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Documents for ships carrying dangerous chemicals in bulk

Transportation of chemicals by tankers is usually accompanied by considerable documentation. Documentation can be even greater when trading to and from less developed countries. The vessel’s management is presented with a great deal of documentation from parties to the cargo, authorities, etc. Furthermore vessel’s management must also issues papers serving to record evidence, claims etc.

Following are most needed documents for ships carrying dangerous substances in bulk

Cargo calculation & related documents
Cargo is bought and sold in various units of measurement. These may be Barrels (Bbls) at 60F, Cubic metres (M3) @ 15C, Metric Tonnes in Vacuum, Metric Tonnes in Air and Long tons in Air....
Modern Chemical tanker hellespont credo underway
Fig: Modern Chemical tanker hellespont credo underway

Avoiding cargo claims - Chemical tanker procedure
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 - ..... ....

Notice of readiness (NOR)
A Notice of Readiness (NOR) must always be provided when a vessel arrives at the port of destination. Whether the berth is occupied or not, whether the vessel is alongside or not, on arrival at the port of destination the Master must present the NOR on the appropriate form........

Signing a Bill of lading & related problems
The B/L is presented to the Master by the Shipper or the Agent in the port of loading, usually three originals and one set of copies. The weight of the cargo loaded is determined by ship and shore figures. Usually the shore figures are used on the B/L....

Letters of protest
In order to ensure Owners claims against parties involved or to annul any claims against Owners the following protest are to be issued in the English language under certain conditions:............

The port state control inspection and ships preparation
Port State Control is the process by which a nation exercises authority over foreign ships when those ships are in waters subject to its jurisdiction. The right to do this is derived from both domestic and international law. .......

Statement of facts
On the ‘Statement of facts’ all relevant facts and times concerning loading / discharging are to be recorded. The statement is the basis for laytime counting and has to be signed by the Shipper’s - or Receiver’s representative (usually the Loading Master) the Master and the Agent. A complete signed ‘Statement of facts’ is effective evidence. It is important that the statement contains all conditions and events that have a positive influence on time counting...........

(“Rough”) Port / cargo log The “rough” or working cargo log must be kept by the officers on duty to document the loading and discharging operations. It serves to record data as a basis for the ‘Statement of Facts’ as well as all circumstances and events relevant to any dispute with the parties to the cargo. The rough cargo log is a very important document of proof in case of disagreements between the parties involved. The following entries are the minimum necessary:
  1. Pre-Transfer Meeting held & Checklists completed
  2. Hose connected
  3. Manifold valves opened / closed.
  4. Purging times
  5. Foot sample/line sample
  6. Loading/discharging times
  7. Loading/discharging pressures (every ½ hour)
  8. For heated cargoes; temperatures
  9. Inert Gas Operations / Blanketing times.
  10. Blanketing times
  11. Stoppages + reason
  12. Line blowing Operations
  13. Special circumstances and events
  14. Other relevant information.


Dry tank certificate
When the tanks are empty the surveyor will check the tank in question and issue a ‘Empty tank’ or ‘Dry Tank’ certificate. The issue of this certificate constitutes the commercial and legal termination of the obligations of the vessel to the contractual parties concerned.

Other documents
Depending on the loading and discharge port, the Shipper, surveyor, customs, authorities etc. provide various documents to be conveyed to the Receiver, to the Agent etc. in the port of discharge.
  1. Cargo quality certificate (analysis report)
  2. Cargo quantity certificate
  3. Certificate of origin
  4. Cleanliness report
  5. Heating instructions
  6. Inhibitor certificate
  7. Manifest
  8. Receipt of documents
  9. Ship’s experience factor
  10. Tank history
  11. Ullage report
  12. Sailing permit
  13. Sample receipt
  14. Custom papers

The papers destined for the Receivers are given to the Loading Master or agent in the port of discharge against receipt

Ships experience factor (SEF OR VEF)
Surveyors at a load port must always be given the information to calculate the Ship’s Experience Factor or Vessel Experience Factor.

Reference publications

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