The Gard P&I Club highlights that taking proper samples of liquid cargoes is vital to protect shipowners’ interests when allegations of cargo contamination arise and provides an overview with feedback from Arendal’s experts.
n particular, Cameron Livingstone, Claims Executive, Arendal and Robert Skaare, Senior Claims Adviser, Arendal highlight that if a cargo is found to be “off-spec” when the vessel arrives at the discharge port, and there is no evidence of contamination from the load port, the vessel could be faced with a potentially large claim even if the vessel is not at fault.
In that regard, the crew should always take their own manifold and final tank samples, irrespective of whether cargo surveyors also take samples.
The most important sample is the ‘manifold’ sample taken before the start of loading. Having your own set of ‘evidence’ is vital.
How and when to take samples
- Cargo samples should preferably be drawn jointly in the presence of a representative of the shipper, receiver, and terminal.
- Sampling equipment, including fixed fittings, e.g. sampling cock on the pipeline, must be thoroughly cleaned before use.
- Manifold and first foot samples should immediately be checked visually for any foreign particles, water and colour. If there is any suspicion that the sample may be off-specification, the terminal should be advised accordingly and loading operations should be stopped for further investigation.
- Sampling at loading, discharge and joint sampling should always be taken by an experienced crew member and/or surveyor.
Sampling at loading
- The most important sample is the ‘manifold’ sample taken at the vessel’s manifold at the start of loading, preferably with the manifold valve in a closed position. Loading should not commence until the manifold sample is approved.
- ‘First-foot’ sample: Taken from the tank when the cargo depth is approximately one foot deep. This is particularly important when loading sensitive and/or expensive cargoes.
- Samples taken from the manifold throughout the loading process, including after scheduled stoppages.
- Final tank samples, after completion of loading. These should be taken from multiple depths (low, middle, top) in case the cargo is not homogenous.
- Ship’s crew should be wary of samples given to them by another party.
- The samples should be listed as ‘joint samples’ only if they were, in fact, taken in the presence of both ship’s crew and cargo surveyors.
- Ship’s crew should always take the same type of samples as the cargo surveyor onboard and retain these samples.
- Ship’s crew should always take their own manifold and final tank samples, whether or not the cargo surveyor also takes these.
Sampling at discharge
- Tank samples should be taken prior to commencement of discharge.
- Manifold samples should be taken at the vessel’s manifold at the start of discharge.
- The crew should take and retain the same samples as the cargo surveyor.