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Notice Regarding Cold Weather & Fumigation

Along with the December showers, the cold weather has arrived and with it comes the potential for issues in the fumigation process.

Please note the following notice regarding temperature requirements from Universal fumigation –

“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.

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.

This is a genuine concern, please see link below of an incident that occurred October last year.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/oct/19/report-crew-of-iranian-cargo-ship-poisoned-3-seame/

There are specific requirement in play for Manzanillo due to its proximity to the Vancouver / Prince Rupert Load Ports.

There are three scenarios at play.

  1. Over 12 degrees Celsius for 5 days of exposure. This is the norm for Vancouver.
  2. 5 degrees Celsius for 10 days of exposure. This is the norm for Prince Rupert.
  3. 8 degrees Celsius for 8 days of exposure. This is achievable in Vancouver by requesting that the vessel cruise at a slightly slower speed to ensure sufficient exposure time. This of course has to be agreed to by all sides. It is a viable course of action as the vessel will be delayed (fumigation time) and incur extra costs (tugs, Pilots, layby berth etc.) at disport if they have to fumigate upon arrival. This seems now to be the normal & desired course of action.

Of course, I will use every means at my disposal to make the fumigation happen.

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 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).

Please let me know if you require any further info (here is hoping the weather behaves this year.”