MM3686, Lesson 2
Because some explosives are so sensitive, they are listed in the relatively unknown Class XII for storage and
compatibility purposes. The explosives in this three-item class are raw materials for many of the more common
classes. These items must always be stored in a separate storage compartment aboard vessels. The three types of
explosives in Class XII are: ammonium nitrate, wet nitrocellulose (wet with 20 percent water), and wet
nitrocellulose (wet with 30 percent alcohol). When these items are shipped by vessel they must be classified as
Ammonium nitrate as an oxidizing material.
Wet nitrocellulose (wet with 20 percent water) as a flammable solid.
Wet nitrocellulose (wet with 30 percent alcohol) as a flammable liquid.
INSPECTING STOWAGE ON VESSELS
All ammunition and explosives loaded aboard a vessel are under the general control of the Coast Guard,
which has the final say on what can be loaded aboard a vessel.
All military explosives stowed must conform with the provisions of BOE 6000. When ammunition and
explosives have to be mixed with other hazardous items in the same cargo hold on a vessel, the compatibility
charts must be used (Figures 2-1 and 2-3).
Military explosives must not be stowed in a cargo hold or any other hold containing coal. Furthermore, if a
cargo hold has household goods, personal effects, or mail, military explosives must not be stowed above or below
Three types of explosives must be given additional consideration when loaded on board the vessel: toxic
chemical ammunition, pyrotechnic material, and Class VIII items.
Toxic Chemical Ammunition. Toxic chemical ammunition must be in a deep tank or a lower hold. When
this ammunition is stowed in a deep tank, the tank's suction pumps must be sealed with a blank flange. The blank
flange prevents inadvertent leaking of chemical agents. When the pump is sealed, the blank flange must be placed
on the suction side of the bilge pump manifold. If chemical ammunition is stowed in the lower hold or other
compartments, the hatch cover ventilators and suction pumps must also be sealed to contain any leakage that may
Pyrotechnic Material. All pyrotechnic material must be kept away from heat and protected from moisture.
Pyrotechnic items must not be stowed in the same hold or compartment as other military explosives. They must
not have other cargo stowed in other compartments in the hold directly over them ("overstowage"). Small
quantities of pyrotechnic ammunition can be stowed in a metal locker as long as heat, moisture, and overstowage
can be avoided.
Class VIII Items. The following precautions must have been taken when Class VIII items are stored on the
same vessel with Classes II, IV, V, or VII: (1) A permanent steel deck or bulkhead (wall) must be between
blasting caps and the other classes. (2) A separation distance of at least 10 feet in any direction should be
maintained. The separation must be 25 feet or more if the deck or bulkhead is not steel.
When Class VIII ammunition is being stowed on the same vessel with Classes IX, X, or XI and a permanent
steel deck or bulkhead is between the different classes, a separation distance of at least 25 feet must be
maintained. If the deck or bulkhead is not steel, the separation must be 40 feet or more.