Timber deck cargoes safety code picked up by IMOIn 2010 New Zealand exported 11.5 million m³ of wood (9.6 million m³ in Logs & 1.9 million m³ of Lumber) . This cargo is generally shipped in Handysize Log Rigged vessels with a typical Dead Weight Tonnage of ±30,000 mt. This translates to approximately 380 ships leaving our shores annually – just over one a day. [A rule of thumb] has 28% of a Handysize Logger’s cargo carried on deck (or 3.2 million m³ per annum).
It is therefore of some significance that the Code of Safe Practise for Ships Carrying Timber Deck Cargoes 2011 (2011 TDC Code) has been adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The 1st IMO TDC Code was published in 1973 followed by a revision in 1991. The 1991 Code – now 20 years old – was in need of revision given the advances in ship capability, equipment and with an eye on future innovation.
The 2011 TDC Code is a far more comprehensive document than its predecessor. What is most striking about 2011 TDC Code – in comparison to the 1991 edition – is that is practical, relevant and comprehensive. There is no “cut & paste” matter. Every aspect of the subject has been well considered and is presented in a succinct and logical format. This is especially apparent in the Guidance in Developing Procedures & Check Lists (Annex A).
The References contained in Annex D (omitted from the 1991 revision) are central to the 2011 TDC Code. These provide both perspective and insight to the specific regulations underwriting the Code.
Water Absorption has remained contentious and open to interpretation in the 1991 Code. The 2011 TDC Code tables categorically that Australasian Log Deck Cargoes bound for North Asia shed 0.10% of their mass per day (Annex C). This in itself will resolve countless disputes over the subject and offer some advantage to New Zealand exporters over their North American competitors. The Code states that on the Canada, USA to Japan Line; a 0.14% gain in mass per day will occur. Vessel Trim and Stability Calculations are consequently required to factor in a 10% increase in Deck cargo mass which creates GoM and Load Line considerations.
The 2011 TDC Code is considered a welcome contribution by all stakeholders involved in the export of Logs from New Zealand. Well structured, pertinent and addressing the challenges of Deck Loads it will provide a practical reference for the foreseeable future.
Copies of the IMO Code can be obtained from the International Maritime Organization.
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