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 amended Marine Order 42 to implement the SOLAS requirements. Marine Order 42 (Carriage, stowage and securing of cargoes and containers) 2016 is freely available from the Federal Register of Legislation and from our Marine Orders page. The list of standards approved in writing by AMSA as mentioned in 10(3)(II) can be found in the Instrument of approval - approved accuracy standards for weighing equipment for the determination of verified gross mass (VGM). The new MO42 will commence on 1 July 2016.

AMSA has compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the implementation of the SOLAS requirements in MO42.

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.

AMSA Exemption relating to the testing of the Material Hazardous in Bulk (MHB) corrosive properties of IRON ORE and IRON ORE FINES

AMSA has issued an Exemption [PDF Icon PDF: 734Kb] providing for shippers of iron ore and iron ore fines to use an alternative method for evaluation of the MHB corrosive properties of iron ore and iron ore fines.

The alternative method is by use of the standard DIN 50929-3 Corrosion of metals; probability of corrosion of metallic materials when subject to corrosion from the outside; buried and underwater pipelines and structural components as detailed in the exemption


The obligations with regard to loading and transporting livestock from Australia are set out in the relevant sections of the Navigation Act 2012 and designated Marine Orders, in particular Marine Order 43 (Cargo and cargo handling - livestock) 2006. Marine Order 43 specifies the requirements for issue of an Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock (ACCL). Since 1 December 2011, in order to be issued with an ACCL, all vessels have been required to meet the requirements of SOLAS that apply to a vessel constructed on or after 31 August 1984, without exception or exemption. An application for issue of an ACCL should be submitted in accordance with Schedules 2 and 2A of Marine Order 43, to:

  • Marine Order 43: Cargo and cargo handling - livestock. Note: MO 43 refers to the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) which is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Dangerous Goods - related regulations

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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