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Undeclared hazardous cargo and its consequences

Please see below article pertaining to the grounding of the m.v.Rena off the coast of New Zealand which has now been found to have been carrying some undeclared hazardous cargo.. I strongly agreee with what Mike Povorello has said in his article about the same issue..

Eveyone at EVERY position/link in the chain has to take responsibilities and check and ensure that the proper declarations have been made.. Acting like a post office or conduit between various parties should not be the norm..

While the damages as seen here are not attributed to this non-declaration, this non-declaration plays a very vital part in this whole chain of events and should have been known to the ship..

Maritime New Zealand said today it will conduct an investigation into 21 containers containing dangerous goods on board the stricken M/V Rena that were not originally declared by shippers on the ships manifest.  The investigation was launched after MNZ was advised Tuesday by insurers representing Rena’s charterers of the 21 containers, in addition to the just 11 containers containing dangerous goods known to be on board.  While the material in the containers presents a low risk to the environment and salvors in its current state, officials are left wondering why the it has taken so long to receive such information.

“Immediately after the grounding of the Rena on 5 October, as Director of MNZ, I requested information about all dangerous goods on board the ship from MSC as declared by the shippers, However, for reasons still unknown, the contents of these 21 containers were not declared as dangerous goods in the original manifest provided to MNZ and as required under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code,” said Director of MNZ, Catherine Taylor.

The ships manifest shows the product as “Cover Bath Material” and “Pure Tapped Bath Material”, a by-product of the aluminium smelting process, which is considered low risk unless ingested or inhaled directly in its dry powdered form. MSC also advises this material is known as cryolite.

“Since learning of this new information on Tuesday (22 November), MNZ has spent the last few days working extensively with various scientific, environmental and health experts to accurately assess the risk posed by cryolite to the marine environment and to people,” Ms Taylor said. “We have also been given a strong assurance by MSC that there are no other potentially dangerous goods on board that have not been declared.”

According to MNZ, twenty of the newly discovered dangerous goods containers are located in Rena’s hold 3, which suffered considerable damage in the vessels grounding.

“While this late notification is frustrating, it’s simply another issue Rena has thrown at us that we have to get on and deal with. It’s the typical nature of salvage operations that these sorts of issues will come up, and our plans remain flexible enough to respond to them as they occur,” Ms Taylor said.

Original article from –

Also visit for images of the grounded Rena..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. I am student of nautical science and currently doing my research in this matter. I would like to hear more and finding any possible outcome to prevent this matter in future. Thank you for your good article.

  2. we are dealing with possible loss of human life with regards to mis- declaration of haz cargo, besides environmental degradation, , this is tragic as there is little concern for this and more concern for profits, the powers that be need to have more teeth in terms of penalties , where are our checks and balances

  3. Everybody in the shipping chain need to take the initiative from shipper/ receiver / forwarder/ line / custom exports / custom imports/ the goods are always STC or STB said to contain or said to be, to facilitate shipper, also we have inspection agencies doing their job – we all know business/ trade is for profit – at what cost is the question?

  4. Why is that we see mostly MSC ships causing accidents around the world and then stating tragic. Most of us know the answer and cannot be termed tragic. MSC have to be more responsible as a corporate and contaminating the sea affects each individual on earth and our coming generation.


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