08th October 2019
In September, Dr John Allum of Hawkins’ Hong Kong Office and Dr David Rose of Hawkins’ Singapore Office, attended the Shipping 2030 Asia three day event, along with many shipowners, shippers, freight forwarders, salvors, and others in the maritime industry.
Dr Allum was invited to speak as part of the Hazardous Cargoes Forum. The Hazardous Cargoes forum focused on how to prevent risks associated with cargo liquefaction and containership fires. Dr Allum spoke in a roundtable discussion with Toby Stephens (Partner at HFW), Paul Walton (Shipping Technical Director at LOC), Jan de Boer (Senior Legal Officer at IMO) and Gregg Newman (Senior Partner at WK Webster & Co) on current laws and regulations that may need to be changed or amended, in order to help mitigate the risks of fire at sea. The group discussed whether tighter regulations in conditions for the ship’s crew, as well as more sufficient firefighting equipment might help to save lives, as well as whether container isolation could possibly prevent fires from spreading.
Hawkins has investigated several cases, both before and after a ship has set sail, in which cargo liquefaction has been a risk. Liquefaction occurs in certain cargoes, such as nickel ore, that can become agitated by repetitive motion, such as the rocking of a ship at sea or shaking during cargo loading, which then causes the substance to lose its solid state. Picture a field after a rainstorm, and then picture hundreds of people walking through that field in wellington boots: the agitated grass turns to soil, the soil then turns to liquid mud.
It is important to test the structural integrity of cargo before it ships, and to understand the rate and mechanism at which liquefaction occurs. Accepting misdeclared, undeclared or dangerous cargoes can ultimately lead to, not only liquefaction, but also lost lives of crew members. If cargoes become liquid, the weight of that liquid within the ship can transfer and, in the worst case scenario, cause that ship to capsize.
If you would like to know more about issues in the maritime industry, or are local to Hong Kong or Singapore, please contact us to speak to an expert or schedule a presentation at your office or event.