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How to avoid cargo claim onboard chemical tanker

Liquid Cargoes are valuable, tradable commodities. Thus, the ownership of a particular parcel of Chemical cargo may keep changing. Temporary owners seek to protect the interest of their cargo. Hence the chance of a cargo claim against the ship owner is high.

Some claims are discussed as follows -
These are few claims that frequently apply to a chemical tanker. Additionally, certain other claims, such as sea performance, unaccounted delays in port, equipment failure etc. may also arise and the vessel needs to be careful. A prudent Master will identify all areas of claims, for a particular cargo/voyage and take effective steps to protect the ship owner's interest.

The Cargo and carriers obligation under rules

In addition to the obligation to take good care to make the ship seaworthy, the "carriage of goods at sea " Rules also impose an obligation on the carrier to take good care to look after the cargo from the time it is entrusted to him until the itme that it is delivered to the receiver (see Hague Rules, Article III, rule 2). If the cargo, at the time of delivery, is lost or damaged, the carrier will be called upon to explain how the loss or damage occurred.

The period of time during which the carrier must take good care of the cargo can only be determined by looking at many different factors. The relevant contracts (for example, the charter-party and bill of lading) will usually determine the period of time during which the carrier remains responsible for the cargo. However, local laws may override or refuse to recognise contractual provisions which conflict with local regulations or practice.

The obligation on the carrier is to do everything necessary to deliver the cargo to the receiver in as good condition as when it was entrusted to the carrier. The carrier, therefore, must ensure that all cargo handling operations, including the loading, stowing, carrying, and discharging, are done properly and carefully.

Moreover, the carrier must ensure that the cargo is properly cared for and kept so that the condition of the cargo is maintained. The Master should be fully aware of any special attention that the cargo may require. Information and instructions with regard to the treatment of cargo should be sought in writing from the shipper. If the Master has any reservations about his information, he should request the assistance of owners or their local agents who may appoint an independent surveyor, or expert.

The carrier may be held responsible for any problems which arise out of any of the cargo handling operations which he has contracted to undertake or arrange. In addition, the carrier will be held responsible for any cargo handling operation for which, under the local laws, he is primarily responsible, whether or not he has contractually undertake to do these operations. Therefore, it is essential that the Master is aware of the local laws, custom, and practices as well as the provisions in the relevant contracts which relate to cargo handling operations. The owners" local agents or local P&I correspondents should be able to advise him of local laws which dictate that particular cargo operations fall within the carrier"s responsibility.

If a particular cargo handling operation, which is the carrier"s responsibility, is not carried out properly, the carrier will be unable to avoid liability if loss or damage occurs to the cargo even if the Master inserts into the statement of facts an endorsement stating that the carrier is not responsible. Such endorsements may be of evidential value for indemnity proceedings and the Master may note on the statement of facts or in correspondence any irregularities relating to the cargo handling operations.

The standard of care required of the carrier is independent of the usual custom or practice. The carrier"s obligation is to look after the cargo properly and carefully and it will be no defense to a claim for damage to say that the cargo was carried in accordance with usual practice.

In order to avoid liability if cargo is lost or damaged, the carrier will have to demonstrate that his obligation of caring for the cargo has been fully and properly discharged. Therefore, the Master must ensure that all cargo handling operations are accurately recorded and fully documented so that the carrier will be able to bring forward the evidence necessary to defend a claim.

Related info:

Handling self reactive chemicals

Handling of toxic chemical cargoes

Risk with noxious liquid cargo contact

The biggest risk of a chemical cargo spill

Restriction on discharge of cargo residues into sea from chemical tankers

Risk & hazards of chemical contamination onboard

Cargo handling safe practices onboard modern chemical tankers

Reference publications

More info:

Determining Sulphur contamination (sulphides) in chemical cargo

Chloride contamination in chemical cargo - how to resolve?

APHA (Hazen) method for determining color of very light chemical products

Loading, discharging & care of Phenol - Safety guideline

Hazards of Phenol - safe handling of Phenol on chemical tankers.

Handling benzene & methanol safety precautions

Personal protective equipments for carcinogens & cyanide-like cargoes onboard chemical tankers

Handling ACRYLONITRILE safety precautions

handling ISOCYANATES safety precautions

Loading, carrying & discharging of Sulphuric acid - regulatory requirements & special handling methods

Product characteristics & special arrangements for carrying Phenol onboard

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