Order 43 specifies the requirements for issue of an Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock (ACCL). Since 1 December 2011, in order to be issued with an ACCL, all vessels have been required to meet the requirements of SOLAS that apply to a vessel constructed on or after 31 August 1984, without exception or exemption. An application for issue of an ACCL should be submitted in accordance with Schedules 2 and 2A of Marine Order 43, to: livestock@amsa.gov.au.

  • Marine Order 43: Cargo and cargo handling - livestock. Note: MO 43 refers to the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) which is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Dangerous Goods - related regulations

Information Sheets

Related IMO publications

  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code
  • IMDG Code Supplement
  • Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes
  • International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code
  • IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code)
  • International Code for the Safe Carriage of Grain in Bulk
  • Code of Safe Practice for Ships Carrying Timber Deck Cargoes
  • Code of Practice for the Safe Loading and Unloading of Bulk Carriers
  • International Convention for Safe Containers
  • Code of Safe Practice for the Carriage of Cargoes and Persons by Offshore Supply Vessels
  • Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing, including Guidelines for the Preparation of the Cargo Securing Manual

Further information on these publications may be found in the IMO Publications Catalogue.

AMSA Dangerous, Hazardous and Harmful Cargoes Handbook

AMSA cargoes and dangerous goods handbook This handbook has been produced as an information resource for those involved in the transport of dangerous goods intended to be shipped by sea.

It is also designed as a training text incorporating and updating the DG compendium contained in IMO Model course 1.10.

It includes a guide to the training required for each function described in Chapter 1.3 of the IMDG code for this reason (Annex 1 outlines training requirements and relevant handbook sections and other references).

Use of the handbook is not mandatory for training courses seeking AMSA acceptance and other packages may also be considered.

However, where a training provider submits a training package to AMSA for acceptance it will be assessed for scope and content against IMO Model course 1.10 and the Handbook as appropriate.

The book costs $25 per copy ($20 per copy for orders of 100 or more) plus GST and postage.

For more information, or to place an order, please phone 02 6279 5955 or email: dangerousgoods@amsa.gov.au.

The book may also be purchased from any AMSA office.

Further information

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