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Interpretation Response #06-0197

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date: 02-08-2007
Company Name: United States Coast Guard    Individual Name: MST2 Danielle Galligan 
Location state: WA    Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Feb 8, 2007


MST2 Danielle Galligan                 Reference No. 06-0197
United States Coast Guard
1519 Alaskan Way South
Seattle, WA 98134

Dear MST2 Galligan:

This is in response to your August 24, 2006 letter requesting clarification on the shipping of Ammonium nitrate under § 176.415(b)(1) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 100-180). Specifically, you ask for clarification on acceptable packaging for shipping "Ammonium nitrate, Division 5.1 (oxidizer) UN 1942" without a permit under§ 176.415(b)(1) by vessel from Puget Sound to Nome, Alaska.

According to your letter, one of your facilities currently transports Ammonium nitrate under the permit requirements specified in § 176.415(a) of the HMR. Your facility is requesting to transport twice the amount authorized for this material under the exception in §176.415(b)(1). This exception allows Ammonium nitrate, Division 5.1 (oxidizer) UN1942 to be loaded or unloaded from a vessel at any waterfront facility without a permit provided it is packaged in a rigid packaging with a non-combustible inside packaging. Your questions are paraphrased and answered below:

Q1. May a freight container be used as a rigid packaging?

Al. The answer is yes. As specified in the § 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (HMT), the authorized packaging for Ammonium nitrate, Division 5.1 (oxidizer) UN1942 can be found under § 173.240 "Bulk packaging for certain low hazard solid materials." Paragraph (c) of § 173.240 specifies that a sift-proof, non DOT specification, closed bulk bin is as an acceptable packaging for this material. As defined in § 171.8, a freight container is a reusable container having a volume of 64 cubic feet or more, designed and constructed to permit being lifted with its contents intact and intended primarily for containment of packages (in unit form) during transportation. Therefore, a sift-proof freight container would satisfy the requirements of a non-DOT specification, closed bulk bin as required under § 173.240(c). Provided it is rigid, a sift-proof freight container is an acceptable packaging for Ammonium nitrate, Division 5.1 (oxidizer) UN 1942 as required under § 176.415(b)(1).

Q2. Is a woven plastic super sack considered "non-combustible"?

A2. The answer is no. While the HMR do not specifically define a Thon-combustible packaging," it is our opinion that if a packaging bums or ignites from a flammable ignition source, it is "combustible." A woven plastic super sack is such a packaging, and therefore does not conform to the provisions specified § 176.415(b)(1). Although a freight container would meet the requirements specified under
176.415(b)(1) which allows Ammonium nitrate, Division 5.1 (oxidizer) UN1942 to be loaded or unloaded from a vessel at any waterfront facility without a permit, a woven plastic super sack is a combustible packaging and would not meet this requirement. Therefore, your shipment must comply with the U.S. Coast Guard permit requirements specified in§ 176.415(a).

I trust this satisfies your inquiry.


John A. Gale
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

172.101, 173.240, 176.415(b)(1)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
§ 176.415 Permit requirements for Division 1.5, ammonium nitrates, and certain ammonium nitrate fertilizers