The UK P&I Club has published a checklist and guide to avoiding fires when carrying Indonesian coal cargoes in bulk. It is an ‘aide memoire’ for the guidance of shippers, shipowners, charterers, surveyors, ships’ crews and other parties involved in the loading and carriage of cargoes of coal.
Self-heating incidents involving coal cargoes loaded at Indonesian ports have become increasingly frequent in recent years. The problem appears to stem from the nature of these coals, possibly exacerbated by local handling loading.
Coal shipped from Indonesia is likely to contain a significant proportion of lower-rank coals in the sub-bituminous and lignite (brown coal) categories. In general terms, lower rank coals are more susceptible to self- heating than the high rank coals.
The checklist focuses specifically on the potential hazard of self-heating. The full recommendations for the safe carriage of coal are found in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code which took effect on 1 January this year.
The checklist can be downloaded in .pdf format from the club's website.