Why is sulphur so hard on cargo holds?
Sulphur is a common substance that is used in a number of different industries. Much of it is produced in neighbouring Alberta, and most of that is then shipped from our ports right here in Vancouver.
When shipping sulphur, cleanliness and protection of the ship’s holds are of utmost importance. To prevent contamination, holds must be free from the residue of previous cargos (some of which accelerate corrosion). Loose scales and paint flakes must be removed, and a cargo hold barrier then sprayed into place to protect against corrosion.
When sulphur gets wet it can become highly damaging through acidic and electrochemical corrosion. Exposure to rainy weather, as well as water sprays meant to reduce pollution and prevent fires, are some of the ways sulphur gains moisture during loading and shipping.
Lime wash has unfortunately been proven over the last 20 years to be a very poor barrier especially when carrying sulphur. When sulphur (with sometimes up to 5% moisture) is loaded into a cargo hold that has been coated with lime wash, the sulphur prills push through the softened lime and come into contact with the steel of the cargo hold. Once this happens the results can be catastrophic. Instead, look for a superior carrier hold protection solution like RBM Holdblock®. By creating a thin, flexible coating between the ship’s steel and the cargo, it protects the vessel from harmful effects when carrying corrosive or aggressive dry bulk cargos. This protective film is 18x more effective than lime wash.
For the bilge lines and bilge wells, use an alkaline solution that neutralizes acidic water created by the reaction of sulphur and water. RBM BilgeCoat offers great protection for bilges when hauling potentially corrosive cargos like sulphur.