Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Cargoes and dangerous goods

AMSA's responsibilities

AMSA is responsible for implementing the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations in Australia for all safety-related aspects for marine carriage including bulk liquid and solid cargoes, dangerous goods, general cargoes, containers, as well as standards and operations concerning cargo lifting gear.


Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), ships are subject to port State control inspections to verify compliance with cargo requirements including:

  • stowage
  • segregation
  • packaging
  • documentation.

AMSA represents Australia at the following cargo-related IMO Sub-Committees:

  • Sub-Committee on the Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC)
  • Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR)

Related regulations and publications

Cargo Handling

Information Sheets


  • Marine Order 33: Cargo and cargo handling – grain
  • Form AMSA225 [PDF Icon PDF: 304Kb]: Loading, or Sailing after Partial Discharge, of Bulk Grain

Bulk Cargoes

AMSA Accepted Training Courses for cargoes and dangerous goods.

SOLAS Amendments Relating to Verified Gross Mass of Containers

From 1 July 2016, revisions to the SOLAS Convention will come into effect, making the shipper responsible for verifying the gross mass of a container and stating this verified gross mass on the maritime shipping documents.

The shipper can use either:

  • Method 1 - Weighing the fully laden (packed) container
  • Method 2 - Weighing the cargo, and adding the weight of the empty container (tare).

For either method weighing equipment used must meet standards of accuracy prescribed in the applicable legislation.

From 1 July 2016 all containers being shipped from Australia must have a declared 'verified gross mass' on the maritime shipping documents.

Containers without a verified gross mass on the maritime shipping documents cannot be loaded.

To assist with compliance, the IMO has published; ‘Guidelines Regarding the Verified Gross Mass of a Container Carrying Cargo’ (MSC.1/Circ.1475.

AMSA has drafted amendments to Marine Order 42 to implement the SOLAS requirements. The draft Order and accompanying informative documents, consisting of the draft approved standards of accuracy, the current MO42, the summary of changes, the text of SOLAS Chapter VI Part A, the AMSA consultation presentation and the IMO Guidelines (MSC.1/Circ.1475), were available for public comment from 10 April 2016 until the public consultation period closed on 30 May 2016.

AMSA is currently reviewing the draft MO42, taking into account the public comments received, and amending it as required. The draft consultation documents are provided to assist stakeholders to continue to prepare for the new legislation coming into effect on 1 July 2016.

AMSA Exemption relating to Carriage of Group A Solid Bulk Cargoes

AMSA has issued an Exemption [PDF Icon PDF: 703Kb] for shippers of Group A Solid Bulk Cargoes to ensure the moisture content is less than the Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) when on board the ship, by:

  1. obtaining a certificate of approval, issued by the competent authority of the port of loading, for the procedures that they established for sampling, testing and controlling moisture content of their Group A solid bulk cargo, in accordance with paragraph 4.3.3 of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code, (IMSBC Code) and IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1454 [PDF Icon PDF: 130Kb]
  2. providing to the master a copy of the certificate of approval [PDF Icon PDF: 395Kb] issued by the competent authority.

AMSA Exemption relating to Competent Authority approval of a Modified Test for Coal

AMSA has issued an Exemption [PDF Icon PDF: 698Kb] providing for shippers of coal to use an additional test for evaluation of liquefaction properties of Coal.

The approved test is the Modified Proctor/Fagerberg Method for Coal [PDF Icon PDF: 701Kb].

Shippers of Coal as a solid bulk cargo from Australia should also take note of the separate AMSA Exemption for Shippers of Group A Solid Bulk Cargoes [PDF Icon PDF: 703Kb], requiring the provision of additional documentation to the master if your coal is classified as a Group A solid bulk cargo.


  • Marine Order 43: Cargo and cargo handling - livestock. Note: Mo 43 refers to the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock which is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
  • Marine Notice 13/2009: Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock (ACCL)

Dangerous Goods - related regulations

Marine Order 41: Carriage of dangerous goods

Information Sheets

Related IMO publications

  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code
  • IMDG Code Supplement
  • Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes
  • International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code
  • IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code)
  • International Code for the Safe Carriage of Grain in Bulk
  • Code of Safe Practice for Ships Carrying Timber Deck Cargoes
  • Code of Practice for the Safe Loading and Unloading of Bulk Carriers
  • International Convention for Safe Containers
  • Code of Safe Practice for the Carriage of Cargoes and Persons by Offshore Supply Vessels
  • Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing, including Guidelines for the Preparation of the Cargo Securing Manual

Further information on these publications may be found in the IMO Publications Catalogue.

AMSA Dangerous, Hazardous and Harmful Cargoes Handbook

AMSA cargoes and dangerous goods handbook This handbook has been produced as an information resource for those involved in the transport of dangerous goods intended to be shipped by sea.

It is also designed as a training text incorporating and updating the DG compendium contained in IMO Model course 1.10.

It includes a guide to the training required for each function described in Chapter 1.3 of the IMDG code for this reason (Annex 1 outlines training requirements and relevant handbook sections and other references).

Use of the handbook is not mandatory for training courses seeking AMSA acceptance and other packages may also be considered.

However, where a training provider submits a training package to AMSA for acceptance it will be assessed for scope and content against IMO Model course 1.10 and the Handbook as appropriate.

The book costs $25 per copy ($20 per copy for orders of 100 or more) plus GST and postage.

For more information, or to place an order, please phone 02 6279 5955 or email:

The book may also be purchased from any AMSA office.

Further information

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