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CINS launches guidelines covering the carriage of divinylbenzene in containers.


DVB is a chemical that is prone to polymerization, a form of self-reaction, and when shipped in bulk DVB polymerization can cause heat and flammable gas to be generated. The stowage of containers carrying DVB aboard vessels can therefore present a risk of explosion and fire if they are not properly presented for carriage. 

DVB has been shipped for many years but rarely resulted in polymerization incidents. However, it is understood that, since 2006, DVB with a higher percentage of active ingredients (increased from about 60% to 80%) has been carried in unrefrigerated tank containers, rather than in drums packed in refrigerated containers. This has led to a number of polymerization incidents, mostly ashore, particularly when DVB was shipped from warmer regions of the USA in the summer.

In response to polymerization incidents arising from the carriage of DVB by sea, in 2018 the IMO approved changes to the way polymerizing substances, such as DVB, are carried, by means of amendments to the IMDG Code. These changes are contained in amendment 39-18 of the IMDG Code, which will be mandatory from 1 January 2020, but may be applied on a voluntary basis from 1 January 2019.

Joint industry Guidelines for the carriage of Divinylbenzene (DVB) in containers have been published jointly by CINS (the Cargo Incident Notification System), the International Group of P&I Clubs and the TT Club.

To ensure the safe carriage of DVB in containers before 1 January 2020, CINS (the Cargo Incident Notification System), the International Group of P&I Clubs and the TT Club have developed a set of joint industry guidelines for the carriage of DVB in containers. The industry guidelines highlight the practices set out in the IMDG Code amendments and recommend that these are followed now on a voluntary basis.

Gard is an Advisory Member of CINS and is pleased to see that many of our Members and clients are also members of CINS.  We encourage other container line members and clients to enquire about CINS membership, the main purpose of which is to highlight and address risks posed by certain cargoes and/or packing failures in order to improve safety in the liner shipping industry.