Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The growth of the chemical industry over the past 30 years has contributed significantly to the increased volume of hazardous cargo transported by ocean vessel. The properties of some chemicals in commerce, particularly intermediate products, are such that their movement represents a risk to society in terms of environmental damage, bodily injury, and carcinogenic effects that may not surface for years. This study traces the development of the ocean chemical transportation system with emphasis on the technology, management and regulatory regime that has evolved to control these risks. Selected incidents involving hazardous chemical cargoes are reviewed, highlighting the industry and government responses. This study concludes that the present risk management system is capable of supporting hazardous chemical transportation at sea with minimal risk, with two notable weaknesses; the shipowners reliance on the cargo owner's selection of packaging and stowage for intermodal transport, and the impact of human error on the system of technological, managerial and regulatory controls. The study endorses the International Maritime Organization's efforts to create a liability regime similar to that in effect for oil pollution liability.