Dangerous Goods-2 (General)

Q. What is PSN? Why is it needed in addition to the UN number?
Ans. PSN is abbreviation for proper shipping name.

It is expressed in uppercase characters, sometimes, followed by additional descriptive text in lower-case characters.

Proper shipping names may be shown in plural where more products with some variation and different UN numbers may exist.

There are products where the quantity of water is specified. An alternative proper shipping name may be shown in brackets following the main proper shipping name.

The proper shipping name is shown in upper-case characters. It is sometimes described with numbers, Greek letters, ‘sec’, ‘tert’, and the letters m, n, o, p, making the representation complete.

Sometimes, generic name with remark ’not otherwise specified’ can accommodate many products, with similar properties and with the condition that a particular packaging or provision is followed.

Sometimes, generic name with remark ’not otherwise specified’ can accommodate many products, with different sub-classes.

Sometimes, a chemical group is represented by NOS.

The reason that a combination of PSN and UN number is used for identification of the product is:
1. There may be two products sounding similar but having different characteristics and may be of different class. To ensure that there is no confusion amongst the people handling or carrying cargo a combination of number and PSN is provided to a product.
2. This rules out the confusion caused due misprint in the tentative cargo plan or loading list, etc.

Q. What is UN number?
Ans. The United Nations number is assigned to a dangerous good by the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

Q. What special measures must be taken when a certain dangerous cargo is handled? 

  • Apart from the usual precautions like stability, port rotation, etc the cargo plan must be thoroughly checked for stowage, segregation and compatibility.
  • Master’s standing instructions and the tentative cargo plan must strictly be followed.
  • Port and company’s regulations are complied with.
  • Cargo operations must be done at permitted time, at proper wharf.
  • Displaying appropriate signals in respect of dangerous goods is very important.
  • The required equipment for particular cargo that is handled must be kept standby.
  • At regular meetings various safety precautions, role of crew, required handling equipment, locations, etc is discussed out. Any deviation from the agreed plan should be brought to chief officer’s or Master’s notice. 
  • The relevant extracts from the IMDG code are pulled out. In particular, all the emergencies that could arise with the handling of the cargo, including the first aid should be considered.
  • The emergency clean-up measures as well as requirement as per the EmS (Emergency Schedule of the IMDG) are consulted.
  • Any special precautions mentioned as per the Dangerous List should be extracted.
  • Ship officers should be well versed with reporting procedures.
  • Each ship carrying dangerous goods shall have a special list or manifest (FAL–7) ready and deliver it to appropriate office prior departure.
  • Cargo transport units, including freight containers, shall be loaded, stowed and secured throughout the voyage in accordance with the Cargo Securing Manual approved by the Administration. Contents within also must be duly secured.
  • If the duty officer feels that there is any discrepancy between the document submitted and the markings on the cargo, he must stop loading and inform the Master.
  • Similar action must be taken if the packaging is inappropriate or doubtful or if the packaging is worn out or is not sufficient.
  • No unscheduled package, pallet , etc must be accepted.

Q. Explain how, reporting of incidents involving dangerous goods must be done.

  • The guidelines are laid in the IMDG code in this respect. The duty officer, must comply with the procedures under supervision of senior officer. Alarm must immediately be raised to caution the team. Master is informed.
  • The Master, or other person having charge of the ship, shall report the particulars of such an incident without delay and to the fullest extent possible to the nearest coastal State. This can also be one in the likelihood of such loss overboard.
  • The IMO guidelines and general principles for dangerous goods, harmful substances and/or marine pollutants should be followed.
  • In the event of the ship above being abandoned, or in the event of a report from such a ship being incomplete or unobtainable, the owner, charterer, manager or operator of the ship, or their agents shall, to the fullest extent possible, assume the obligations, placed upon the Master by this regulation.

Q. What precautions must be taken to prevent a fire accident with the dangerous goods?
Ans. Since 2001, chapter 2 / II of SOLAS has a modified format, where the approach followed is concept based rather than the ship specific categorization of requirement. It deals with the principle of reducing the possibilities of an accident by eliminating possibility of fire and explosion in the first place. The other measures being effective detection, fire growth potential, suppression of fire, etc. The prevention of fire in a cargo of dangerous goods also, is influenced by such principles. The code must be closely followed. Additionally, the specific carriage instructions provided by shipper also, must be followed. Following thumb rules are worth following:

  • keep combustible material away from ignition sources;
  • protect a flammable substance by adequate packaging;
  • reject damaged or leaking packages;
  • stow packages protected from-accidental damage or heating;
  • segregate packages from substances liable to start or spread fire;
  • where appropriate and practicable, stow dangerous goods in an accessible position so that packages in the vicinity of a fire may be handled and removed;
  • “NO SMOKING” notices must be displayed and enforced;
  • lighting and power cables, and fittings should be well maintained;
  • faulty cables or equipment must be isolated or disconnected;
  • cables and conduit penetrations of the decks and bulkheads should be sealed against the passage of gas and vapours;
  • position of electrical equipment and cable should be considered when a deck stow is planned;
  • an efficient fire / smoke detection system is needed so that  the fire can be detected and extinguished before it can reach the dangerous goods. 
  • If a space is not protected by a fixed fire-extinguishing system, it should be accessible for fire-fighting;
  • no hot / repair work should be carried out in a compartment containing dangerous goods or  in any adjacent space; 
  • due caution and timely intimation to the port authority is important, when in port;
  • In case of inflammable gases, effective ventilation should be provided to remove any leakage of gas from within the cargo space or spaces;
  • measures should be taken to prevent leaking gases from penetrating into any other part of the ship;
  • entry of a compartment must only be undertaken after due consideration, by trained crew wearing self-contained breathing apparatus, under the supervision of a responsible officer;
  • certain leakages may give rise to explosive mixtures with air; and
  • The radioactive goods are designed to be strong enough to withstand severe fire and provide radiation shielding.

Q. In respect of a chemical say VINYLTOLUENES, STABILIZED UN 2618, explain how column 6, 16 & 17 help you take precautions in respect of fire. Also state, what is the guidance available in Ems?
Ans. The following information in respect of fire related precautions is derived from code in respect of Vinyltoluenes, stabilized UN 2618:

From column 17 of DGL:

Colourless liquids. Flashpoint: 54°C to 60°C c.c. Explosive limits: 0.9% to 6.1%. Partially miscible with water. Harmful by inhalation. Irritating to skin, eyes and mucous membranes.

Excerpt from part 7. Para 7.1 as guided by column 16a.

7.1.5    Stowage Codes The Stowage codes given in column 16a of the Dangerous Goods List are as specified below:

Excerpt from part 7
7.8.8     Special fire precautions for class 3 Flammable liquids give off flammable vapours which, especially in an enclosed space, from explosive mixtures with air. Such vapours, if ignited, may cause a “flashback” to the place in which the substances are stowed. Due regard should be paid to the provision of adequate ventillation to prevent accumulation of vapours.

An excerpt from special provision 386 from part 3.3 of IMDG code:
When substances are stabilized by temperature control, the provisions of 7.3.7 apply. When chemical stabilization is employed, the person offering the packaging, IBC or tank for transport shall ensure that the level of stabilization is sufficient to prevent the substance in the packaging, IBC or tank from dangerous polymerization at a bulk mean temperature of 50°C, or, in the case of a portable tank, 45°C. Where chemical stabilization……
Excerpt from the EMS for F-E


Q. Name some related Codes and publications which may be appropriate for function-specific training in respect of dangerous good.
Ans. Following Codes and publications will be appropriate:

  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, as amended
  • The EmS Guide: Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (EmS), as amended
  • Medical First Aid Guide for Use in Accidents Involving Dangerous Goods (MFAG), as amended
  • United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods – Model Regulations, as amended
  • United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods – Manual of Tests and Criteria, as amended
  • CTU Code
  • Recommendations on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Cargoes and Related Activities in Port Areas
  • International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC), 1972, as amended
  • Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code), as amended
  • Recommendations on the safe use of pesticides in ships applicable to the fumigation of cargo transport units (MSC.1/Circ)
  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL), as amended.
  • Inspection programmes for cargo transport units carrying dangerous goods (MSC.1/Circ)

Chapter 7.8 Special requirements in the event of an incident and fire precautions involving dangerous goods

Q. What is the general procedure followed after a spillage of dangerous goods occur?
Ans. Though, Ems, provides a good guidance in respect of fire as well as spillage of dangerous goods, chapter 7.8, which is ‘special requirements in the event of an incident and fire precautions involving dangerous goods’  provides some useful tips.  7.8.2 of part 7 provides, general provisions in the event of incidents as follows:

  • ‘Recommendations on emergency action may differ depending on whether or not the goods are stowed on deck or under deck or whether a substance is gaseous,, liquid or solid. When dealing with incidents involving flammable gases, or flammable liquids with a flashpoint of 60°C closed-cup (c.c.) or below, all sources of ignition (such as naked lights, unprotected light bulbs, electric handtools) should be avoided.
  • In general, the recommendation is to wash spillages on deck overboard with copious quantities of water and, where there is likely to be a dangerous reaction with water, from as far away as practicable. Disposal of spilt dangerous goods overboard is a matter for judgement by the master, bearing in mind that the safety of the crew has priority over pollution of the sea. If it is safe to do so, spillages and leakages of substances, articles and materials identified in this Code as MARINE POLLUTANT should be collected for safe disposal. Inert absorbent material should be used for liquids.
  • Toxic, corrosive and/or flammable vapours in under deck cargo spaces should, where possible, be dispersed before undertaking any emergency action. Where a mechanical ventilation system is used, care will be necessary to ensure that flammable vapours are not ignited.
  • If there is any reason to suspect leakage of these substances, entry into a hold or cargo space should not be permitted until the master or responsible officer has taken all safety considerations into account and is satisfied that it is safe to do so.
  • Emergency entry into the hold under other circumstances should only be undertaken by trained crew wearing self-contained breathing apparatus and other protective clothing.
  • A careful inspection for structural damage should be carried out after dealing with spillages of substances corrosive to steel and cryogenic liquids’.

Q. How will you ensure that the latest Code is being used? What are the recent amendments in respect of use of the Code?
Ans. Amendment of IMDG Code follows a unique system. Thus, IMDG Code Amendment 35-10 was available for use starting January 1, 2011, and became mandatory starting January 1, 2012. 

Recent Amendments
The IMDG Code is updated every two years to take account of new dangerous goods with new UN numbers, which are included. New technology and methods of working with or handling dangerous goods, which evolve are included. The new inventions and procedures, gained out  of experience and research are added to the Code. The other changes, which are in respect of the format are as follows:

 IMDG Code Amendment 34-08 (mandatory on 1.1.10)

  • Appropriate training for shore-side staff involved with dangerous goods is now mandatory instead of just recommended, and may be audited by the competent authority. Persons not yet trained may only operate under the direct supervision of a trained person.
  • The concept of a severe marine pollutant PP is deleted, they are just designated as P. The marine pollutant ‘bullet’ symbol is also deleted, but a shipper might need to declare any consignment as being a marine pollutant if it meets the criteria. There is a new section 2.9.3 describing these, and chapter 2.10 is rewritten. The new marine pollutant label is a dead tree and dead fish.
  • The IMO tank instruction column disappears from the Dangerous Goods List because the transitional provisions on their use will have expired by the time this amendment becomes mandatory on 1/1/2010.
  • There is a new column 7b in the Dangerous Goods List for excepted quantities. They will be labelled with an ‘excepted quantity’ label and the class number. The dangerous goods note shall state the words “dangerous goods in excepted quantities” together with the description of the shipment. An entry E0 in column 7b indicates that a substance may not be transported in excepted quantities. Codes E1 to E5 indicate different quantity limits according to a table in chapter 3.5. The total number of excepted quantity packages in a CTU shall not exceed 1000. Limited quantities For a substance not permitted in limited quantities, the column 7a entry “None” becomes “0”.
  • For class 7 radioactives, chapter 2.7 is completely rewritten, and there is a new chapter 1.5, ‘general provisions concerning class 7’.

Amendment 35-10, (mandatory on 1.1.12)
Following are incorporated:

  • technical changes to the operational requirements;
  • revised text on training for shore-side personnel;
  • updated requirements for construction and testing of packages;
  • provisions for high-consequence dangerous goods; and
  • packaging and labeling requirements for limited quantities and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs).

A new chapter 5.5, “Special Provisions”, which contains special provisions applicable to fumigated cargo transport units is introduced.

Amendment 36-12, (mandatory on 1.1.14)

  • In respect of ‘Stowage and Segregation’, part 7 has been reorganized according to job function.

7.1 General Stowage Provisions
7.2 General Segregation Provisions
7.3 Consigning Operations concerning the packing and use of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs) and related Provisions
7.4 Stowage and Segregation on Container ships
7.5 Stowage and Segregation on RO-RO ships
7.6 Stowage and Segregation on General Cargo Ships
7.7 Shipborne Barges on Barge-carrying Ships
7.8 Special requirements in the event of an incident and fire precautions involving dangerous goods
7.9 Exemptions, Approvals and Certificates

  • When in limited quantities (LQ), Class 8 Packing Group II liquids in glass or similar inners also need rigid intermediate packaging. Other substances in LQ in fragile inners will need suitable intermediate packaging when in shrink-wrapped or stretch-wrapped trays.
  • Fireworks, UN 0333-7 now need a classification reference issued by the competent authority. There are now only five stowage categories for explosives, and these are not the same as the present 01 to 05. If explosives are to be put into a CTU it must be a closed CTU for Class 1. All explosives on deck must be in a closed CTU. The stowage categories 01 (the least restrictive) to 05 relate to whether they are also allowed under deck, whether in closed CTUs or otherwise. All explosives of a particular division and compatibility group are allocated the same stowage category.

Amendment 37-14, (mandatory on 1.1.16)

  • The Dangerous Goods List has been reorganised and column 16 has been divided to cover separately stowage and handling (16a) and segregation (16b). Stowage on deck and/or under deck is still defined by stowage categories 01 to 05 (Class 1) and A to E (Classes 2 – 9). Provisions related to the stowage, handling and segregation, which were previously detailed in full in column 16, are now coded using one or more of 28 stowage codes (prefix SW), 4 handling codes (prefix H) and 75 segregation codes (prefix SG).
  • Numerous amendments have been made to the provisions covering Class 7 radioactive goods.

Amendment 38-16, (mandatory on 1.1.18)

  • A new Class 9 label has been adopted for use when lithium metal and lithium ion cells are being shipped. The latter type of cell being that used in mobile phones and other devices which have reportedly caught fire / exploded previously.

Amendment 39-18, (mandatory on 1.1.20) 

  • Throughout the text ‘risk’ now reads ‘hazard’ and ‘risks’ reads ‘hazards’.
  • Classification of corrosives, has been overhauled.
  • The stowage categories for several class 1 entries have been amended.
  • Chapter 5.3 is now extended to cover bulk containers.
  • Eighteen new segregation groups are identified
  • Section 7.2.8 has been updated to reflect the new segregation group codes.
  • SG1 has been amended and new segregation codes SG76, SG77 and SG78 added
  • The eighteen new segregation groups have now been coded and included in column 16b of the DGL (note: if a substance belongs to a segregation group (as identified in paragraph it is now identified in the DGL, column 16b, by inclusion of the ‘SGG’ code. The intention is to make the identification of belonging to a segregation group more easily recognizable directly from the DGL).
  • The heading in column 4 of the DGL now reads ‘subsidiary hazard(s)’.
  • Many substances in the DGL have now been assigned SG35, SG36 and/or SG49 (stow separated from acids/alkalis/cyanides)
  • The EmS guide has been updated and revised to reflect new assignments in column 15 of the DGL.

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