Dangerous goods are goods that present a risk to the crew and to the ship's safety or a risk of pollution of the marine environment.
The major part of dangerous goods at sea is carried as bulk cargo in liquid or solid form by bulk carriers or tankers. Another part is carried as packaged, dangerous goods by general cargo ships, container ships, passenger ships and the like.
Packed dangerous goods also include entire truckloads of goods in bulk or tank vehicles carried by sea on board ro-ro ships or passenger ships.
The carriage of dangerous goods by ship is, irrespective of size, regulated by the Danish Maritime Authority and can be divided into the following transport groups:
- dangerous goods in packaged form
- solid bulk cargoes
- liquid chemicals in bulk
- liquid gas in bulk
- radiated nuclear fuel, plutonium and high-level radioactive waste.
Ships are generally required to be in possession of documents containing information about the specific cargo before the loading is initiated. Furthermore, in these transport groups there are special requirements for cargo documentation.
Dangerous goods in packaged form on board ships
Dangerous goods in packaged form must be carried in accordance with the provisions of the IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code).
The IMDG Code contains a list of dangerous substances and requirements for the marking, packaging, separation from other dangerous substances and location on board of the dangerous substance. Packaged dangerous goods are carried by dry cargo carriers, general cargo ships, container ships and ro-ro cargo and passenger ships.
Solid bulk cargoes
Bulk cargoes are characterised by solid products consisting of a combination of particles, granulates or large pieces of material that is normally homogeneously structured and which is loaded directly into the hold of a ship without any type of intermediate packaging.
Such cargoes must be carried in accordance with the provisions of the IMSBC Code – The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code.
The carriage of bulk cargoes may involve a number of risk elements that can be attributed to the dangerous properties of the products carried. They may be products with dangerous properties or products which:
- can generate combustible, poisonous or harmful vapours during transport
- are especially heavy and therefore can harm the structure of the ship
- can "slide" in the hold and thereby affect the stability of the ship
- change their character during transport, for example sphagnum which can transform from solid to liquid form, etc.
Such cargoes are carried by sea on board bulk carriers, dry cargo carriers, barges, etc.
Dangerous liquid chemicals in bulk
Dangerous, liquid chemicals are chemicals that are listed in chapter 17 of the IBC Code (International Bulk Chemical Code).
This list of chemicals states which type of ship is permitted carry the chemical. There are three types – 1, 2 and 3 – of which type 1 is permitted to carry the most dangerous substances.
Dangerous, liquid chemicals in bulk are carried by chemical tankers that meet the requirements of the IBC Code; however, oil tankers can be designed to transport a few type 3 chemicals; these products can be seen from their certification.
Liquefied gas in bulk
Any type of liquefied gas or other products listed in chapter 19 of the IGC Code (International Gas Carrier Code). This product list subdivides the products into four types – 1G, 2G, 2PG and 3G – where type 1G ships are permitted to carry the most dangerous products. Liquefied gas in bulk is carried on board gas tankers meeting the requirements of the IGC Code.
Radiated nuclear fuel, plutonium and high-level radiated waste
Class 7 material that is also covered by the International Code for the Safe Carriage of Packaged Irradiated Nuclear Fuel, Plutonium and High-Level Radioactive Wastes on board Ships (INF Code).
Ships carrying these cargoes must meet the provisions of Notice B from the Danish Maritime Authority and those of the INF Code. The ships are divided into three classes, where class 3 is the most dangerous one.
The cargoes are carried by dry cargo carriers meeting the requirements of the INF Code and holding an INF certificate.
Carriage by sea of radioactive goods, including INF cargoes