The COVID-19 social distancing restrictions continue affecting shipping operations, as now, North Club notes that the removal of spent fumigants from a cargo hold has its risks.
Typically, the removal of spent fumigants from a cargo hold is being conducted at the discharge port and is carried out by a representative of the designated fumigation company. This should ensure that handling of the waste product is done by someone trained to carry out the job correctly and safely.
However, COVID-19 restrictions prohibit the representative’s boarding onboard the vessel to remove the fumigant waste. Instead vessels are being instructed by charterers to call at an intermediate port to remove the fumigant waste product prior to arriving at the discharge port.
Therefore, the Club highlights that early removal of the fumigant can lead to infestation of the cargo, so care must be taken if you are instructed to do this.
Thus, in order to avoid problems, consider the following:
- Check that the minimum fumigation exposure period has been met before removal
- Check that the fumigation instructions from the load port do not require full voyage fumigation
- Make sure you have received written instructions from the charterer
- Contact the Club and arrange for a surveyor to attend the vessel to witness the task and report on their findings
- Make sure that the charterer provides a qualified reputable fumigation company to remove the waste – it should not be carried out by the crew
- The attending fumigation company should measure gas levels in the hold prior to opening hatch covers
- The fumigation company should check the gas levels in the holds prior to entry and throughout entry to confirm a safe atmosphere exists
- Break the hatch cover seals with your surveyor present – taking photographs that identify the hold, the old seal number and the new seal number which is placed upon completion
- Make sure that the hatches are not open for long periods of time, try and keep cargo exposure down to 30 minutes or less to prevent allegations of re-infestation
- Take photographic or video evidence of the entire operation
If you are in any doubt, ask your usual contact at North for assistance.