Harry Corkerry, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) Port Manager at Tilbury, UK, delivers a master class in handling a detained ship - a situation encountered by most agents at some point.
ISS Thames explains that it recently received a request to provide shipping agency services to a vessel that had been placed under detention by UK Port State Control. The detention order was placed on the vessel on account of an extensive list of deficiencies that had been identified.
It is important to note that whenever conducting business of this kind, and with companies the agency has no inside knowledge of, it is essential to bear in mind the financial risks involved.
A decision was made by Guy Lear, UK General Manager, to accept this agency appointment. It was agreed that the vessel would be moved inside a dock secured by lock gates to ensure she had no way of departing of her own accord, and additionally that the principal had agreed to full pre-payment terms prior to vessel’s departure and any suppliers would not be paid until ISS had received the required funds.
Once the vessel was in position, where she remained for some weeks, the costs against the operation began to rise dramatically, as expected. In the space of three weeks ISS's initial proforma disbursement account had gone from £20,000 to around £123,000.
In summary, say ISS, these types of operations can be extremely costly and as port agents it is very important to control costs and make adequate arrangements with the principal to ensure funding is in place as without this, the agency's exposure can quickly get out of control.
The vessel has since sailed and the disbursement account has been settled. Whilst handling detained vessels comes with its risks, if managed properly these can be very profitable engagements