Vessels waiting berth have remained at anchorage for periods ranging from weeks to months. In the most extreme cases, more than three months of wait time has been reported.
Prolonged storage of cargo in a ship's holds created by these delays increases the risk of cargo damage or loss.
For this reason, Venepandi published a circular outlining precautionary measures for all vessels and crews, focusing on vessels loaded with food shipments such as wheat, corn, soybeans, sugar and rice:
- Monitor the cargo temperature at all times, if possible it would be useful to collect the temperatures from multiple points in each hold by using a calibrated digital temperature probe.
- It may be important to record the appearance of all cargo throughout loading to ensure the accurate record whether or not any damage is discovered, also it is important take photographs throughout discharge to produce a comprehensive photographic record of the cargo condition prior and during loading and prior, during and after discharge.
- Each hold should be constantly and carefully inspected, the cargo must be inspected closely for any evidence of deterioration, mould growth, drip lines from condensation, insect infestations and any discoloration or malodours.
- If possible and necessary, the surveyors appointed should record any sampling that takes place, every sample should be double-bagged, clearly labelled and sealed with a numbered seal.
- In case the cargo has insects, the agents should request to the port and sanitary authorities to inspect the cargo and allow to carry out the fumigation meanwhile the vessel is on the anchored area, if there is not possible, it's advised to berth the ship at the OCAMAR port, because the authorities there allow to conduct fumigations on the pier.
- If is evidenced or suspect that the cargo has any sing of deterioration or infestation, or any damage is found during discharge, the crew should contact their P&I club immediately.