Sunday, December 5, 2010



An International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk shall be issued after an initial or renewal survey to a chemical tanker engaged in international voyages which complies with the relevant provisions of the Code. 

Classification society issues the certificate of fitness on behalf of the administration.

An International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk shall be issued for a period specified by the Administration which shall not exceed 5 years.

All ships will get a new COF after 1.1.07, considering IBC code and Marpol rules are revised as on 1.1.07.  IMO has decided that Chemical carriers can carry COF or NLS, not  both.

Ships with COF can carry IBC code chapter 17  XYZ cargoes also-----  while NLS certificated ships an carry IBC code Chapter 18, Category Z and  OS cargoes only.

For ships carrying IBC code chapter “ Other Substances” OS, there is no need for COF, they require only NLS certificate.
COF is a certificate issued by Flag administration confirming that the structure , equipment and materials used in the construction of the chemical tanker are in compliance to carry a given list of chemicals and it gives the conditions of carriage.

Upon receipt of cargo loading instructions, all products are to be checked against the Certificate of Fitness. Any irregularities are to be reported immediately to the chemical operator .

However it must be understood that this by itself is not enough. The tank lining resistance tables must be consulted and only if both agree can the chemical be considered to be loaded.

Since new chemicals are being manufactured and re-evaluated for safe sea carriage regularly it may be possible that some chemical is not included in the COF list. In such a case permission may be obtained from flag administration or their representative for this particular chemical and attached to the COF as an addendum. 

The issuance of an Addendum to CoF may be done immediately based on the Tripartite Agreement. The submission of data and evaluation by GESAMP and ESPH may come afterwards.

Tripartite Lists

When there is a need to transport a bulk liquid cargo that has not been classified, the shippers have to go to their administration and request that a tripartite agreement be established between the shipping country, the receiving country, and the ship's flag state. 

That administration would need to receive the BLG Product Data Form. This is in accordance with Regulation 3(4) of MARPOL Annex II.

Because new products are continually being created and proposed for carriage onboard chemical tankers a mechanism ( Tripartite agreement ) has been created to provisionally classify these cargoes under the IMO guidelines.

All non-ANNEX 1 cargoes carried in bulk are classified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and/or the vessel's flag state. The carriage requirements for a product are then determined by these entities using the guidelines set out by GESAMP and the IMO

Conditions of carriage of chemicals not included in COF are the subject of a “tripartite agreement “involving flag state and port administrations and included in the addendum. It is an agreement between 3 parties.

Products that are not shown in Chapter 17 and 18 of the IBC Code.  Invariably such products have been subject to a provisional categorisation and are identified as potential entries to the IBC Code in the IMO Tripartite Agreement Lists.  Tripartite agreements are valid for three years. It is an agreement between :- the port state of the shipper, the flag state of the carrier and the port state receiving the cargo.

If a tripartite agreement is completed it is then included in the "Provisional Categorization of Liquid Substances" (also known as the MEPC.2 Circular).

An updated circular is published every December. The initiator of the tripartite agreement has three years in which to provide all of the required data to formally classify a substance. It is not acceptable to repeatedly initiate new tripartite agreements for the same product.

 The 2005 version of MEPC.2/Circ. (Tripartite Lists), to be issued on 17 December this year, will feature two versions of List 1, one valid until 31 December 2006 and one valid from 01 January 2007 onwards. Cargoes missing from IBC code would appear in the MEPC.2/Circ. until such time as the next amendment to the IBC Code is undertaken (probably 2009).

The tripartite agreement will stand for three years, before which time all outstanding or otherwise necessary data will have to have been forwarded to the IMO (GESAMP) for the formal classification. Otherwise the tripartite agreement will expire. If the cargo is assessed as being regulated by the IBC Code or MARPOL Annex II, the ship's Certificate of Fitness and Procedures & Arrangements Manual will have to be amended (usually by the classification society, arranged by the owner or manager).

 The shipping country will determine the provisional carriage requirements per Annex I of MEPC/Circ.265, and seek the concurrence of the flag state and receiving countries using the standard fax format per Annex 7 of MEPC/Circ.265. The IMO and other involved administrations should also be copied.

 In the absence of a response from the flag state or receiving countries after 14 days, the agreement may be deemed to have been accepted, and the IMO is informed. If there is a question as to whether the cargo has been classified, the International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC Code) should be consulted. If not found there, check the annual "Provisional Categorization of Liquid Substances", the most recent of which is MEPC.2/Circ11.

P&A manual contains info on MP, viscocity, water solubility and ventable cargoes .



  1. Sir
    my heartfelt gratitude to you for all the knowledge you have provided

    thank you very much

  2. Dear Sir,
    I would like to thank you for your blog and information, it has helped on a continous basis while working as a operations superintendent.
    Warmest Regards
    Capt. Ajeet Singh

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  4. He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Dear Sir,can you please give a guide line that what all are the certificates issued to the chemical tanker.

    1. hi am,

      i do NOT take such academic questions-- as i will be inundated.

      COF is one of them-- special for annex 2 tankers.

      capt ajit vadakayil

  6. can u show a good procedure for cleaning tanks from fuel oil to clean produts

    1. hi br,

      i have posted a couple of blogs on it.

      i do NOT take questions on tank cleaning.


      punch into google search-


      if the captain knows his job - after HEAVY high heat lub oil you can load ethanol.

      done it several times personally -- just to be a bit COCKY !

      back loaded without going to sea for tank cleaning .

      and warned the US charterers NOT to try it again on other ships . time charterers wanted to send a gora supercargo , to learn the trick of the trade--

      capt ajit vadakayil said NOPE !


      by the way what was tarzan's last words before he fell to his death?


      capt ajit vaadkayil

  7. Dear Sir,

    Your all the blogs are very informative and very useful on board.
    After reading your above blog related to COF for chemical i got following doubt
    1. Is Difference between COF and NLS certificate depend upon Ch. 17 and ch 18..

    please find below definition of NLS.
    :Noxious liquid substance means any substance indicated in the Pollution Category column of chapter 17
    or 18 of the International Bulk Chemical Code or provisionally assessed under the provisions of regulation 6.3
    as falling into category X, Y or Z."

    Below from MSC 1462 page 20
    International Pollution Prevention Certificate for the Carriage of Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk (NLS Certificate)
    An international pollution prevention certificate for the carriage of noxious liquid substances in bulk (NLS Certificate) shall be issued, after survey in accordance with the provisions of regulation 8 of Annex II of MARPOL, to any ship carrying noxious liquid substances in bulk and which is engaged in voyages to ports or terminals under the jurisdiction of other Parties to MARPOL. In respect of chemical tankers, the Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk and the International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk, issued under the provisions of the Bulk Chemical Code and International Bulk Chemical Code, respectively, shall have the same force and receive the same recognition as the NLS Certificate.

    please correct me if i am wrong
    As per my understanding if Oil/product tanker want to carry out NLS then Oil tanker will get NLS certificate but if Chemical tanker want to carry NLS then Chemical tanker Will get COF.

  8. How to carry a cargo of chemicals not on COF. What is the process to follow.