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Incorrect cargo declaration at loading in Ukrainian port leads to the ship’s delay and to disputes between Shipowners and Charterers/ Shippers

 The attention of members involved in the carriage of steel cargoes from Ukrainian ports and Mariupol in particular, should be drawn to threat of claims for breach of the terms of the charterparty as to the quantity of cargo taken at loading port. Within the last three month in Mariupol five ships were detained in the similar situation.

 The cause for such accusation is an inability for the ship to take full cargo for carriage in accordance with the terms of charterparty.

Before loading the Master is provided with Cargo Declaration and Shipping Order where the cargo intended for loading is shown both in number of units and in the gross weight of the whole consignment. The figure of gross weight corresponds with the figure described in the charterparty.

During loading it often appears that in accordance with the draft readings conducted by the crew the ship is taken full cargo but actually some cargo units are still on the pier. This problem becomes more sharp in case of part cargo to be loaded afterwards or at the ports with draft restriction like Mariupol where in accordance with the Port Regulation PSC (Port State Control) permits departure of a ship with maximum draft not more than 8,0 mt. In such a situation the further loading will come to the overdraft but the refusal to load the remaining cargo will lead to a dispute with the Charterers/Shippers. As established here practice shows both of those scenarios resulted in the detention of the ship.

The scope of this problem is in the wrong declaration of the weight of cargo made by the Shippers.

But to prove it for a ship becomes difficult and reference to draft readings made by the crew it appears to be a weak argument in dispute with Charterers/Shippers since it is easily countered by their reference to a mistake made by crew when ascertained either reading draft or density of the water or establishing the deductibles.

As shown the practice at Mariupol port the draft survey performed by an independent surveyor prior to and after loading can protect a Shipowner from allegation of Charterers in respect of the breach of C/P.

 We recommend for Ships calling Ukrainian port for loading steel cargoes to follow good practice to conduct draft survey by means of independent surveyor in order to verify the weight of cargo as provided by the shore and to obtain solid arguments to counter any allegation in respect of breach of the terms of the Charter.

 11, November 2004