Nickel Ore Liquefaction Causes Bulker Grounding in Philippines

Mike Schuler
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July 20, 2015

MV Alam Manis file photo (c) A. Court


The liquefaction of nickel ore cargo is being eyed in the grounding of a Singapore-flagged bulk carrier in the Philippines.

The Philippines Coast Guard reports that the MV Alam Manis, a 55,652 DWT bulk carrier owned by Malaysian Bulk Carriers, ran aground Friday in the vicinity of Candon City after developing a severe list.

[contextly_sidebar id=”QL6QNF5UM9ftmgc5Uo0Mo8OarF2dkhXR”]The vessel was reported to be carrying a cargo of nickel ore from Surigao City in the Philippines to China when it encountered huge swells, which drenched the ship’s cargo and caused the vessel to lose stability.

The captain gave the order to abandon ship and all 21 crew members were picked up by escort tug Salviscount. Tragically, the ship’s chief mate died due to heart attack, the Philippines Coast Guard said.

A statement from Malaysian Bulk Carriers said that “As a result of heavy weather conditions and adverse swell, the cargo in holds No 1 & 2 shifted, resulting in the vessel listing by 14 degrees starboard.”

AIS data on Monday showed the 2007-built MV Alam Manis stopped just off the coast of Candon City with the Salviscount in the vicinity.

Liquefaction is a phenomena in which a dry cargo becomes liquified, which can cause a ship to lose stability quickly and unexpectedly due to the internal shifting of cargo.

Liquefaction has long been known to be a major source of marine casualties. Nickel ore, which is listed in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC) as a high-risk ‘Group A’ cargo, is particularly vulnerable to liquefaction and has earned the nickname as the world’s most dangerous cargo due its role in several high-profile casualties.

The incident involving the Alam Manis prompted the UK P&I Club to issue an alert to shippers and masters involved in the transport of nickel ore cargoes.

“The rainy season in Philippines officially started on 23 June this year. The heavy rains combined with the strong winds and rough seas experienced in South China Sea lately bring forward, once again, concerns about cargo liquefaction,” the club said.

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