Australia attends DSC 18

Sunday 13 October 2013
In September, Australia attended the 18th and last session of the Sub-committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC 18).
Chairman of DSC, Mr Hui Xie of China, with Head of Delegation for Australia, Mr Alex Schultz-Altmann and the Head of Delegation, and Permanent Representative to the IMO for Brazil, Admiral Luiz Umberto de Mendonca

As a result of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) review and reform program, from 2014 the sub-committee will be restructured to capture a broader range of cargo issues as the Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) Sub-committee.

DSC 18 was particularly notable for the conclusion to the long-running issue of liquefaction in iron ore cargoes, with the development of new schedules for the carriage of iron ore fines (IOF) and a revised test procedure for inclusion in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code. This process commenced at DSC 16 and involved extensive work to accurately map the properties of IOF and how moisture may affect material stability. The process included the establishment of a Technical Working Group (TWG) by industry which supported the work of an IMO correspondence group. The TWG oversaw the conduct and consolidation of in depth research conducted by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Vale. This research was assessed by the International Group and Imperial College before submission to the correspondence group.

This significant and very complex body of work has been sponsored and supported by the Competent Authorities of Australia and Brazil. Australia and Brazil also co-sponsored papers that presented our position and addressed outstanding issues for consideration at DSC 18, to support the required IMSBC Code changes. The process undertaken has been recognised by many DSC delegations as unprecedented in its rigour and for the level of cooperation between regulators and industry, and may serve as a model for facilitating resolution of similar issues with other materials. AMSA considers this cooperative approach and information sharing as critical to ensuring cargoes are carried in a manner that minimises the risks to safety and the environment.

Given the complexity and national importance of the issue (41 per cent of the world's iron ore exports are sourced from Australia), AMSA delegates were supported by a strong contingent of technical advisors from Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Similarly, Brazil was supported by Vale.

The Brazilian and Australian delegations with the Chairman of DSC, Mr Hui Xie of China
The Brazilian and Australian delegations with the Chairman of DSC, Mr Hui Xie of China