Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
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Fire or Explosion Concerns: Nickel ore is non-combustible and presents a low f re risk. What is the Coast Guard doing about it? The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code specif es how nickel ore should be loaded, unloaded, and transported on a cargo vessel for international shipments. Domestic nickel ore shipments require a special permit issued in accordance with regulations found in 46 CFR Part 148. Prior to a nickel ore shipment, the shipper must provide a signed certif cate of the transportable moisture limit as well as a signed certif cate or declaration of the moisture content to the vessel's master or his/her representative. Additionally, the competent authority of the port of load- ing must approve the testing procedures for sampling, testing, and controlling the nickel ore cargo's moisture content. About the author: Ms. Amy Parker is a lead chemical engineer in the Hazardous Materi- als Division at U.S. Coast Guard headquarters. She develops domestic and international regulations for hazardous material and solid bulk cargo marine transport and represents the U.S. at the meeting of the Interna- tional Maritime Organization's Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers. Endnote: 1. Baltic and International Maritime Council, "Why is Nickel Ore so Hazardous?" Available at https://www.bimco.org/en/Education/Seascapes/Questions_of_ shipping/2014_03_07_Why_is_nickel_ore_so_hazardous.aspx. References: The Nickel Institute website, www.nickelinstitute.org, accessed March 4, 2015. U.S. Geological Survey, 2015, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2015: U.S. Geologi- cal Survey, p. 108-109. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/70140094. What is it? Nickel ore, a naturally occurring metal ore of varied com- position and color, is the f fth most abundant element on Earth. While nickel has many applications, it's primarily used in stainless steel and alloy steel production. Historically, stainless steel has accounted for nearly two- thirds of nickel use worldwide. In 2014, the U.S. and China produced 18.34 million tons of austenitic (nickel-bearing) stainless steel. Nickel is also used in the more specialized aerospace, military, and power-generating industries. Applications include metal plating, electronics, and batteries for hybrid vehicles and portable equipment. Why should I care? Shipping Concerns: The primary concern with nickel ore shipment is its poten- tial to liquefy. Over a three-year period from October 2010 to October 2013, six bulk carrier vessels carrying nickel ore capsized, with 81 seafarers losing their lives. 1 Cargo liquefaction was the root cause of these casualties. Liquefaction occurs in cargoes comprised of f ne particles that also contain some moisture. Conversely, liquefaction will not occur in cargoes comprised of large particles or lumps, or when the cargo has a low moisture content. Dur- ing liquefaction, water within the cargo separates from the solid particles, resulting in the cargo behaving more like a liquid than solid, which can cause signif cant cargo shift and decrease ship stability. Health Concerns: There are no known health concerns associated with nickel ore; however, dust may be generated from its pro- cessing, transporting, or handling. Shippers should use appropriate protective equipment to minimize exposure. Understanding Nickel Ore by Ms. aMy PaRKeR Lead Chemical Engineer U.S. Coast Guard Hazardous Materials Division 62 Proceedings Winter 2015–2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings Chemical of the Quarter