TT Club pinpoints contamination as primary cause of Tank Container Claims

Associations, Claims, Disputes, Health and Safety, Marine Insurance, News, Safety and Security — By on November 6, 2014 at 6:06 PM
Phillip Emmanouel

Phillip Emmanouel

Leading freight transport insurer TT Club reveals detailed results of its claims survey highlighting tank container incidents: contamination accounts for nearly half with damage to tanks adding another third

Shanghai, 6th November 2014

Speaking at the Asia Tank Container Organization’s General Meeting (@tco Asia) in Shanghai yesterday, TT Club’s Regional Director, Asia-Pacific Phillip Emmanuel outlined the major risk exposures facing the tank container industry.  Based on an extensive analysis of the Club’s claims experience resulting from incidents involving tank containers, Emmanuel pinpointed contamination as the leading danger, accounting for over 46% of the volume of incidents on TT’s books in the last nine years.

Revealing the more detailed dangers to the Conference delegates Emmanuel explained, “Contamination can result from any number of factors.  However, the incompatibility of the tank itself with the cargo concerned is the most common cause. This is often the result of insufficient cleaning, particularly of the discharge valves and baffle plates, following the carriage of the previous cargo.  Corroded or worn man lid seals, and issues occurring either at the origin land tank or during the loading procedure are also common contributory factors.”

The chart below provides further detail of the causation profile and highlights the role that damage to tanks plays in nearly a third of the cases analysed with leaks and spills adding a further 11% of the total.

tt cont 06112014

Emmanuel provided valuable insight into the nature of these incidents and the best forms of damage limitation and risk avoidance.  “In terms of impact damage, most tanks are built to highly robust standards and the incidence of leaks from such accidents is low.  Damaged or failure of valves, seals a gaskets are much more common in occurrence, ” he reported.

Emmanuel went on to define the chief safety precautions recommended to avoid such risks:

  • Comprehensively interrogate and validate the Material Safety Data Sheet to ensure the tank and its components can fulfil all special requirements demanded by the cargo and the shipper
  • Perform regular outer shell and insulation inspections
  • Fit man lid gaskets and seals correctly and ensure the appropriate tightening of swing bolts on man lids
  • Assess the most appropriate selection of gaskets and seals for each cargo. Particularly invasive cargoes can simply destroy any exposed area of the gasket and/or seal.

“When there is a failure in any of the above control factors, something as simple as a change in ambient temperature through the supply chain can result in a sufficient build in pressure to cause a leak, ” emphasised Emmanuel.

Looking to the future, Emmanuel concluded by outlining the priorities that TT Club consider noteworthy in bringing down both the cost and danger of tank container operation.  There needs to be wider industry analysis of incidents and accompanied by knowledge sharing, so that lessons can be widely learned.  There should be a continuous review and identification of risks together with greater transparency within the supply chain, as both its complexity increases and the nature of its environment evolves.  Finally, there must be a greater emphasis on training.

The TT Club is the international transport and logistics industry’s leading provider of insurance and related risk management services. Established in 1968, the Club’s membership comprises ship operators, ports and terminals, road, rail and airfreight operators, logistics companies and container lessors. As a mutual insurer, the Club exists to provide its policyholders with benefits, which include specialist underwriting expertise, a world-wide office network providing claims management services, and first class risk management and loss prevention advice. www.ttclub.com

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