Mandatory application of this cargo schedule: Coal shall be classified as Group A and B. It can be classified as Group B only by a test determined by the competent authority in the country of origin for testing of Group A cargoes ( ref: sections 8.1 and 4.1.4 of the IMSBC Code) OR when it has the following particle size distribution:
(1) not more than 10% by weight of particles less than 1 mm
(D10 > 1 mm); and
(2) not more than 50% by weight of particles less than 10 mm
(D50 > 10 mm).
For blended coals: it shall be classified as Group A and B unless all the original coals in the blend are Group B only.
Description: A natural, solid and combustible material. An organic mineral, formed from prehistoric plant life, i.e., the remains of vegetation which due to the effects of heat and pressure from overlying rock or water, were transformed to coal (bituminous and anthracite), consisting of amorphous (i.e., no definite shape, form or structure) carbon and hydrocarbons. However, one should take note that the term "coal" covers a wide range of products with a correspondingly wide range of properties. It is an important source of heat and energy and chemical raw materials.
Properties and characteristics of coal : (1) May emit methane which is a flammable gas. A mixture of methane and air, containing between 5% and 16% methane will form an explosive atmosphere, which can be easily ignited by sparks or naked flame, e.g., electrical or frictional sparks, a match or lighted cigarette. As methane is lighter than air, it will accumulate in the upper region of the cargo space or other enclosed spaces. Further, if the cargo space boundaries are not tight, this gas can seep through into spaces adjacent to the cargo space. (2) Cargo is subject to oxidation, leading to depletion of oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide in the cargo space (see Appendix 7 - Recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships of BC Code) (3) Some coals may be prone to self-heating, leading to spontaneous combustion in the cargo space. Flammable and toxic gases, including carbon monoxide, may be produced. Carbon monoxide, lighter than air, is an odourless gas and has flammable limits in air of 12% to 75% by volume. Toxic if inhaled; has an affinity for blood haemoglobin over 200 times that of oxygen. (4) Some coals react with water and capable of producing acids which can cause corrosion. Also, flammable and toxic gases, including hydrogen, may be produced. Note that hydrogen is also a gas that is not only lighter than air but also odourless and has flammable limits in air of 4% to 75% by volume.