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Cargo Fumigation

snowWith the cold weather finally hitting the West Coast of Canada, we thought it necessary to pass along information reminding our customers of the complications that can arise this time of year. Please see the following provided by a local fumigation company:

Federal / Provincial Regulation: Minimum of 5 degrees Celsius (this is the Law, and as such unbreakable).

This Regulation is important as it directly affects Crew / Vessel Safety. The concern being if the temps are below 5 degrees C, it will inhibit (slow down) the ability of the Aluminum Phosphide pellets to react with the ambient moisture and release Hydrogen Phosphide (PH3 – Phosphine Gas). This then does not ensure that adequate gas levels have built up to confirm that there is no possibility of leakage into the Superstructure (ie Engine room / accommodation spaces) or other areas commonly inhabited by the crew. Thus, rendering the 24 hours at anchor unreliable / inadequate.

It also can impact the efficacy of the fumigation.

Again, please recognize that while this is a Federal Regulation, it is first and foremost a safety issue. We have a number of ships each year where fumigant gas finds its way into the engine room / accommodations.

As ever, communication will be key. If we encounter severe cold weather, I will always advise you first of the situation, then advise agents accordingly. On some occasions, it can be a close call. In these situations, you will be advised early of the potential to cancel / delay the fumigation, then we will monitor the situation closely (ie. grain temps during loading and forecast info) and update regularly. If it comes down to the wire we will ask the agent to reserve an anchorage but to also book a sea pilot. This affords us the flexibility to hedge our bets but not incur any unwarranted costs (unavailable anchorage or Sea Pilot).

We will be monitoring temps (both ambient air and grain) as vessels near completion. Of course, I will use every means at my disposal to make the fumigation happen in a timely fashion. The good news is that the cold weather is not expected to last for too long.