Indonesia ore export ban – Nickel Ore and Bauxite

January 2017

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Members are reminded of Club Circular L.153 dated February 2011 and L.185 dated May 2012 concerning dangers relating to the carriage of nickel ore cargoes from Indonesia and the Philippines – including the requirement for mandatory notification to the Club of any such voyages. Those Circulars can be found at the following links:

In relation to Indonesia, a ban on the export of mineral ores was imposed by the Indonesian Government in early 2014 to encourage the processing of those resources within the domestic Indonesian economy. The export ban included nickel ore and bauxite, both of which have the potential to liquefy if not carried strictly in accordance with the IMSBC Code which is now mandatorily applicable under chapter VI of the SOLAS Convention. Members may be aware that several vessels carrying these cargoes have suffered casualties in recent years, some involving vessels sinking suddenly with consequent loss of life.

The position is far from clear, but reports suggest that, subject to certain conditions, the export ban may now be partially lifted, allowing the export of these cargoes to resume. The conditions as reported appear to be onerous and in practice may mean that there is little movement from the previous position. However, to the extent that Members are offered cargoes it is important that they:

  • Ensure that any export documentation is checked in order to consider whether the cargo is being exported lawfully;
  • Ensure that the cargo is carried in full compliance with the IMSBC Code together with any other applicable laws / regulations;
  • In relation to nickel ore, observe the mandatory notification requirement as set out in Club Circular L.185 (this also applies to nickel ore loaded in the Philippines);

The consequences of failing to follow correct procedures could of course be serious and because the ports of loading are often remote and inaccessible, problems may be met with lengthy delays and subsequent prolonged and expensive disputes between the parties.

The Club will continue to monitor developments and report further as necessary, but in the meantime any queries should be referred to the Managers for advice.