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Container  Owners  Association  


 
 
 
 

Code  of  practice,  for  single-­‐use  flexitank  


systems    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
COA  Code  of  practice,  for  single  use  flexitank  systems:  
Version  4  –  December  2015  amd.1  
 
 
 
 
www.containerownersassociation.org                                            
 
Code  of  practice,  for  single  use  flexitank  systems.     R9

 
 
Contents:  
 
1. Introduction,  including  declaration  and  key  points.  

2. Quality  management  systems.  


 
3. Installation  and  training.  
 
4. Container  criteria.  
 
5. Cargo.  
 
6. Marking.  
 
7. Material  tests.  
 
8. Rail  impact  test.  
 
9. Insurance.  
 
10. Incident  management.  
 
 
 
 
   

2   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  


1:  Introduction  
 
This  Code  of  Practice  is  published  by  the  Container  Owners  Association.  It  forms  part  of  the  COA  
shipping  line  (carriers)  risk  assessment  process  and  requires  flexitank  manufacturers  to  comply  with  
the  Code  and  ensure  the  provision  of  a  safe  and  reliable  flexitank  system.  The  Code  of  Practice  might  
additionally  be  appropriate  for  flexitank  operators,  shippers  (producers)  and  other  entities.  
 
The  Code  of  Practice  refers  to  a  single-­‐use  flexitank  designed  for  installation  in  an  ISO  20ft  GP  
container  but  relevant  parts  may  also  be  applied  to  other  container  lengths.  
 
The  COA  Code  of  Practice  logo  is  subject  to  copyright.  Only  COA  member  companies  that  meet  the  
provisions  of  the  COA  Code  of  Practice  are  permitted  to  display  the  logo.  
 
 
Note:  
The  Code  of  Practice  was  first  developed  by  the  COA  in  2008  (Version  1)  and  amended  in  2009  (V2)  
and  2011  (V3)  
 
This  Code  of  Practice  (V4),  dated  December  2015  supersedes  all  previous  versions.  
 
Obligations  of  participants    
 
COA  is  responsible  for:  
§ Publication  of  the  Flexitank  Code  of  Practice.  
§ Publication  of  the  Flexitank  Quality  Management  List.  
 
Manufacturers  are  responsible  for:  
§ Manufacture  of  flexitanks  that  are  fit  for  purpose.  
§ Manufacturing  flexitanks  to  their  specified  quality  and  design  and  in  accordance  with  the  
provisions  of  the  Code  of  Practice.  
§ Providing  installation  and  training  instructions  to  the  users  of  their  flexitanks.  
 
Operators  are  responsible  for:  
§ Operating  flexitank  systems  in  accordance  with  the  manufacturers  instructions  and  this  Code  of  
Practice.  
§ Operating  only  flexitank  systems  manufactured  by  companies  that  meet  the  provisions  of  the  
Code  of  Practice.  
§ Transporting  only  cargoes  that  are  non-­‐dangerous,  risk  assessed  and  compatible  with  the  
flexitank  system.  
 
Shipping  lines  are  responsible  for:  
§ Risk  assessment  of  the  flexitank  system  and  cargo,  prior  to  carriage  on  their  vessel,  to  meet  their  
company  requirements  and  conditions  of  carriage.  
 
 
 
Liability  Exclusion  
Manufacturers  are  required  to  ensure  that  their  products  are  fit  for  purpose.  Accordingly,  the  Container  Owners  
Association  accept  no  liability  whatsoever  for  any  events  resulting  from  implementing  the  recommendations  in  
this  Code  of  Practice.    
 
1.2.  Declaration  
 
To  be  completed  by  COA  Flexitank  member  companies  that  display  the  COA  Flexitank  Code  of  
Practice  ©  logo  or  otherwise  declare  that  they  meet  the  requirements  of  the  Code  of  
Practice.  
 
 
I  am  authorised  to  confirm,  on  behalf  of  the  Company  that:  
 
§ The  Company  is  committed  to  high  professional  standards  of  integrity,  manufacture  and  safety  and  
operates  in  compliance  with  all  applicable  regulations  and  environmental  requirements.  
 
§ The  Company  abides  by  COA  Articles  of  Association  and  complies  with  all  anti-­‐trust  legislation  and  its  
employees  are  instructed  in  its  requirements  and  act  accordingly.  The  Company  representatives  involved  or  
attending  COA  meetings  are  additionally  instructed  in  the  requirements  of  COA  anti-­‐trust  compliance  policy  
and  at  no  time  will  discuss  with  competitors  or  exchange  any  information  not  in  conformity  with  anti-­‐trust  
legislation.    
 
§ The  Company  is  committed  to  an  environmental  policy  that  cares  for  the  flexitank  from  point  of  
manufacture  to  final  disposal.  
 
§ The  Company  manufactures  and  supplies  all  its  flexitanks  in  compliance  this  Code  of  Practice.  
 
§ The  Company  has  completed  the  quality  management  audits  and  tests  in  compliance  with  this  Code  of  
Practice.  
 
 
The  Company  understands  that  in  the  event  that  the  company  does  not  continue  to  meet  the  provisions  of  this  
declaration  the  COA  Board  reserve  the  right  to  rescind  the  authorisation  to  display  the  COA  Flexitank  Code  of  
Practice  ©  logo.    

 
I  am  an  authorised  signatory  on  behalf  of  The  Company.  
 
 
 
Signed:  
 
Title:  
 
Date:  
 
Company  stamp:  
 
 
 
 
Download  the  above  text  from  COA  website  and  paste  the  text  on  to  your  company  letterhead.  Then  sign  and  
stamp  the  declaration  and  mail  to  the  secretary,  container  owners  association.  

 
4   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  
1.3  Key  Points:  
 
1. COA  Code  of  Practice  ©  shall  only  be  displayed  and  or  used  in  promotions,  by  COA  members’  that  
declare  that  they  meet  and  uphold  the  provisions  of  the  Code.  
 
2. The  COA  compliance  certificate  is  provided  to  manufacturers,  at  each  factory  site  that  endorse  
the  COA  declaration  and  complete  all  four  independent  audits  namely,  quality  management  
system,  installation  and  training,  material  tests  and  rail  impact  test.  
 
3. Manufacturers  shall  meet  the  requirements  of  ISO  9001  Quality  management  system.  The  
process  shall  be  audited  and  a  copy  of  the  report  submitted  to  the  COA.  
 
4. Manufacturers  shall  provide  a  detailed  installation  and  operating  instruction  manual  and  shall  
contractually  oblige  all  parties  in  the  transport  chain,  including  shippers  and  operators,  to  ensure  
that  all  personnel  receive  training  in  both  general  awareness  and  their  specific  functions.  The  
process  shall  be  audited  and  a  copy  of  the  report  submitted  to  COA.  
 
5. Containers  shall  be  selected  in  accordance  with  the  criteria  of  this  code.  
 
6. Dangerous  Goods  shall  not  be  carried  by  flexitank  systems.  
a) Safety  Data  Sheet  (SDS)  shall  be  provided  by  the  shipper.  
b) Only  non-­‐dangerous  goods  that  have  been  risk  assessed  shall  be  carried.  
c) The  shipping  line,  shipper  and  operator  shall  each  prepare  a  risk  assessment  and  emergency  plan.  
 
7. Display  markings  on  the  container  door  warning  that  the  container  is  loaded  with  a  liquid  filled  
flexitank.  
 
8. The  flexitank  materials  of  construction,  including  valves,  shall  be  tested  in  accordance  with  this  
Code  of  Practice.  The  process  shall  be  audited  and  a  copy  of  the  report  submitted  to  COA.  
 
9. Rail  impact  test  shall  be  undertaken  in  accordance  with  this  Code  of  Practice.  The  process  shall  be  
audited  and  a  copy  of  the  report  submitted  to  COA.  Rail  impact  tests  undertaken  for  the  purpose  
of  COA  Code  of  Practice,  shall  be  undertaken  without  the  use  of  ancillary  equipment  e.g.  side  and  
front  end  wall  reinforcing.    
 
10. All  risks  insurance  cover  of  minimum  US$5  million  shall  be  secured  with  an  A  rated  insurer.  
 
11. Incidents  shall  be  investigated  and  reported  in  accordance  with  this  Code  of  Practice.  
 
12. Auditor  reports  shall  be  undertaken  by  an  independent,  third  party  and  external  auditor  that  is  
accredited  by  a  governmental  body.  Unless  otherwise  authorised  by  the  COA,  the  Auditor  shall  
accord  with  the  appropriate  provisions  of  ISO  17020  Conformity  assessment  -­‐  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems  or  ISO  17021  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems.  
   
13. FQML  (Flexitank  quality  management  list)  is  a  reference  document  to  be  used  by  COA  shipping  
lines  as  part  of  their  risk  assessment.  The  list  is  compiled  by  the  COA  on  receipt  of  independent  
audit  reports  and  certificates  submitted  by  the  flexitank  manufacturer.  The  list  is  updated  
periodically.  
 
 
 
 
2:  Quality  management  systems  
 
2.1  ISO  9001:2015  
 
Manufacturers  shall  implement  management  systems,  at  each  manufacturing  site,  in  accordance  
with  the  provisions  of  ISO  9001:2015  Quality  management  systems  or  equivalent  and  shall  
demonstrate  compliance.  
 
An  audit  shall  be  carried  out  of  the  management  system  at  each  manufacturing  factory  site.  
 
Auditor  reports  shall  be  undertaken  by  an  independent,  third  party  and  external  auditor  that  is  
accredited  by  a  governmental  body.  Unless  otherwise  authorised  by  the  COA,  the  Auditor  shall  
accord  with  the  appropriate  provisions  of  ISO  17020  Conformity  assessment  -­‐  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems  or  ISO  17021  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems.  
 
The  ISO  9001:2015  audit  is  valid  for  a  period  of  3  years.  Audits  completed  in  accordance  with  ISO  
9001:2008  remain  valid  until  expiry  date.  
 
Alternative  quality  management  systems  to  ISO  9001  are  permitted  subject  to  COA  agreement.  
 
Nb.  ISO  9001:2015  quality  management  systems  and  audits  should  cover  all  processes  of  the  
business.  Nevertheless,  additional  audits  are  required  for  installation  and  training,  materials  and  
rail  impact  testing  as  is  detailed  in  this  Code  of  Practice.    
 
2.2  Environmental  management  
 
Companies  should  uphold  an  environmental  policy  that  cares  for  the  flexitank  from  point  of  
manufacture  to  final  disposal.  Companies  are  recommended  to  consider  implementing  ISO  14001  
environmental  management  systems  or  a  comparable  standard.  
 
ISO  14001  is  an  internationally  accepted  standard  that  outlines  how  to  put  an  effective  
environmental  management  system  in  place.  It  provides  the  framework  for  companies  to  meet  
corporate  responsibility  as  well  as  legal  or  regulatory  requirements.    
 
2.3  Flexitank  quality  management  list  (FQML)  
 
FQML  is  a  reference  document  to  be  used  by  COA  shipping  lines  as  part  of  their  risk  assessment.    
 
The  list  is  compiled  by  the  COA  on  receipt  of  independent  audit  reports  and  certificates  
submitted  by  the  flexitank  manufacturer.  The  list  is  updated  periodically.  
 
The  list  includes,  for  each  COA  flexitank  manufacturer,  the  status  of  independent  audits  for  the,  
quality  management  system,  installation  and  training,  material  tests  and  rail  impact  test.  The  COA  
certificate  is  provided  to  manufacturers  at  each  factory  site  that  endorsed  the  COA  declaration  
and  completed  all  four  audits.  

1  
3:  Instructions  and  manuals  for  installation,  operating  and  
training.  
 
Manufacturers  shall  provide  a  detailed  installation,  operating  and  training  instruction  manual.  All  
parties  in  the  transport  chain,  including  shippers  and  operators,  shall  ensure  that  all  personnel  
receive  training  in  both  general  awareness  and  their  specific  functions.  
 
The  manual  may  be  printed  or  in  electronic  format  and  shall  include  text  and  pictorial  instruction.  
On-­‐line  video  may  be  used  as  appropriate.  
 
The  language(s)  shall  be  English  and  the  language  understood  by  the  installer,  operator  or  other  
participants,  if  not  English.  
 
Training  requirements  shall  be  designed  for  all  personnel  engaged  in  the  installation  and  
operation  of  flexitank  systems.  The  training  scheme  shall  provide  for  the  appropriate  level  of  
competence  to  ensure  a  safe  and  reliable  flexitank  system.  Training  records  shall  be  maintained.  
 
Instructions  and  procedures  should  be  reviewed  annually  by  the  manufacturer,  or  before  if  there  
is  a  process  change,  to  ensure  that  the  up-­‐to-­‐date  processes  and  documentation  are  in  use.  
 
3.1  Installation  and  operating  instruction  manual  
 
The  manual  shall  include  detailed  instruction  of  all  processes  and  procedures  required  by  the  
manufacturer  but  at  least  the  following  activities:  
 
§ Health,  safety  and  the  environment.  
§ Container  selection  and  preparation.  
§ Flexitank  installation.  
§ Restraining  systems  (bulkhead)  installation.  
§ Ancillary  equipment  installation.  
§ Process  to  determine  the  compatibility  of  cargo  with  the  flexitank  material  of  construction.  
§ Compatibility  chart  of  the  substances  typically  transported.  
§ Safety  awareness  of  substances  transported.    
§ Use  of  Cargo  SDS  (Safety  Data  Sheet)  and  risk  assessment  process.  
§ Cargo  loading  temperature  range.  
§ Filling  methods,  including  filling  capacity  control  by  calibrated  measuring  equipment.  
§ Action  in  the  event  of  excessive  container  wall  bulging  or  other  incidents  during  filling.  
§ SOLAS  VI  Regulation  2,  Verified  gross  mass  requirement.  
§ Discharge  methods  and  requirements.  
§ Marking  the  container.  
§ Disposal,  including  safety  and  environmental  best  practice  and  recycling  procedures.  
§ Recycling  of  restraining  bulkhead  and  ancillary  equipment.  
§ Training  scheme,  required  level  of  competence  and  records  of  training.  
§ Incident  management  and  emergency  plan.  
 
Note:  The  manual(s)  shall  provide  for  each  of  the  flexitank  types  and  designs  manufactured.  
 

2   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  


 
3.2  Training  
 
§ The  manufacture  shall  develop  a  comprehensive  training  scheme  suitable  for  all  personnel,  
including  personnel  of  the  manufacturer,  operator  and  shipper  and  others  that  install  
flexitank  systems.  
§ Training  shall  be  in  general  awareness  and  job  specific  function.  
§ Training  schemes  shall  be  designed  for  each  type  and  design  of  flexitank  supplied  by  the  
manufacturer.  
§ Trainers  shall  be  qualified  in  all  matters  relating  to  the  training  and  installation  of  flexitank  
systems.  
 
 
3.3  Audit  
 
Auditor  reports  shall  be  undertaken  by  an  independent,  third  party  and  external  auditor  that  is  
accredited  by  a  governmental  body.  Unless  otherwise  authorised  by  the  COA,  the  Auditor  shall  
accord  with  the  appropriate  provisions  of  ISO  17020  Conformity  assessment  -­‐  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems  or  ISO  17021  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems.  
 
The  audit  shall  verify:  
• Instruction  manual  meets  the  requirements  of  the  Code.  
• Training  methods  are  fit  for  purpose.  
• Training  records  maintained.  
 
The  audit  shall  be  repeated  at  3  yearly  intervals  or  within  90  days  if  there  is  significant  change  to  
the  process.  
 
 
4:  Containers  
 
4.1  General    
Containers  shall  conform  to  provisions  of  ISO  1496:2013  Part  1,  and  shall  display  a  valid  CSC  plate  
(Convention  for  Safe  Containers)  and  a  valid  PES  (periodic  examination  scheme)  or  ACEP  
(approved  continual  examination  programme).  Refer  to  IMO  publications  for  detail.  
 
20ft  GP  containers  shall  be  rated  to  a  minimum  gross  mass  30,480kg.  It  is  preferable,  if  available,  
to  select  a  higher  rated  container  e.g.  32,500kg.      
 
It  is  advisable  to  inform  the  shipping  line  that  the  container  is  to  be  used  for  a  flexitank  and  to  
confirm  the  specified  requirements.  
 
 
 
 

3  
 
4.2  Loading  and  Transport  
 
Flexitank  systems  shall  comply  with  IMO  Code  of  Practice  for  Packing  of  Cargo  Transport  Units  
(CTU  Code)  including  para.5.2.2  -­‐  5.2.3  
 
During  transport  the  contents  of  a  flexitank  will  be  subject  to  dynamic  forces  without  significant  
retention  from  friction.  These  forces  will  act  upon  the  boundaries  of  the  CTU  and  may  cause  
damage  or  complete  failure.    
 
Therefore  the  payload  of  a  CTU  should  be  appropriately  reduced,  when  it  is  used  for  carrying  a    
loaded  flexitank.  The  reduction  depends  on  the  type  of  CTU  and  on  the  mode  of  transport.  When  
a  flexitank  is  loaded  into  a  general  purpose  CTU,  the  mass  of  the  liquid  in  the  flexitank  should  not  
exceed  a  value  agreed  with  the  CTU  operator,  to  prevent  the  CTU  from  suffering  bulging  
damages.  Nb.  CTU  operator  is  defined  as  the  carrier.  
 
This  code  of  practice  refers  to  a  20ft  GP  loaded  with  a  maximum  capacity  24,000  litre  flexitank  
not  exceeding  24,000  kg.    
 
The  flexitank  should  be  filled  to  the  manufacturers  recommended  tolerance  of  its  specified  
capacity.  
   
After  discharge  of  the  flexitank  cargo,  the  flexitank  shall  be  completely  removed  from  the  
container  and  safely  disposed  according  to  the  environmental  instruction  and  policy.    
 
The  container  shall  be  redelivered  to  the  shipping  line  completely  empty  and  in  the  same  
condition  as  received.  
 
4.3  Container  condition  
 
Containers  for  the  carriage  of  flexitanks  shall  be  in  good  serviceable  condition  and  meet  the  
shipping  line  condition  criteria,  usually  UCIRC  (Unified  Container  Inspection  &  Repair  Criteria).  
Repairs  should  accord  with  IICL  (International  Institute  of  Container  Lessors)  repair  procedures.  
 
If  there  is  any  doubt  of  the  structural  integrity  of  the  container  or  its  suitability  for  installing  or  
transporting  a  flexitank,  the  container  should  be  rectified  or  replaced.  
 
If  there  are  any  sharp  edges,  dents  or  other  defects  or  surface  conditions  that  could  potentially  
damage,  snag  or  chaff  the  flexitank,  the  surface  shall  be  covered  with  suitable  protective  material  
such  as  tape  or  board.  All  timber  products  shall  be  “Australian”  AQIS  treated.  
 
 
Side  and  end  walls  
• Shall  be  corrugated  for  the  entire  length.  Nb.  flat  logo  panels  are  not  acceptable.  
• Shall  be  flat  in  the  vertical  plane  with  maximum  deformation  over  the  height  of  10  mm.  
• Welds  shall  be  smooth  and  free  from  sharp  edges  and  objects.  
• Allowable  dents,  deformations  and  repairs  shall  be  smooth.  
• Previous  repairs  are  acceptable  providing  that  the  quality  of  repair  complies  with  this  Code.  

4   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  


 
Floor  (wood/plywood)  
• Shall  be  free  from  splinters  and  protruding  nails,  screws  and  other  fixings.    
• Shall  be  free  of  any  gouge  greater  than  15mm  depth  (all  gouges  shall  be  covered  with  
suitable  tape  or  board).  
• Shall  be  free  of  misalignment  of  adjacent  planks  /  panels  greater  than  10mm.  All  
misalignment  shall  be  covered  with  protective  material.  
 
 
Floor  (steel)  
• Shall  be  free  of  any  cuts,  sharp  edges,  burred  gouges  or  sharp  dents.  
• The  floor  shall  be  covered  with  a  suitable  protective  material.  
 
 
Interior  general  
• Rear  post  shoring  slots  shall  be  free  from  dents  or  obstruction.    
• Lashing  rings  should  be  checked  for  suitability.  
• There  shall  be  no  sharp  edges  or  excessive  scratches  to  the  interior.  
• The  walls  and  roof  shall  be  free  from  significant  areas  of  rust  or  flaking  paint.  
• Floor  and  walls  shall  be  clean  i.e.  free  of  grit,  carbon,  sand,  cargo  residues  etc.    
• Floor  and  walls  shall  have  no  transferable  stains  or  significant  odour.  
• A  suitable  protective  material  shall  be  placed  over  the  floor  and  walls.  
 
 
Door  hardware  
• Each  door  shall  have  a  minimum  of  two  locking  bars  each  retained  by  a  minimum  of  three  
locking  bar  brackets.    
• Locking  bar  cams  shall  correctly  lock  into  both  top  and  bottom  locking  bar  cam  retainers.    
• Door  handle  security  catches  should  close  fully.    
• Hinges  shall  be  in  working  order  and  free  moving.  
• Door  gear  fixing  on  the  inside  of  the  doors  shall  be  free  from  sharp  points  and  edges.  
 
 
Doors  
• Doors  shall  close  without  obstructing  the  restraining  system.  
• To  ensure  that  doors  close  properly,  the  container  should  be  positioned  on  flat  horizontal  
surface  before  and  during  the  process  of  filling  the  flexitank  with  cargo.  
 
 
CSC  Plate  
• A  valid  CSC  plate  and  examination  date  shall  be  correctly  attached  to  the  container.  
 
 
Exterior:  
• The  exterior  shall  be  free  from  markings  relating  to  previous  cargo.  
 
 
 

5  
 
5:  Cargo  
 
§ Cargo  regulated  as  Dangerous  Goods  shall  not  be  transported  by  flexitank  systems.    
 
§ Flexitank  systems  shall  only  be  used  for  non-­‐dangerous  cargo  that  has  been  assessed  for  risk  
and  confirmed  acceptable,  by  all  parties,  for  transport  in  a  flexitank  system.  
 
5.1  Non-­‐dangerous  goods  
 
Non-­‐dangerous  cargo  (also  commonly  referred  to  as  non-­‐hazardous  or  non-­‐haz)  is  cargo  that  is  
not  included  in  the  IMDG  Dangerous  Goods  list  and  confirmed  to  be  non-­‐regulated  by  the  SDS.  
 
The  Safety  Data  Sheet  (SDS)  shall  be  supplied  by  the  shipper  for  the  cargo  to  be  transported  and  
shall  be  immediately  available  during  the  period  of  carriage.    
 
Although  the  non-­‐dangerous  cargo  is  classified  to  be  below  the  regulatory  criteria  for  dangerous  
goods,  it  might  nevertheless  contain  hazards  and  might  not  be  suitable  for  transport  in  a  flexitank  
system.    
 
Risk  assessment  should  consider  the  hazards  detailed  in  the  SDS  and  in  addition  any  clean-­‐up  and  
environmental  pollution  in  the  event  of  a  leakage.  
 
All  parties  should  undertake  a  risk  assessment  before  accepting  any  cargo  for  transport  in  a  
flexitank  system.  
 
Cargo  shall  be  risk  assessed  for  compatibility  with  the  flexitank  material  of  construction.  
 
Cargo  loading  temperature  range  shall  accord  with  the  manufacturers  instructions,  
 
All  parties  shall  exercise  responsible  care  at  all  times.  
 
Nb.  Safety  data  sheet  is  a  requirement  of  UN  Globally  harmonised  system  of  classification  and  
labelling  of  chemicals  (GHS)  
 
 
5.2  Dangerous  Goods  
 
§ Cargo  classified  as  Dangerous  Goods  shall  not  be  transported  by  flexitank  systems.    
 
IMDG  Dangerous  Goods  List  provides  a  list  of  substances  classified  as  dangerous  goods  and  
provides  the  UN  number.  The  Dangerous  Goods  List  is  included  in  the  IMDG  Code,  published  by  
(IMO)  International  Maritime  Organisation.  
 
Refer  to  the  SDS  (safety  data  sheet)  to  determine  the  cargo  classification.  
 

6   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  


Nb:  refer  also  to  all  national  and  regional  regulations  applicable  in  the  region  of  carriage  as  
requirements  might  differ  e.g.  USDOTCFR49,  ADR-­‐RID.  
 
5.3  Compatibility  
 
The  cargo  must  be  compatible  with  the  flexitank  material  of  construction.  The  cargo  must  be  
entirely  inert  with  the  flexitank  material  and  free  from  any  risk  of  degradation  or  reaction.    
 
Cargo  temperature  shall  accord  with  the  manufacturers  instructions.  
 
The  cargo  compatibility  risk  evaluation  shall  be  completed  by  the  shipper  and  should  form  part  of  
the  shipping  line  risk  assessment.  The  manufacturer  of  the  flexitank  should  provide  compatibility  
information  and  advice.  
 
6:  Marking  of  container  and  flexitank  
 
6.1  Container  marking:  
 
The  container  shall  display  information  and  risk  marks  to  identify  that  the  container  is  loaded  
with  a  flexitank  and  that  it  is  filled  with  liquid  cargo.  
 
The  shipper  shall  be  responsible  to  ensure  that  all  required  marks  are  displayed.  
 
Text  should  be  in  English  and  the  language  of  the  consignor  and  consignee.  
 
 
6.2  Warning  mark  
 
A  flexitank  warning  mark  shall  be  affixed  to  the  outside  of  the  left  hand  door,  in  such  a  position  
that  it  is  obvious  before  opening  the  right  hand  door.  
 
It  should  not  obscure  any  other  markings  present  on  the  container.  
 
Marks  shall  be  a  minimum  dimension  A4  (210  x  297mm)  and  made  of  a  material  designed  to  
remain  intact  in  arduous  marine  conditions  for  a  minimum  of  90  days.  
 
The  marking  shall  contain  text  and  a  pictorial  warning:  
 
• Keep  left  hand  door  shut.    
• Container  loaded  with  flexitank  containing  liquid  cargo.  
• No  fork  lift.  
• Emergency  contact  information.    
 
 
 
 

7  
 
6.3  Flexitank  marking:  
 
The  flexitank  shall  be  marked,  by  the  manufacturer  at  the  time  of  manufacture.  
 
All  flexitanks  shall  be  marked  with  the  following  information:  a)  reference  to  the  performance  
test  standard;  b)  the  manufacturers  name  and/or  recognised  logo;  c)  a  unique  flexitank  serial  
number;  d)  flexitank  capacity  (in  litres).  
 
Markings  shall  be  located  on  the  flexitank,  such  that  when  fitted  within  the  container,  it  is  visible  
when  the  right-­‐hand  door  of  the  container  is  open.  
 
6.4  Removal  of  container  markings:  
 
All  markings  shall  be  removed  from  the  container  after  the  flexitank  has  been  removed  from  the  
container  and  the  container  is  clean  and  safe.  
 
 
7:  Flexitank  material  of  construction  test  
 
Flexitank  materials  of  construction,  for  each  type  of  flexitank  manufactured,  shall  be  tested  in  
accordance  with  the  provisions  of  as  detailed  below.  
 
The  manufacturer  shall  carryout  tests  at  each  factory  site.  Test  records  shall  be  maintained.  
 
 
7.1  Material  Tests  
 
1) Puncture  resistance  or  impact  strength  
 
ASTM  D1709  –  08:  Standard  Test  Methods  for  Impact  Resistance  of  Plastic  Films  by  Free  Falling  
Dart  Method  (Method  B).  
A  dart  with  50.80mm  diameter  hemispherical  head  dropped  from  a  height  of  1.50  m.  Using  the  
staircase  method  as  defined  in  the  standard,  average  impact  failure  weight  is  calculated.  
 
Or:  
ASTM  D4833  –  07:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Index  Puncture  Resistance  of  Geomembranes  and  
Related  Products  
A  100mm  diameter  specimen  is  clamped  between  circular  plates  of  a  ring  clamp  attachment  with  
an  opening  of  45mm  diameter,  is  subjected  to  puncture  by  a  8mm  diameter  solid  steel  rod  at  a  
controlled  speed  of  300mm/min.    The  maximum  force  recorded  is  the  value  of  the  puncture  
resistance  of  the  specimen.  
 
 
2) Seal  (weld)  strength  
 

8   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  


ASTM  D6392-­‐08:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Determining  the  Integrity  of  Non-­‐reinforced  
Geomembrane  Seams  Produced  Using  Thermo-­‐Fusion  Methods.  
This  test  method  presents  the  procedures  used  for  determining  the  quality  of  non-­‐bituminous  
bonded  seams  subjected  to  both  peel  and  shear  tests.  These  test  procedures  are  intended  for  
Non-­‐reinforced  geomembranes  only.  
 
Or  ASTM  D882:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Tensile  Properties  of  Thin  Plastic  Sheeting.  
 
3) Tensile  strength  and  elongation    
 
(a)  ASTM  D882  –  09:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Tensile  Properties  of  Thin  Plastic  Sheeting  
A  25.4  mm  (1inch)  wide  sample  placed  into  a  Universal  Testing  Machine  is  pulled  to  break  at  a  
relevant  test  speed  suggested  in  the  standard.    The  force  and  elongation  at  break  is  determined.  
 
Or  
ASTM  D6392-­‐08:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Determining  the  Integrity  of  Non-­‐reinforced  
Geomembrane  Seams  Produced  Using  Thermo-­‐Fusion  Methods.  
This  test  method  presents  the  procedures  used  for  determining  the  quality  of  non-­‐bituminous  
bonded  seams  subjected  to  both  peel  and  shear  tests.  These  test  procedures  are  intended  for  
Non-­‐reinforced  geomembranes  only.  
Or    
BS  EN  ISO  527.3:  Plastics:  Determination  of  tensile  properties  &Test  conditions  
 
4) Tear  Resistance  
 
ASTM  D1004-­‐08:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Tear  Resistance  (Graves  Tear)  of  Plastic  Film  and  
Sheeting  
The  force  required  to  initiate  tearing  on  a  test  specimens  cut  out  with  a  die  conforming  to  the  
dimensions  defined  in  the  standard  is  recorded.    The  test  speed  is  set  at  51mm/min  
 
5) Thickness  
 
ASTMD  5199:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Measuring  the  Nominal  Thickness  of  Geosynthetics.  
 
6) WPP  sleeve  tensile  and  elongation  
 
ASTM  D4595:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Tensile  Properties  of  Geotextiles  by  the  Wide-­‐Width  
Strip  Method.  
 
Or  
ASTM  D5035:  Standard  Test  Method  for  Breaking  Force  and  Elongation  of  Textile  Fabrics  (Strip  
Method)  
 
Or  
BS  EN  ISO  13934-­‐1  Textiles.  Tensile  properties  of  fabrics.  Determination  of  maximum  force  and  
elongation  at  maximum  force  using  the  strip  method.  
 
 

9  
 
 
 
7.1.1  Loading  and  discharge  valve  test.  
 
 Valves  shall  be  tested  in  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  PAS  1008:2014  Specification  for  the  
performance  and  testing  of  a  single  use  flexitank.  
 
Test  report  shall  be  maintained  and  include:  a)  ref.  to  the  standard;  b)  valve  type;  c)  date  of  test;  
d)  name  of  tester;  e)  test  pressure;  f)  test  duration;  g)  visibly  detectable  leakage  yes  or  no;  h)  
unique  identifier  of  valve  tested.  
 
 
7.1.3  Frequency  of  tests:  
 
Tests  7.1  Materials:    1),  2),  3),  and  4)  Minimum  of  once  per  100  flexitanks  manufactured.    
 
Test  7.1  Materials:  5),  6),  All  materials  initially  received  into  the  flexitank  production  and  
subsequently  on  any  new  material  received  where  the  supplier  or  resin  composition  has  changed.  
 
Test  7.1.2  Valves:  -­‐  100%.  
 
7.2  Audit  of  material  and  valve  test.  
 
Manufacturers  should  demonstrate  to  an  accredited  auditor  that:  
 
• Test  equipment  meets  the  requirements  of  the  standard,  and  is  available  at  or  near  the  
factory  site  of  manufacture  and  is  maintained  and  calibrated  in  accordance  with  the  test  
equipment  manufacturers’  instructions.  
• Test  laboratory  is  temperature  controlled  to  the  requirements  of  the  test  standards.  
• Personnel  conducting  the  tests  are  qualified  and  training  records  are  maintained.  
• ASTM  test  standards  are  available  sufficient  to  conduct  the  test.  
• Materials  are  tested  to  the  requirement  of  the  standards.  
• Valves  are  tested  to  the  requirement  of  the  standards.  
• Records  of  the  sample  test  results  required  by  this  Code  are  maintained.  
 
A  material  test  audit  shall  be  carried  out  at  each  factory  site.  
 
Auditor  reports  shall  be  undertaken  by  an  independent,  third  party  and  external  auditor  that  is  
accredited  by  a  governmental  body.  Unless  otherwise  authorised  by  the  COA,  the  Auditor  shall  
accord  with  the  appropriate  provisions  of  ISO  17020  Conformity  assessment  -­‐  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems  or  ISO  17021  Requirements  for  
bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems.    
 
The  audit  should  be  repeated  at  intervals  of  3  years  or  within  90  days  of  a  significant  change  of  
the  manufacturing  process.  
 

10   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  


The  audit  report,  for  each  type  of  flexitank  manufactured,  and  at  each  for  each  factory  site,  
should  be  provided  by  the  manufacturer  to  the  COA.  
 
8:  Rail  impact  test  
 
Each  design  of  flexitank  (single  layer,  multi-­‐layer,  material  type,  etc.),  shall  be  rail  impact  tested  in  
accordance  with  the  provisions  of  PAS  1008:2014  Specification  for  the  performance  and  testing  
of  a  single  use  flexitank  (the  standard).  
 
Rail  impact  tests  undertaken  for  the  purpose  of  COA  Code  of  Practice,  shall  be  undertaken  
without  the  use  of  ancillary  equipment  e.g.  side  and  front  end  wall  reinforcing  bars.  
 
A  test  shall  be  undertaken  for  a  flexitank,  of  each  design,  manufactured  at  each  factory  site.  
 
 
8.1  Rail  impact  test  
 
The  test  shall  be  carried  out  in  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  the  standard  and  shall  be  
undertaken  at  a  COA  recommended  test  centre.  
 
Rail  impact  tests,  including  those  tests  previously  completed  in  accordance  with  legacy  versions  
of  the  Code  of  Practice,  remain  valid  for  a  period  of  5  years  from  the  date  of  the  test.  
 
8.2  Rail  impact  test  centre  
 
Rail  impact  tests  shall  only  be  undertaken  at  Test  centres  authorised  by  COA.  
 
COA  web  site  provides  authorised  test  centre  contact  details.  
8.3  Rail  impact  test  report  
 
The  test  centre  shall  provide  a  report  in  accordance  with  the  standard  on  the  test  centre  official  
headed  paper  and  shall  be  signed  and  display  the  test  centre  company  stamp.  
 
The  manufacturer  shall  submit  an  electronic  copy  of  the  report  to  the  COA.  Original  copies  of  the  
report  should  be  made  available  on  request.  
 

8.4  Repeat  rail  impact  test    


In  accordance  with  the  standard,  the  type  test  shall  be  repeated  where  changes  are  made  to  the  
design,  specification  of  materials,  or  manufacture  process  beyond  the  following  permitted  
variations:  
a)   A  decrease  in  the  flexitank  capacity  that  does  not  involve  a  change  in  either  the  material  used  
or  a  reduction  in  the  flexitank  film  layer  thickness  or  material  properties;  
b)   Installation  of  a  top-­‐valve  using  the  same  attachment  method  as  the  loading  and  discharge  
valve  that  has  been  impact  tested;  

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c)   An  increase  in  any  flexitank  film  layer  thickness  that  does  not  involve  a  reduction  in  the  
determined  material  properties;  
d)   For  a  multilayer  flexitank,  the  addition  of  an  extra  flexitank  film  layer  as  the  outermost  layer  
(not  including  the  woven  propylene  sleeve)  that  has  the  same  material  properties  as  an  
existing  flexitank  film  layer.  Nb.  The  addition  of  layers  is  most  likely  to  have  an  impact  on  the  
welding  property.  
e)   For  a  single-­‐layer  flexitank,  the  addition  of  an  outer  structural  sleeve  (e.g.  woven  
polypropylene);  
f)   For  a  single-­‐layer  flexitank,  the  addition  of  a  non-­‐structural  layer  as  an  outermost  layer  
serving  as  a  contaminant  barrier.  
A  repeat  test  is  also  required  if  a  flexitank  system  tested  together  with  ancillary  bracing  is  to  be  
used  in  service  without  ancillary  bracing.  

 
9:  Insurance  
 
All  parties  shall  maintain  an  all  risks  liability  insurance  policy  with  an  A  rated  insurer  and  insurance  
cover  of  not  less  than  US$5  million  for  each  potential  incident.  
 
The  cover  shall  be  international  and  include  all  locations  where  the  flexitank  might  be  used.  
 
The  insurance  shall  provide  all  risks  cover  in  respect  of  any  potential  product  or  public  liability  
arising  from  any  failure  of  the  flexitank  manufacture  and  or  operation  including  risks  attributable  
to  design,  manufacture,  materials,  quality,  installation,  cargo  compatibility,  filling,  discharge,  and  
any  other  event  where  there  might  be  a  liability.    
 
10:  Incident  management  
 
Upon  notification  of  an  incident,  the  carrier,  shipper,  operator,  manufacturer  or  other  contracted  
party  or  emergency  responder,  shall  immediately  take  action  to  safeguard  the  health  and  safety  
of  personnel  and  the  public  and  minimise  any  leakage.  The  emergency  plan  should  be  enacted  as  
appropriate.  
 
As  soon  as  possible  the  incident  shall  be  reported  to  the  cargo  owner  and  all  relevant  parties.  
 
It  might  be  necessary  to  arrange  to  transfer  the  flexitank  system  to  a  safe  location  and  or  trans-­‐
load  the  cargo  to  another  suitable  flexitank  system  or  a  tank  container,  IBC  or  drum(s).  
 
Actions  shall  be  taken  promptly  to  safeguard  safety  and  the  environment  and  to  minimise  cargo  
loss.  
   
Once  the  flexitank  system  is  secured  in  a  safe  place,  any  loss  minimised  and  all  relevant  
permissions  have  been  obtained,  a  detailed  survey  and  report  shall  be  completed  and  the  cause  
of  the  incident  and  associated  factors  concluded.  
 

12   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4  


The  parties  involved  i.e.  carrier  or  shipper  (cargo  owner),  operator,  manufacturer  or  insurer  
should  appoint  a  surveyor  to  complete  and  investigation  and  a  report.  A  joint  survey  might  be  
required.  
 
The  carrier  or  operator  shall  arrange,  as  appropriate,  to  deliver  the  remaining  cargo  to  its  
destination.    
 
The  flexitank  manufacturer  shall  keep  records  of  reported  incidents  involving  their  flexitanks.  
These  records  shall  include:  a)  the  unique  flexitank  serial  number;  b)  capacity  of  the  flexitank;  
c)  date  of  incident;  d)  location  of  incident;  e)  type  of  incident;  f)  quantity  of  cargo  lost;  g)  cargo;  
h)  volume  and  mass  of  cargo  loaded;  i)  restraining  system  and  other  ancillary  equipment;  j)  root  
cause  or  possible  root  causes;  k)  photographs  of  the  incident  including  any  damage  to  the  
flexitank,  restraining  and  ancillary  equipment  and  the  shipping  container.  
 
Shipping  lines  that  are  contributors  to  CINS  (Container  Incident  Notification  Scheme)  should  
report  the  incident.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Contact:  
Container  Owners  Association,  
Suite  3  -­‐  Charter  House,  
26,  Claremont  Road,  
Surbiton  KT6  4QZ.  United  Kingdom  
 
Email:  secretary@containerownersassociation.org    

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Web:  www.containerownersassociation.org    
 
Amendments  
 
Date:   Section   Amendment  
01.03.16   1.3.12  key  points   Unless  otherwise  authorised  by  the  COA,  the  Auditor  shall  accord  with  the  
2.1  ISO9001   appropriate  provisions  of  ISO  17020  Conformity  assessment  -­‐  Requirements  
3.3  Installation  training   for  bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  management  systems  or  ISO  
7.2  Material  test   17021  Requirements  for  bodies  providing  audit  and  certification  of  
management  systems.  
08.03.16   8.2  Rail  impact  test  centre   Rail  impact  tests  shall  only  be  undertaken  at  Test  centres  authorised  by  COA.  
 
COA  web  site  provides  authorised  test  centre  contact  details.  
 
08.03.16   7.2  Audit  of  material  and   ASTM  test  standards  are  available  as  appropriate  to  conduct  the  test.  
  valve  test.    
 
08.03.16   3:  Instructions  and   The  accredited  auditor  should  verify  that  the  operating  instruction  manual,  
  manuals  for  installation,   training  methods  and  training  records  meet  the  provisions  of  this  Code.  
operating  and  training.    
  Deleted  contractually  
 
The  manufacture  shall  develop  a  comprehensive  training  scheme  suitable  
for  all  personnel,  including  personnel  of  the  manufacturer,  operator  and  
shipper  and  others  that  install  flexitank  systems,  
 
Trainers  shall  be  qualified  in  all  matters  relating  to  the  training  and  
installation  of  flexitank  systems.  
 
08.03.16   7.2.1  Audits   Incorporated  in  7.2  
 
08.03.16   3:  Instructions  and   Incorporated  in  3.3  
manuals  for  installation,  
operating  and  training-­‐  
para  3,4  
 
08.03.16   3.3  Audit   Deleted  -­‐  installation  accords  with  the  manual.  
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

14   COA  Code  of  Practice  for  Flexitank  Systems  V4