North Club issued a circular aiming to assist the industry on steel cargoes shipment. The Club recommends that a surveyor is appointed to assist the Master and officers with the receipts and bills of lading.
Specifically, the Club highlights that in order to ensure that the condition of steel cargoes on shipment is properly recorded, and given the importance of ensuring that mate’s receipts and bills of lading are adequately claused to describe that condition, it is recommended that a surveyor is appointed to assist the Master and officers with this.
Also, it is proposed that the appointed surveyor should examine the condition of the ship’s hatch covers, preferably prior to loading and to make any recommendations thought necessary having regard to the condition of the hatch covers.
Where possible, testing should be carried out on hatch covers, preferably by means of ultrasonic testing, before loading and if possible, in the presence of the loading surveyor.
… owners are reminded that the obligation to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy cannot be delegated to a surveyor.
However, they note that any observations or recommendations made by the surveyor must be given full consideration so that the shipowner will be in the best possible position to demonstrate that their obligations have been met in the event of claims being submitted.
In order to ensure seaworthiness, owners’ superintendents and ship’s crews should verify the hatch cover condition by regular examination and maintenance in accordance with manufacturers requirements. Detailed records of examinations, maintenance and testing should be maintained to prove that obligations regarding the exercise of due diligence have been met.