Every day, thousands of containers are shipped around the world, some of them carrying dangerous cargoes. In order to enhance the safe transport of dangerous goods by sea and protect the marine environment, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code was developed. This contains advice, amongst other things, on terminology, packaging, labelling, stowage, handling and emergency response. At Hawkins, we regularly assist P&I Clubs, Owners and other interested parties involved in IMDG incidents. We have the experience and expertise to provide advice prior to loading, following a leakage or contamination incident through to chemical incidents and fire/explosion investigations. Following an incident we are able to immediately mobilise to assess the situation, provide advice on possible clean-up measures and undertake detailed investigation into the cause of the incident.
Dangerous goods are classified into 9 classes according to properties and hazards (Table 1). Some of these classes are subdivided into divisions. This classification allows non experts to easily determine risks of containers.
Table 1 IMDG cargo classes
The substances listed below are examples of commonly carried dangerous cargoes. The hazards associated with these cargoes include self-heating and emission of toxic gases which might result in serious physical losses or damages by fire or explosion.
Bills of loading provided by shippers should accurately specify what is stored inside the containers, however, dangerous goods are often misdeclared. The consequences of failing to properly declare cargo can be catastrophic. According to the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS) organization, 24% of cargo incidents result from misdeclaration of cargo while a further 37% are due to poor or incorrect packing.
At Hawkins we have been involved in several cases concerning unsafe cargo. We have experience in providing advice for the safe loading, stowage, segregation and transport of dangerous goods. We also offer advice on fire precautions, including the monitoring of cargo properties during voyage using special detectors or tests. Furthermore, Hawkins has a wide experience in dealing with the investigation of fire damage or explosions caused by the transport of different types of dangerous goods.