The American P&I Club has updated its advice to members on the handling of steel cargoes. It has done so in consequence of some recent cases where the absence of pre-loading surveys increased the cost of steel cargo claims on discharge.
It first raised the problem in a March 2002 circular, making extensive recommendations so as to minimise the prospect of spurious steel cargo claims. In a new circular, Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc. (the managers) state that since then members have for the most part followed the guidance and made progress in minimising and averting the risks, and consequent liabilities, involved with such cargoes.
The club reminds members that it requires the appointment of an experienced surveyor at the port(s) of loading to conduct a precautionary pre-load survey in order to (1) assist the master in recording the apparent condition of the cargo prior to loading so that, where appropriate, the mate’s receipts and bills of lading can be claused correctly as necessary, and (2) verify that the vessel’s cargo hatch covers and other openings in way of the hold spaces are in sound condition.
The club emphasises strongly that any failure to complete such a pre-load survey will “prejudice the member’s cover for any cargo claims that are asserted against it and its vessel in connection with the subject shipment(s).”
As it has done since 2002, the club will always make a 50% contribution towards the cost of such surveys. However, should a cargo claim arise in connection with the voyage in question, the cost of the survey will be applied towards the claims file cost for that matter, subject to any applicable deductible.