THERE are grave fears for 25 sailors after the bulker Nur Allya lost radio contact off eastern Indonesia on Sunday.

According to media reports, the vessel had been carrying nickel ore, a cargo prone to liquefaction “a phenomenon in which a soil-like material is abruptly transformed from a solid dry state to an almost fluid state” according to Norwegian class society DNV GL.

Nur Allya (IMO 9245237) is flagged in Indonesia and was launched in 2002.

The risks of liquefaction in South East Asia usually increase closer to the wet season.

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In a report on liquefaction prepared by DNV GL, it was noted that “many common bulk cargoes, such as iron ore fines, nickel ore and various mineral concentrates, are examples of materials that may liquefy”.

“If liquefaction occurs on board a vessel, the stability will be reduced due to the free surface effect and cargo shift, possibly resulting in capsizing of the vessel,” DNV GL stated.

“The ship structure may also be damaged due to increased cargo pressures.”

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