Bulk cargo liquefaction risks

the bulk cargo liquefaction is an important safety issue for bulk carries. Could anybody provide valuable insights and recommendations in order to avoid such incidents?

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Hi @Satyajit

Cargo liquefaction is a phenomenon that occurs when solid bulk cargoes (such as granular materials) that are loaded directly into a ship’s hold turn into a liquid state due to an increase in water pressure. This can cause the ship to tilt and potentially capsize, leading to a significant loss of life and the loss of the vessel.

Cargo liquefaction can occur during loading or when the cargo is exposed to agitation by the ship’s engine vibration or movement of the waves. The risks associated with cargo liquefaction are higher in emerging markets where loading procedures may not be standardized and the infrastructure and investment may be lacking.


The shipping industry has implemented measures to reduce the risks of cargo liquefaction, such as creating working groups and implementing the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC) to provide information on the characteristics of different cargoes and instructions on how they should be carried.

The development of new technology, such as sensors to monitor cargo pressure and smart weather forecasting software, may also help reduce the risks associated with cargo liquefaction in the future.


Hi @ZhengYiSao

The dynamic separation is different phenomenon from the liquefaction. Dynamic separation is a term used to describe a phenomenon that can occur during the transportation of certain types of cargo, such as bauxite. When cargo is compacted due to vessel movement and vibration, moisture within the cargo can migrate to the surface of the hold.

This can result in the formation of a slurry of water and fine particles on top of the cargo, which can cause uneven deposition of loose cargo within the hold. Over time, this can lead to cargo collecting on one side of the holds, affecting the ship’s weight distribution and stability. In more extreme cases, the ship can progressively list to one side, potentially leading to a shift and capsize.