What are precautions while loading Sulphur on ships?

  • Sulphur has certain properties; corrosion and the emission of certain gases. A copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) should be requested from the shipper prior to loading the cargo.
  • Bulk sulphur (whether formed solid, crushed lump or coarse grained) can be highly corrosive when in contact with water, and so the hold paint coating needs to be in a good condition.
  • It is usual to limewash the holds to protect the steel structures. There are proprietary products, such as hold block, designed for preparing holds for carrying sulphur.
  • The holds should not be washed with seawater, but should be thoroughly cleaned and washed with freshwater.
  • The hold tank top should be rust-free.
  • The holds are usually required to be cleaned to a grain standard, with no previous cargo residues, and no rust scale or flaking paint.
  • Holds should be cleaned thoroughly & all inflammable materials like rags, pieces of wood, etc to be removed.
  • No loose metal object to be left in the hold.
  • Bilges to be tested & covered with limber boards. Any chinks should be caulked, to prevent dust from founding its way into the bilges.
  • Co2 system to be tried out.
  • “No Smoking” signs put up & strictly enforced.
  • “No Naked Lights” permitted on the deck or in the holds.
  • Fire hoses to be rigged, fire main charged & other fire fighting apparatus kept in a constant state of readiness.
  • Flashlights. Walkie-talkies etc. to be intrinsically
  1. The safety precautions associated with the carriage of sulphur as set out in the IMBSC Code, including personal protective equipment and the extinguishing of lighting inside holds.
  2. A strict ‘no smoking policy’ should be in force on deck during carriage.


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