TT Talk - Safety warning on thiourea dioxide

  • Date: 05/12/2005
  • Source: TT Talk 75

Our friends at the UK P&I Club have issued a warning about improperly declared shipments of thiourea dioxide, predominantly emanating from China.

Thiourea dioxide (or formamidine sulphinic acid) is an odourless white to pale yellow crystalline powder. It is used in the paper and textile industry as a bleaching and reducing agent and is listed under UN No. 3341 in class 4.2 of the IMDG code. It is normally packed in sealed drums since it readily oxidises in air and may generate enough heat to cause ignition when in contact with moisture. The cargo may only be stowed on deck.

According to the UK Club, there have been several instances recently of shippers naming the product as "Thiourea D" or "Thiourea De" and claiming that it is stable. One such shipment decomposed violently in a container, producing sulphur dioxide that contaminated neighbouring containers and necessitating expensive decontamination, clean-up and disposal operations. Subsequent chemical analysis confirmed that the cargo was, indeed, thiourea dioxide.

The Club warns that neither "Thiourea D" nor "Thiourea De" is a recognised shipping name. If any cargoes with these or similar descriptions are offered to members, even if the shippers claim that they are not hazardous, they should be refused.

Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited and TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited, trading as the TT Club. TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited, registered in the UK (Company number: 02657093) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. In Hong Kong, TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is authorised and regulated by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority, in Singapore by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and in Australia by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. In the United States, TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is approved as a surplus lines insurer in all states and is accessible through properly licensed surplus lines brokers. The registered offices are: 90 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 4ST.

Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited, registered in Bermuda (Company number: 1750) is authorised and regulated in Bermuda by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. 

The UK VAT Identification number for Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited is: GB 564 5244 35 and for TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is: GB 564 3375 30. The Italian VAT Identification number for TT Club Mutual Ltd is: 03627210101.

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