THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) recently released new guidelines on the carriage of dangerous cargoes in the domestic trade, putting more responsibility on the master of the vessel and its owner in cases of accidents.
The new ruling takes effect early next month.
In the new Rules Governing the Carriage of Dangerous and/or Hazardous Cargoes or Goods in Packaged Form for Ships Plying Domestic Trade, Marina said that in the event of a ship abandoned due to an incident/accident involving dangerous cargoes, or a report from such a ship being incomplete or unobtainable, the company, to the fullest extent possible, assumes the obligations placed under the master by this regulation.
Dangerous cargo is defined as goods or merchandise in the form of solids, gases, or liquids, which exhibit dangerous properties and are taken on board a ship.
Failure to produce proper documentation will mean a fine of P25,000 for the first offense to P100,000 and cancellation of licenses and other safety certificates for the third offense.
With the new order, the special permit for the carriage of dangerous cargo in packaged form or the type of special containment specified for harmful substances shall no longer be issued.
Dangerous cargo manifest
The transportation of dangerous items will now be covered by the dangerous cargo manifest, which will then be reflected on the Master of Oath of Safe Voyage document of the vessel captains.
The cargo should have a stowage plan and a copy of the plan should be brought on board a vessel for the crew, and should then be given to the stevedore at the port of discharge.
These documents shall be retained by the owners, charterers, or agents of ships transporting or storing dangerous cargoes for at least one year in case the government requires it.
“The Master shall ensure that all dangerous cargoes carried on board are protected from any unauthorized access and that such spaces where these cargoes are carried are properly marked,” the new circular said.
All shipping companies, operators, charterers and personnel involved are given six months from the effectivity of the cir-cular to undergo training in hand-ling, carriage and stowage of dangerous goods.
The ruling follows guidelines of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, especially on packaging and stowage requirements, labeling, segregation, and the carriage of explosives.