Pre-Loading and Safety Loading Supervision of Coal in Bulk at Taboneo, Banjarmasin, Indonesia

We attended on board MV. XXXX whilst she was anchorage at Taboneo loading point, Banjarmasin – Indonesia for the purpose of ascertaining Pre-Loading survey of the cargo condition and safety loading supervision of coal in bulk of 67,000 MT


Indonesian Steam Coal is in group B which is not liquify. The cargo is not considered liable to emit significant amounts of methane. It is considered liable to spontaneous combustion if the recommended IMSBC precautions relating to self-heating coals are not followed.



Taboneo is the sea area near Barito river. It is located in Bajarmasin, Indonesia. The anchorage position is 03-43,44 South and 114-27,78 East. It can be reached by boat about 1 hour from Banjarmasin. The weather at Taboneo was unpredictable. It was sometimes raining suddenly. Due to the numerous danger and difficulties associated with coal, considering the safe loading supervision of coal before loading, we advised the master in recommended precautions as follows:



The Master should be informed about the Shipper’s Declaration/Cargo Information prior to loading.

If the cargo is liable to emit methane, then the Master should refer to the IMDG Code to obtain the loading, stowage and carriage information. Based on P&I Club Instruction, temperature of the cargo to be monitored prior to loading. Look for ‘hot spots’.


Based on IMSBC Code, the shipper and surveyors may quote an ’average temperature’ measurement in relation to barge cargo in order to establish a value below 550C. The Code does not recognize this methodology.

Before loading the cargo:

  • Bilge wells should be cleaned, residual cargoes should be removed, suction should be tested and covered with taped down double wrapped burlap.
  • Hatch top wheels and associated equipment should be greased to ensure that no sparks are caused during the opening and closing.
  • Electrical cables, cargo hold lights and any other electrical instruments within cargo holds should be checked for insulation damage to ensure that they are safe for use in an atmosphere containing explosive gases. On bulk carriers, as no lighting is needed, the fuses should be pulled to isolate electricity.
  • Ships that carry coal are required to carry instruments to measure:
  • Methane, oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in cargo holds
  • Cargo hold temperature (between 0-100°C)
  • The pH of bilge water.

The installation of these instruments or the taking of measurements should be possible without entering the cargo space. Arrangements should also be made to calibrate and test the instruments.

  • Extra monitoring should be implemented when coal is loaded in holds adjacent to hot areas, such as heated fuel DB tanks and engine room bulkheads.
  • The ideal place to monitor the temperature of the load is the centre of stow. If the temperature is measured from the side, top or corners of hold, the temperature at the centre of the cargo will be several degrees higher.
  • A no smoking policy should be fully implemented on the ship and hot work should not be allowed, particularly in the vicinity of the cargo compartments.
  • There should be regular monitoring of atmosphere to check the concentration of pH of bilge water. Ventilation should only be continued if the amount of methane rises above the acceptable level. Coal should also be ventilated prior to discharge owing to the danger of the build-up of gases that could be ignited by a spark from the opening of the hatches.
  • The gases may escape the cargo compartment to adjacent stores, mast houses, etc. These spaces should also be monitored on a regular basis.
  • A higher pH value reading indicates the likelihood of increased corrosion. In such cases the bilges should be kept dry by pumping out any accumulated water. However, records should be kept in the deck logbook for the quantity of bilge water discharged to justify any claims of cargo shortage.
  • If any suspected problem is observed during the passage the shipper should be contacted, not only to update their information but also to seek any clarification.



If the shipper has declared that the cargo is liable to emit methane or the methane concentration in the cargo compartment is above 20% of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL), the following additional precautions should be taken: Surface ventilation should be maintained, hatch covers should not be opened until the accumulated gases have been removed, all enclosed spaces such as store rooms, tunnels and passageways, etc, should be thoroughly monitored for methane, enclosed hatch covers should be ventilated.



If the shipper has declared that the cargo is liable to self-heat, then the following additional precautions should be taken:

  • If required, the Master should seek additional guidance from the shipper on the adequacy of the existing precautions
  • if analysis of the atmosphere of the cargo compartment indicates an increased carbon monoxide concentration, then: the hatch covers should be closed after loading and additional seals applied, surface ventilation should be kept to minimum, carbon monoxide concentration should be regularly measured and recorded, if the hold temperature exceeds 55°C or the carbon monoxide concentration rises steadily, expert advice should be sought.



We inspected all cargo hold condition with Chief Officer including: Hatch cover, Rubber gasket of hatch cover, rubber gasket of main hole, Cargo hold ventilation, Hatch coaming, and Hold cleanlinness.



Shipper provided barges with capacity 12,000 MT, a floating crane with grab capacity 12 MT and a floating conveyor which is able to load apprx. 2,000 MT/ an hours.



At the time of our attendance prior to the loading activity, we monitored the temperature on barges by using “thermocouple connector” and recorded the results.



  • We noted the final quantity loaded on board based on Draft Survey was carried out by the Chief Officer and Cargo Surveyor.
  • We carried out testing temperature and gas concentration of cargo holds and recorded the result


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