• Bulk cargo discharge weights usually are determined by draft survey. Companies that own silos and bulk cargoes are discharged through their facilities, insist to rely on shore-scales despite carrying on draft surveys. Thus, when claims for shortages are raised, it is time consuming process through negotiations to mitigate the claim amount or otherwise subsequent arrest of vessels. In that process vessels are delayed and may lose next shipment or delayed for relay port.
  • The poor and old parts of discharging facilities at silos which require rehabilitation are neglected. Consequently incidents of breakdown to swirtals, un-loaders, evacuators and / or bagging machines, etc. may lead to claims.
  • The same applies to bulk cargoes which are discharged by grabs to bagging machines that may have mechanical defects leading to shortage claims in case of reliance on grab scales or shore weigh-bridge, even if draft surveys are conducted.
  • The improper use of wire slings to discharge bagged cargo which may lead to torn bags and cargo leakages leading to shortage claims in case of reliance on grab scales or shore weigh-bridge, even if draft surveys are conducted. While the sound cargo is immediately trucked to final destination or warehouses.
  • Receivers’ surveyors may try to manipulate draft readings and/or soundings to calculate larger shortages than would otherwise be the case. That is why it is essential to appoint PNI surveyors to carry on joint surveys. While appointing a surveyor to protect ship’s interests, is not a guarantee of avoiding a discrepancy, complaint or an arrest.

LOUs issued by the International Group of P and I Clubs are sometimes not acceptable security. While bank guarantees are an alternative, claimants still have to agree. Under the prevailing lapsed judicial system there is still the problem in the time taken in having any LOU/bank guarantee agreed and then issued.

Keeping in view the above, PNI Aden, takes the opportunity to render the following advices/suggestions:

  • All the shipping agents should be requested by the charterers/ operators prior to arrival of the vessels at Aden port, to appoint experts/surveyors to check the discharging facilities / equipments and other discharging operational means, to ensure safe and secured discharging of their cargo. The facilities should be sound enough against any breakdown. This is to avoid any incidental claims.
  • To jointly calibrate shore scales / bagging machines / silo scales before arrival and prior to discharging of the vessel and to obtain certificate for the same from the consignee.
  • To ensure that the stevedore provides safety uniforms and tools for laborers before boarding the vessel so that no injury claims are raised, except in case of document supported claims (medical reports, master’s confirmation, timely reporting by the consignee/stevedore/shipping agent.)
  • The shipping agent to liaise with the master/chief officer/chief engineer of the vessel to carry on the draft surveys, hatch unsealing, any other operation as required.
  • The receivers/or their reps should possess all the shipment docs and should be best present during discharging operations. 

Source: The Swedish P&I Club