Useful information


The transport of Solid Bulk cargoes (Excluding grain) was requlated under the BC Code (as of 1965). The BC Code was voluntarily and often not properly used. In 2009, the first edition of the new IMSBC (International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes) Code was approved and could be used. This Code became mandatory in 2011 (And the BC Code became obsolete at the same time).


As a result of the mandatory requirement that ALL solid bulk cargoes (excluding grain) shipped, must be covered by an individual schedule* in the IMSBC Code, the Code has seen frequent large updates. Therefore it is recommended to use the latest edition as soon as available. (See resolution MSC. 462(101)).

* Note: A cargo not listed in the IMSBC Code can still be transported but only with agreement of the applicable authorities (See 1.3 “Cargoes not listed in this Code”).

Risks in relation to the shipment of Solid Bulk Cargoes

  • Breaking/sinking of the vessel (Due to liquifaction or incorrect loading)
  • Heavy listing of the vessel (Due to liquifaction or incorrect loading)
  • Fire/explosion (Due to the chemical characteristics of the cargo)
  • Toxic/Asphyxiant gases (From the cargo or from fumigants)
  • Lack of oxygen (Due to e.g. oxygen depleting cargoes)
  • Health hazard due to dust

Limited list of bulkcarriers which sank due to cargo incidents

  • Xin Hong (Clay 2020) 15 missing
  • Nur Allya (Nickel ore 2019) 25 lives lost
  • Stellar Daisy (Iron ore 2017) 22 lives lost
  • Emerald Star (Nickel ore 2017) 10 lives lost
  • Bulk Jupiter (Bauxiet 2015) 18 lives lost
  • Haritha Bauxite (Nickel ore 2013) 15 lives lost
  • Vinalines Queen (Nickel ore 2011) 22 lives lost
  • Nasco Diamond (Nickel ore 2010) 22 lives lost
  • Jian Fu Star (Nickel ore 2010) 13 lives lost
  • Black Rose (Iron ore 2009) 1 live lost

Some terms used in relation to IMSBC Code shipments

  • Angle of Repose (AoR)
  • BCSN (Bulk Cargo Shipping Name)
  • Cargoes which may liquefy
  • Cohesive and none cohesive cargoes
  • Flow state
  • Gasmeter
  • GHS (Global Harmonised System)
  • Group A cargo (Cargoes which may liquefy)
  • Group B cargo (Cargoes possesing a chemical hazard)
  • Group C cargo
  • Harmfull to the environment
  • High-density solid bulk cargo
  • IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code)
  • ISPS (International Ship & Port facility Security)
  • LSA (Low Specific Activity)
  • MHB (Materials Hazardous only in Bulk)
  • Moisture migration
  • Potential source of ignition
  • RAM (RadioActive Material)
  • Sampling
  • Shipper
  • Self heating properties
  • Shifting
  • Sources of heat
  • Test criteria
  • TML (Transportable Moisture Limit)
  • Transboundary movements under the Basel Convention
  • Trimming
  • UN number / IMO Class
  • Ventilation (Continuous, Mechanical, Natural and Surface)
  • Waste (See Section 10, Basel Convention)
  • Weather precautions