Ferro silicon is an extremely volatile compound which is exported in bulk from Iceland and Norway, often in numerous grades requiring careful separation. Particularly in the first few days after cargo handling and if in contact with water, ferro-silicon emits extremely toxic and inflammable gases.
Ferro silicon is exported from Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, Philippines, France and Slovenia – sometimes in drums – and imported in large quantities into Japan and the USA.
Extensive rules are laid down for the safe transportation of ferro-silicon in bulk, it being stipulated that the silicon content of the product must amount either to less than 30% or to more than 70% of the mixture. Before loading Ferro silicon should be stacked under cover but exposed to the air for at least 10 days and, during this period and that of its subsequent loading and transportation, should be adequately protected from water and humidity.
Prior to presentation of the cargo for loading, the shipper should supply a certificate attesting to the silicon content and confirming that proper ventilation procedures have been performed.
During carriage, cargo compartments should be well-ventilated with at least 5 air-changes per hour in each hold (at least 30 air changes in any pump room serving the bilge operations offloaded cargo compartments) with exhaust vents leading from the bottom of the stow and opening at a minimum of 2.5 metres above main deck level and well clear of accommodation.
Hatchcovers should be battened down as gastight as is possible, with an adequate supply of suitable breathing equipment being carried on board.
Naturally, for the carriage of Ferro-phosphorous and Ferro-silicon electrically ventilated ships are preferred but any Shipowner contemplating the carriage of either of these products must be sure to exercise extreme caution and thoroughly check appropriate regulations, such as produced by the Norwegian Government, to confirm that the ship is both suitable and safe to carry such commodities.
- Bulk Ferro-silicon Stowage Factor 17/26