CHAPTER No 4 – APPENDIX IV
Alumina – Very fine grained cargo
Alumina is a fine white powder with highly abrasive qualities. It is extremely dusty and liable to cover the ship overall during loading and discharging operations.
Besides overall contamination of accommodation and other spaces, severe damage can be caused by this cargo dust to engine room and deck machinery, radio and navigation equipment.
The precautions recommended by one ship-owner for excluding alumina dust are given below.
These are extreme precautions for a particularly damaging type of dust: the same precautions can be used, as far as is necessary, for other less harmful dust.
• All accommodation and engine room intake fans must be switched off.
• All intake vents must be screened with a double layer of muslin.
• All fire flaps must be closed.
• All exposed deck motors (eg hatch, windlass, capstan, crane, gangway, lifeboat) must be covered.
• All steel doors, all internal doors, skylights, ports and windows in accommodation, engine-room, cranes, deck stores and other spaces must be closed.
• Because of the sensitivity of equipment in the wheelhouse, bridge wing doors should be sealed with duct tape or masking tape around the frame.
• All exposed navigation aids (eg, radar scanner, satcom aerial must be protected.
• Air conditioning must be recirculating with outside vents shut
• Hold bilges must be made ‘sift-proof by covering them with double burlap sealed with ramnek or duct tape around the edges.
• Any hatches which are not being worked must be kept closed, thereby avoiding unnecessary exposure of the rubber packing and blockage of the drain holes.
Track-ways must be scrupulously cleaned upon completion.
• The hatches on enclosed lifeboats must be sealed with masking tape and open lifeboats must be covered.
• Life-rafts must be cocooned with plastic sheeting which must of course, be removed on completion of cargo work and before the ship sails .
• Lifesaving equipment must be cocooned and the cocooning must be removed on completion of cargo work and before the ship sails.
• If the instruction books for auxiliary machinery contain advice for running in contaminated areas – for example, if they advise the use of fine air filters or more frequent oil changes – these instructions must be followed.
Precautions of this sort require time and organization to put in place and to remove. It is necessary for the Master and mates to keep other members of the ship’s company fully informed to ensure that the precautions are put in place in good time and are not removed until the exposure to dust is ended. If the ship is clean and the cargo damaging it may be worthwhile to cover the entire bridge front.