Marine Surveyors at Peril, Unless ...

By George Backwell
Monday, June 09, 2014
File photo

Having an excellent set of Standard Terms and Conditions (Terms) in your desk drawer or on your website, is all very well, but unless you have incorporated them into your dealings with your client, they will not form part of your legal relationship with your client and you will not be able to rely on the terms should a dispute arise.  It is therefore very important that you incorporate your Terms into your dealings, advises intermediaries professional indemnity insurer ITIC.

In the latest issue of its Claim Review, ITIC cites the case of a marine surveyor instructed by the shippers of a cargo of wheat to survey and certify the holds of a bulk carrier as fit for loading. The surveyor issued a certificate of fitness to load, and 70,000 metric tonnes of wheat was loaded.

Following the arrival of the ship at the discharge port, the local authorities ordered the stevedores to stop discharge operations because they suspected that the cargo was heat-damaged. A subsequent survey report, obtained by the shippers, indicated that the cargo was contaminated by de-laminating paint, rust, dirt and paint powder from the ship’s holds.



The shippers negotiated a reduction in price with the receivers as a result of the deterioration of the cargo, and pursued a claim against the shipowners under the terms of the contract of carriage. That dispute was resolved at mediation, but the shippers then brought a separate claim against the surveyor.

They were seeking to recover alleged losses in excess of $1m, including loss of sale proceeds, additional hire paid to the owners, and costs, on the basis that the surveyor had negligently certified the vessel as fit for loading in circumstances when it was not.


ITIC says it appointed lawyers, and expert evidence was sought. That evidence suggested that the damage may have been caused by bobcats used in cargo discharge operations. The surveyor had terms and conditions which – if properly incorporated into its business dealings – would have reduced its liability to a fraction of the shipper’s claim. Unfortunately, the surveyor had not explicitly made the shipper aware of the terms and conditions, so it was unlikely that a court would find that these had been incorporated into the business dealing.



It also became apparent that, after the surveyor had inspected the vessel, customs inspectors had carried out their own inspection and had ordered that the vessel be cleaned prior to loading. This was both helpful and unhelpful for the surveyor: while it was a strong indication that the surveyor had failed to properly carry out its survey, it also arguably meant that it was not the surveyor’s report that the shippers were relying on, but rather customs’ approval to load.



A mediation took place, but the claim could not be settled. Negotiations continued nevertheless, and the matter was resolved with the surveyor contributing to around 30 per cent of the claim, which was covered by ITIC. 


Source: Maritime London/ITIC

Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

ThyssenKrupp Says Submarines Part of Growth Story

Germany's Thyssenkrupp sees its submarine business as making an important contribution to its growth targets, the head of its Industrial Solutions business area said on Tuesday.

Two Newbuilds Delivered to Star Bulk

Star Bulk Carriers Corp. took delivery on February 27 of M/V Honey Badger (ex HN NE 164) and M/V Wolverine (ex HN NE 165), two 61,000 dwt Ultramax bulk carriers

Brazil Truck Strike Diminishes

Some truck drivers in Brazil continued blocking roads on Tuesday, slowing grains deliveries to southern ports, even as adherence to the strike diminished and a

Legal

ICS: EU Must Act in Mediterranean Crisis

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says EU Member States must act urgently to prevent the loss of thousands more lives, as the humanitarian crisis in the

Hike in Service Tax at Indian Ports

The Indian Ministry of Finance has advised an increase in service tax and applicable at all ports. The effective date has not yet been announced. The rate

Wärtsilä BWM Systems for Chemical Tankers

A series of eight new 33,000 DWT chemical tankers, currently under construction in Asia, will feature Wärtsilä Aquarius UV Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS)

Insurance

Mariners Transiting Delaware River Cautioned

The Captain of the Port (COTP) Delaware Bay is notifying mariners that Upper Delaware River lighted buoy 33 (LLNR 3875) and Upper Delaware River lighted buoy

Top Five Most Costly Insurance Claims

The TT Club has alerted the supply chain industry to a persistence of claims in a handful of loss types. The international transport, freight and logistics insurance

BWMC's Entry Into Force Imminent

Jacqueline Tan, Senior Claims Executive at the UK P&I Club, commented on the ballast water management controls coming into force:  “The coming into force of the

Surveyors

Ice Coverage on Great Lakes 89 pct: NOAA

Ice coverage on the Great Lakes is nearing 90 percent, reveals high resolution satellites images from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).   The entire Great Lakes is at 88.

ClassNK Updates Guidelines for Floating Offshore Facilities

ClassNK released a new version of its Guidelines for Floating Offshore Facilities for LNG/LPG Production, Storage, Offloading and Regasification.   Available on the ClassNK website,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2168 sec (5 req/sec)