The Carriage of dangerous goods and marine pollutants in sea-going ships is respectively regulated in the International Convention for the Safety of the Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
Relevant parts of both SOLAS and MARPOL have been worked out in great detail and are included in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, thus making this Code the legal instrument for maritime transport of dangerous goods and marine pollutants. As of 1st January 2004, the IMDG Code will become a mandatory requirement.
Classification of dangerous goods
For all modes of transport (sea, air, rail, road and inland waterways) the classification (grouping) of dangerous goods, by type of risk involved, has been drawn up by the UNITED NATIONS Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN).
Class 8: Corrosive substances
1. For the purpose of this subchapter "corrosive materials" (Class 8) means a liquid or solid that causes full thickness destruction of human skin at the site of contact within a specified period of time. A liquid that has a severe corrosion rate on steel or aluminum is also a corrosive material.
2. If human experience or other data indicate that the hazard of a material is greater or less than indicated by the results of the tests specified in paragraph (a) of this section, RSPA may revise its classification or make the determination that the material is not subject to the requirements of this subchapter.
3. Skin corrosion test data produced no later than September 30, 1995, using the procedures of 49CFR 173, Appendix A, in effect on September 30, 1995 (see 49CFR Part 173, Appendix A, revised as of October 1, 1994) for appropriate exposure times may be used for classification and assignment of packing group for Class 8 materials corrosive to skin.
454 kg (1001 lbs) or more gross weight of a corrosive material. Although the corrosive class includes both acids and bases, the hazardous materials load and segregation chart does not make any reference to the separation of various incompatible corrosive materials from each other. In spite of this, however, when shipping corrosives care should be taken to ensure that incompatible corrosive materials can not become mixed as many corrosives react very violently if mixed. If responding to a transportation incident involving corrosive materials (especially a mixture of corrosives), caution should be exercised.