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Summary
On 13 January, at 1447, Nortrader, anchored off Plymouth with a cargo of unprocessed incinerator bottom ash (U-IBA), suffered 2 explosions in quick succession. The first explosion was in the forecastle store and the second in the cargo hold. The chief engineer, in the forecastle store at the time, suffered second degree burns requiring 4 months to recover. The vessel suffered extensive damage putting it out of service for over 3 months.

Safety lessons
1. Sea transportation of a cargo that was not included in the schedule of authorised cargoes of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code
2. Not conducting appropriate tests that could have identified the propensity of the cargo, U-IBA, to release hydrogen when wet
3. The inadequacy and the inappropriateness of United Nations Test N.5 for the detection of flammable gases from non-homogeneous material

Recommendations
MAIB has made safety recommendations to:
- The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Environment Agency (2017/153) to work collaboratively to identify reliable methods and protocols for testing non-homogenous solid bulk cargoes for the property of evolving flammable gases when wet
- The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (2017/154) to update The Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 with appropriate references to the IMSBC Code
- Hudig & Veder BV (2017/155) to review its operating procedures to ensure that the requirement to apply the provisions of IMSBC Code to all cargoes is clear
- NTO Shipping GmbH & Co.KG (2017/156) to review its safety management system to ensure that the requirement to apply the provisions of the IMSBC Code to all cargoes is clear