Rapeseed Oil - Image by BBC

Rapeseed- IMDG Code and IMSBC Code

After palm and soybean rapeseed is the third largest source of vegetable oil in the world.  More than a third of world’s rapeseed is produced by Canada and China. Rapeseed oil is used as edible oil, animal feed and in biodiesel. Extraction of oil from rapeseed is either by expellers or solvent extraction. 

Rape seed Bloosoms -Photo by by Tilo Hauke
Rape seed Bloosoms -Photo by by Tilo Hauke

Try Griddled duck skewers on spring onion jian bing pancakes      Warm tomato and onion salad with a beef dressing and sourdough croûtons using rapeseed oil.

Rapeseed cake, after extraction of oil, is used as animal feed which contains approximately 35% protein and 10% crude fibre. As packaged cargo or in bulk rapeseed cake and other oil seed cakes pose danger due to the remaining oil content and moisture. Depending on the extraction method, mechanically expelled or solvent extracted, remaining oil content and moisture, seed cakes can have self-heating properties which may lead to cargo fire through spontaneous combustion.

Field of rapeseed - Photo by Myrabella
Field of rapeseed – Photo by Myrabella

Seed Cake in IMDG Code

Seed cake UN 1386 (a) (mechanically expelled seeds, containing more than 10% oil or more than 20% oil and moisture combined) is prohibited on passenger ships.

Seed cakes oil and moisture content
Seed cakes oil and moisture content

Observation and loading precautions, packaged cargo

Residue remaining after oil has been extracted by a solvent process from oil-bearing seeds. Used mainly as an animal feed or fertilizer. The most common seed cakes include those derived from coconut (copra), cottonseed, groundnut (peanut), linseed, maize (hominy chop), niger seed, palm kernel, rape seed, rice bran, soya bean and sunflower seed and they may be shipped in the form of cake, flakes, pellets, meal etc. May self-heat slowly if wet and ignite spontaneously.

Before shipment, this cargo should be properly aged. The duration of aging varies with the oil content. The seed cake should be substantially free from flammable solvent. Smoking and the use of naked lights should not be allowed during loading and unloading, and on entry to cargo spaces at any other time.


  1. Solvent-extracted soya bean meal containing not more than 1.5% oil and 11% moisture, being substantially free from flammable solvents, which is accompanied by a certificate from the shipper stating that the substance, as offered for shipment, meets this requirement is not subject to the provisions of IMDG Code.
  2. UN 1386 SEED CAKE (a) (mechanically expelled) may be permitted to be transported as UN 1386(b)
  3. UN 1386 SEED CAKE (b) (solvent extractions and expelled seeds) may be permitted to be transported as UN 2217

Exemptions under points 2 & 3 can only be basis permission from respective competent authority.

Seed cake on Bulk Carriers

Cargo safety regulations for bulk carriers are governed by IMSBC (INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SOLID BULK CARGOES) Code. IMSBC Code categorizes cargoes into three groups namely Group A, B & C.


  • Group A consists of cargoes which may liquefy if shipped at a moisture content in excess of their transportable moisture limit.
  • Group B consists of cargoes which possess a chemical hazard which could give rise to a dangerous situation on a ship.
  • Group C consists of cargoes which are neither liable to liquefy (Group A) nor to possess chemical hazards (Group B).

Depending on the method of oil extraction, whether expelled or solvent extracted and the oil + moisture content seed cakes will be declared under Bulk Carrier Shipping Name SEED CAKE under UN 1386 or UN 2217

List of Seed Cakes in IMSBC CODE
List of Seed Cakes in IMSBC CODE

PRECAUTION for Loading SEED CAKE in 1386 (a)

This cargo shall only be accepted for loading when the temperature of the cargo is not higher than ambient temperature plus 10°C or 55°C, whichever is lower. Before shipment, this cargo shall be properly aged; the duration of ageing required varies with the oil content.

The temperature of this cargo shall be measured regularly at a number of depths in the cargo spaces and recorded during the voyage.
If the temperature of the cargo reaches 55°C and continues to increase, ventilation to the cargo shall be stopped. If self-heating continues, then carbon dioxide or inert gas shall be introduced to the cargo space. Entry of personnel into cargo spaces for this cargo shall not be permitted until tests have been carried out and it has been established that the oxygen content has been restored to a normal level.

Read more about safe carriage of seed cake

  1. Carriage of Seed Cake by Standard Club
  2. Carriage of DDG and DDGS – Gard

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