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RISKS IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF COAL

Coal transportation requires special attention and adherence to strict procedures to minimize risks and ensure safety for both people and property. Faced with potential risks, fully implementing procedures is key to ensuring coal is delivered to its destination safely and without causing unfortunate incidents.

Coal transportation requires special attention and adherence to strict procedures to minimize risks and ensure safety for both people and property. Faced with potential risks, fully implementing procedures is key to ensuring coal is delivered to its destination safely and without causing unfortunate incidents.

In this article, we invite you to join Thuan Hai in learning about the special properties of coal, thereby determining transportation methods that are not only safe but also effective.

PROPERTIES OF CHARCOAL

Coal was formed from dead vegetation, deposited about 300 million years ago, through a combination of biochemical and geological processes. One of the challenges of transporting coal in large quantities is its ability to self-heat to the point of causing an explosion, which often poses a serious challenge to transport vehicles.

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Self-heating will initiate from exothermic reactions leading to an increase in temperature in the combustible material. This occurs when the rate of heat production exceeds heat loss, leading to an increased rate of oxidation, potentially leading to ignition and fire.

Factors that cause coal to self-heat towards ignition include:

- The air is rich in oxygen;
- Large surface area over which oxidation reactions can take place;
- Humidity is at the right level;
- Insulation prevents internal heat from spreading.

In addition, Bituminous coal and Anthracite coal both emit methane, a flammable gas with a very low explosive limit in air (4.4%). Explosions are often caused by the ignition of methane in cargo.

RULES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SAFE TRANSPORTATION OF COAL

SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) and IMSBC Code (International Maritime Organization for the Carriage of Solid Bulk Bulk Cargoes by Sea) are laws and regulations. Need to know to transport goods in general and coal in particular via means of transport at sea.

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Prepare necessary documents

According to SOLAS, coal is defined as dangerous goods in bulk solid form.

In all documents relating to the transport of solid dangerous goods in bulk by sea, the correct bulk cargo shipping name must be used.

Every ship carrying dangerous goods in solid and bulk form in bulk must have a List/Manifest of dangerous goods on board and their location. A set of copies of these documents must be provided to the person or entity designated by the Port State Authority prior to departure.

Control the loading process and comply with requirements

Coal can generate heat or spontaneously burn, so appropriate precautions should be taken before transportation to minimize the possibility of fire.

Coal is a commodity transported according to the provisions of the IMSBC International Code. The code requires shippers to provide cargo details including water vapor content, sulfur content, particle size, and information on whether the cargo emits methane. The Code also requires ships to have:

- Instruments for measuring oxygen, carbon monoxide and methane

- Gas sampling pipes in all cargo holds

- An instrument to measure the pH value of lacquer water samples.

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On the other hand, the IMSBC Code recommends that ships have instruments to measure cargo temperature, both during loading and during the voyage, such as infrared thermometers.

In the event of fire or self-heating progressing in coal bunkers to a dangerous state, the ship should:

- Close all ventilation to the cargo hold;

- Start cooling the boundaries of affected tunnels and consider fleeing to the nearest port for refuge;

- Notify P&I immediately as an urgent response from this organization may be required including the presence of specialists;

- Ensure all spaces near cargo holds are inspected before allowing people to enter and that no one enters enclosed spaces without confirming that it is safe.

- Provide the Shipowner and P&I with all temperature and gas monitoring records during the voyage.

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Equipped with gas detectors and heat measuring devices

The IMSBC Code requires ships transporting coal to use gas detectors and train crew. This equipment should be tested in a gas free space before importing coal into an enclosed space or cargo hold. The devices typically use electrolytic sensors to detect flammable gases and operate reliably in atmospheres with more than 15% oxygen. When oxygen is below 10%, flammability measurements using electrolytic sensors are unreliable. For coal tankers, gas detectors with infrared sensors that do not require oxygen are a good choice to ensure accuracy.

The use of infrared thermometers can assist seafarers in controlling the surface temperature of coal, ensuring that there is no loading at temperatures above 55°C - an environment recommended by the IMSBC Code as unsafe.

Fully implementing safe coal transportation procedures is a mandatory condition to prevent unfortunate incidents that can lead to serious loss of life and property.

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As one of the largest coal importers in the Vietnamese market, Thuan Hai has built its own facilities, infrastructure and an experienced team to prevent risks that may occur during the process. coal transportation, storage and use.

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