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Heavy rains in the Surigao area of the Philippines has again lead to increasing concerns about the possible liquefaction of nickel ore cargoes.

Nickel ore is listed in the IMSBC Code as a Group A cargo that may liquefy, thereby requiring the shipper to provide declarations and certificates evidencing that the cargo is safe to carry with a moisture content below the Transportable Moisture Limit (TML). Unfortunately, there have been numerous occasions where documentation from shippers located in the Philippines has been found to be inaccurate, see also our Gard Alert of 21 July 2015.

According to information received from Pandiman Philippines Inc., there are now increasing concerns about the safety of nickel ore being shipped from the Surigao area due to heavy rains and the fact that stockpiles are predominantly stored in the open. A number of ships currently loading in the area are reportedly experiencing problems with wet nickel ore cargoes, where independent analyses have demonstrated that the cargoes’ actual TMLs are significantly lower than the stated TML on the shipper's declarations and moisture contents well above their actual TMLs. Please see Pandiman’s circular Warning of wet nickel ore cargo in bulk from Surigao Philippines of 7 October 2016 for further information on the current situation.

We take this opportunity to remind Members and clients to:

  • follow the precautions set out in our various loss prevention publications covering cargo liquefaction; and
  • comply with the mandatory notification requirements for the loading of nickel ore in the Philippines and Indonesia as set out in our Member Circular No. 05-12 of May 2012.

A good source of information is also Intercargo’s Guide for the Safe Loading of Nickel Ore, which aims to help masters, ship operators and other industry parties understand the risks associated with the carriage of nickel ore cargoes.


We are grateful to Pandiman for providing this information and for their kind permission to reproduce their recent circular.