Dry CargoOperations

Cargo liquefaction the cause of over half of all deaths on dry bulk vessels in the past decade

International dry bulk shipping association Intercargo has published its latest annual bulk carrier casualty report, which highlights the ever present threat cargo liquefaction faces to the lives of seafarers around the world.

Intercargo data shows 101 of the 188 lives (53.7%) lost on bulk carriers above 10,000 dwt in size in the decade from 2009 to 2018 were down to cases of cargo liquefaction. The deaths occurred on nine different ships – six of which were carrying nickel ore from Indonesia, two with laterite (clay) iron ore from India and one with bauxite from Malaysia.

“Cargo failure and liquefaction continue to be a major concern for dry bulk shipping,” Intercargo warned.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Liquefaction is a major concern with bulk cargo, there are many factors involved, such as wrong shippers declaration about properties and moisture contents, negligence during loading and during passage, incompetent deck officers including master and chief officer many young chief officer even dont know what is meaning of liquefied cargo, I come across a chief officer on capesize vessel he dont know what is diffrence between capesize and capsize, very shallow and poor knowledge, lack of interest and less experience leads towards disasters and loss of human lives

  2. Knowledge is king.
    As former service engineer for Hatchcovers and cargo deck cranes Iv seen it all.The Good and the Bad.

  3. If there are no survivors and no wreck, it is convenient to shift the blame on liquifaction.

  4. The can test?
    Which century are we living in?
    Put a proper machine on board that can measure the moisture content of cargo.

  5. interesting topic, but would like to know how people die these process? For there are countless people killed in this process 188 people in just 9 years. A scary number!

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