The Transportation of Nickel Bulk Commodities
There are many different types of bulk commodities shipped throughout the ocean on a daily basis. A commodity is shipped in large, unpackaged amounts. There are many transport companies that specialize in different types of dry bulk delivery. These dry bulk commodities are usually divided into two categories which are major bulks and minor bulks. Some examples of major dry bulk commodities include coal, ore and grain. Minor bulks include steels, sugars, cements etc. Nickel happens to be one of the Major commodities shipped today. Nickel containing materials play a major role in our everyday lives. The product can be used for food preparation equipment, mobile phones, medical equipment, transport, buildings, power generation, etc. Nickel is used because compared with other materials, they offer better corrosion resistance, better toughness, and better strength at high and low temperatures, and have a large range of special magnetic and electronic properties. Nickel based alloy like stainless steel with higher nickel contents are used for more demanding applications such as gas turbines and some chemical plants. In addition, iron and nickel alloys are used in electronics and specialist engineering, while copper-nickel alloys are used for coinage and marine engineering. There are about 3000 nickel-containing alloys in everyday use. About 90% of all new nickel sold each year goes into alloys, and two-thirds goes into stainless steel. (Nickel) Although there is such a high demand for nickel, it has been proven to be one of the deadliest commodities transported by ship. The reason for this is because nickel ore has the capability to cause many vessels to capsize, putting all the mariners on those vessels at risk. In the past 15 months, approximately 66 mariners have lost their lives due to the transportation of this product. The International Association of Dry Cargo Ship-owners stated that the product is at a high risk of liquefying if it contains too much moisture. This can make the ships unbalanced and cause them to sink before any chance of being rescued. The reason why it would make the ship unbalanced is because the nickel in its liquid form would slosh back and forth in the holds, which would affect the rolling period of the ship. Liquefied nickel-ore cargoes have accounted for 44 deaths among dry-bulk sailors in the last three months of 2010. Additionally, 22 more seafarers have died since then. (The hazards of shipping nickel ore). Nickel ore is generally loaded at untraditional locations in primitive and archipelago regions, with nothing to keep things dry. It is mined in Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Caledonia and shipped mostly to China for steel making purposes. On average, 26 lives are lost annually on ships that carry bulk cargoes. (The hazards of shipping nickel ore).
The Majority of these incidents occur transporting the ore From Indonesia to China. On February 17th of 2013, the Harita Bauxite sank off Cape Balinao in the South China Sea. Nine members of the crew had died out of the twenty-four aboard. The Harita Bauxite was a 192-meter bulk carrier that was heading to China from Indonesia with 47,450 metric tons of nickel ore in its holds. Four other incidents had occurred transporting the same cargo from Indonesia before that incident. The four ships were called the M/V Jian Fu Star which sank on October 27th, 2010 having thirteen fatalities, the M/V Nasco Diamond which sank on November 10th, 2010 having twenty-one fatalities, the M/V Hong Wei which sank on September 3rd,2010 having 10 fatalities, and the M/V Vinalines Queen which sank in 2011 having twenty-two fatalities. All five of these vessels had sunk due to the same reason. The nickel ore had liquefied in the holds of the ship causing the vessels to become unbalanced and capsize. (The Hazards of shipping nickel ore) Dry Bulk commodities are