Maritime Threats and Incidents

Gray Page Logo

11 December, Malaysia, Sulu Sea, Fishing vessel crew missing, believed kidnapped

Background Info

Abu Sayyaf, a Philippines-based terrorist group claiming allegiance to so-called Islamic State, has been linked to reports of a crew being seized from a fishing vessel in the Sulu Sea.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) said three crewmen were kidnapped shortly after midnight on December 5.

It said about 20 armed attackers believed to be members of Abu Sayyaf had boarded the fishing vessel from speedboats.

According to ReCAAP the incident happened 12 nautical miles (nm) off Malaysia’s Sabah state on the island of Borneo.

Reports in Malaysian media confirmed that a deserted fishing boat had been found in the area with its engine running.

Malaysian officials said they were trying to verify what had happened. They only became aware there was a problem after the ship’s owner said he had lost contact with the crew.

Assessment and Analysis

ReCAAP warned in October that intelligence suggested Abu Sayyaf was planning new attacks on shipping.

The group has a record of kidnapping crews for ransom, often targeting tugs, barges and fishing boats.

The latest reported abduction took place in the same area a tug came under fire from attackers in a speedboat.

That attack was also reported to have taken place on December 5.

Vessels should try to avoid the Sulu and Celebes seas. If that is not possible they should maintain strict anti-piracy watches and monitor the approach of any small craft.

Date updated : 11/12/2018 Date added : 11/12/2018

10 December, Malaysia, Sulu Sea, Tug boarded by armed attackers

Background Info

A tug has come under fire in the southern Sulu Sea, 12 nautical miles (nm) off Malaysia’s Sabah state on the island of Borneo.

The shots were fired from a speedboat believed to be carrying four individuals. One of the shots struck the tug master, wounding him in the leg.

A distress signal was sent and the Royal Malaysian Police responded by sending a patrol boat.

The tug was identified in Malaysian news reports as the 363 gross tonne (gt) MAGTRANS II.

A senior Malaysian police official was quoted as saying the attackers fired on the tug twice before boarding the vessel.

Most of the tug’s 13 crew members retreated inside the boat but one of the crew fired ten shots from a flare gun, causing the attackers to flee.

The incident took place after dark on December 5 while the tug was towing an unladen barge.

 

Assessment and Analysis

Vessels operating off eastern Sabah and in the Sulu and Celebes seas should maintain strict anti-piracy watches.

In September 2018 armed attackers kidnapped two crew members from a fishing vessel close to the Malaysian port of Semporna in the Celebes Sea.

At the end of October there was a warning from the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) that attacks against shipping by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group might be imminent in waters off Sabah state.

Abu Sayyaf, a Philippines-based group claiming allegiance to so-called Islamic State, has a record of kidnapping crews for ransom, often targeting tugs, barges and fishing boats.

Vessels should try to avoid the Sulu and Celebes seas but if that is not possible they should monitor the approach of any small craft be ready to report any suspicious activities to the authorities.

Date updated : 10/12/2018 Date added : 10/12/2018

05 December, Nigeria, Vessel under attack southwest of Bonny Island

Background Info

A vessel has reportedly come under attack in the Gulf of Guinea, some 90 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Bonny Island.

The incident took place shortly after sunset on December 4.

Details were given to the piracy reporting body Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG).

It was later reported that the crew and vessel were safe and that the ship had been able to proceed to port.

The name of the vessel and the vessel type were withheld.

Assessment and Analysis

All waters off Nigeria and the wider Gulf of Guinea should be seen as dangerous.

There have now been at least six attack on vessels off Bonny Island since mid-September.

Attacks typically involved armed assailants coming alongside and climbing aboard using ladders, ropes and hooks.

Vessels in the area should exercise extreme caution and keep strict watches, especially at night.

Date updated : 05/12/2018 Date added : 05/12/2018

04 December, Venezulea, Product tanker boarded by thieves

Background Info

Intruders were spotted aboard a product tanker in the Puerto La Cruz Anchorage in the early hours of December 1.

Details posted by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said two people were seen attempting to open the ship’s forward store.

The crew raised the alarm and the intruders fled empty handed.

The incident was reported to the authorities.

 

Assessment and Analysis

Robbers have been targeting ships at anchor in Venezuela, particularly at Puerto La Cruz and Puerto Jose.

The number of incidents has been rising as the country struggles with civil unrest and a deteriorating economy.

The IMB Piracy Reporting centre has detailed at least ten incidents in the first ten months of 2018. In some cases the robbers have been armed.

Meanwhile, routine loading operations and port management, including security services, are under strain.

Ships calling at Venezuela’s ports and oil terminals should be prepared for delays and a heightened level of risk from intruders intent on theft.

Date updated : 04/12/2018 Date added : 04/12/2018

04 December, Ukraine / Russia, Russia accused of partial blockade of Kerch Strait

Background Info

Ukraine’s government claims its ports in the Azov Sea are at risk of blockade by Russian forces.

The port of Mariupol was still working vessels on December 1 but activity was expected to wind-down if more ships found themselves denied passage through the Kerch Strait.

The Strait, which separates the Azov Sea from the Black Sea, was the scene of a confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels on November 25. Three Ukrainian vessels and their crews were seized.

Since then there have been reports of Russia refusing to allow ships heading to and from the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk to move through the strait.

A Ukrainian government minister, writing on Facebook on November 29, said 18 Ukraine-bound vessels were waiting to enter Azov Sea and that 17 other vessels were waiting to leave.

A Russian government official responded by denying there was a blockade. He said maritime traffic was moving normally and any delays that did occur were normally due to weather.

Shipping movement data showed that at least one bulk carrier heading to Mariupol had been able to transit the Kerch Strait on December 3.

 

Assessment and Analysis

There has been tension between Ukraine and Russia over access to the Azov Sea since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Those tensions have been heightened by Russia’s construction of bridge across the Kerch Strait. The bridge links Crimea with Russian territory to the east but also limits the size of vessels that can pass through.

Even before the confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels of November 25 Russia had been accused of delaying ships heading to Mariupol, Berdyansk and other Ukrainian ports. More than 200 vessels have been subject to ‘stop and search’ operations since the bridge was opened in March.

Turkish-flagged vessels in particularly have been targeted but Romanian and Bulgarian and other EU-flagged ships have also faced long and costly delays.

At the beginning of December 2018 the three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews were still in Russian hands.

Ukraine’s government said it feared further military action by Russia.

Ship operators planning to call in Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea should be aware that their passage could be blocked or delayed and that there was a risk of naval clashes.

Date updated : 04/12/2018 Date added : 03/12/2018

13 November, Nigeria, Gunmen fire on LNG tanker

Background Info

An LNG tanker has been fired on while underway some 30 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Nigeria’s Bonny Island.

The tanker, the LNG RIVER NIGER, came under attack an hour after sunrise on November 6.

It was pursued by nine pirates firing from a speed boat. The tanker, however, was able to increase speed and execute evasive manoeuvres.

After several approaches the speed boat aborted the attack.

There were no injuries on board the LNG tanker and it was able to proceed to Bonny Port accompanied by a security vessel.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the fourth attack on a merchant ship off Bonny Island in less than two months.

On October 27 the container ship POMERANIA SKY was attacked 50 nautical miles (nm) offshore. Pirates boarded the vessel and kidnapped 11 crew members.

A month before, on September 25, a vessel was approached by a speed boat with seven people on board.

Shots were fired in the direction of the vessel before the attack was broken off. The incident took place 120 nautical miles nm southwest of Bonny.

Three days earlier pirates had boarded a bulk carrier 45 nm southwest of Bonny and abducted 12 of the ship’s crew.

Figures compiled by International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre show an increase in the number of attacks, hijacks and kidnapping in waters off Nigeria.

The Centre recorded 41 incidents in the period January to September 2018 compared to just 20 in the whole of 2017.

The IMB’s figures are unlikely to tell the whole story as many attacks are believed to go unreported.

All waters in and off Nigeria and the wider Gulf of Guinea should be seen as dangerous. Vessels in offshore and inshore waters are at risk.

Attacks typically involve armed assailants coming alongside and climbing aboard using ladders, ropes and hooks.

Vessels in the area should exercise extreme caution and keep strict watches, especially at night.

They are also advised to take ‘hardening’ measures and to carefully monitor the approach of unknown craft.

Date updated : 13/11/2018 Date added : 13/11/2018

07 November, Indonesia/Singapore Strait, Armed robbers board bulker

Background Info

Five robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier underway in the South China Sea.

The 60,984 deadweight tonne (dwt) TN SUNRISE was around 11 nautical miles (nm) east of Pulau Merapas off Indonesia’s Bintan Island when it was boarded before dawn on November 5.

The robbers threatened the bulker’s Master, stole some of his personal property and took money from the ship’s safe before making their escape.

The Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) was activated and the attack was reported to the local authorities.

Assessment and Analysis

The attack took place some 35 nautical miles east-southeast of the the Singapore Strait.

At least four vessels were the targets of boardings or attempted boardings while underway in the Strait in the first six months of 2018.

In its half-yearly 2018 report the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) called the Strait an ‘area of concern’.

And in 2017 there were reports of vessels being boarded while at anchor or underway off Indonesia’s Bintan Island at the Strait’s eastern end.

Perpetrators have sometimes been armed with knives and machetes. They have generally stolen crew member’s belongings, cash and engine spares.

Ships should remain vigilant when sailing in the Singapore Strait and southern waters of the South China Sea, especially when close to the coast.

An alarm should be raised if small vessels make a suspicious approach.

Date updated : 07/11/2018 Date added : 07/11/2018

05 November, Bab-el-Mandeb, Small craft making suspicious approaches

Background Info

A merchant vessel has reported a suspicious approach by two skiffs while sailing the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait between Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula.

Details published by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which coordinates shipping in the area, said the skiffs were spotted around 0845 local time on November 3.

“The two skiffs approached to within eight cables at which point an AST (armed security team) fired a warning flare, both skiffs then passed astern.

“One of the skiffs then began a second approach. A further warning flare was fired and that skiff also turned away.” The UKMTO said the skiffs had around four of five people on board.

UKMTO has also carried details of another suspicious approach in the Strait, this time by three small boats on November 1 at around 0900 local time.

They approached within a few hundred metres of a merchant vessel before pulling back

Assessment and Analysis

The southern Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden remain a high risk area and vessels should exercise caution.

Ships should register with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) and use the Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) policed by the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Threats to shipping come from piracy and from violence associated with the unresolved war in Yemen.

The situation is fluid and can change rapidly. Ship operators should carry out risk assessments for each voyage using the latest threat information.

Date updated : 05/11/2018 Date added : 05/11/2018

31 October, Congo, Seafarers abducted, vessel hijacked and LPG tanker under fire

Background Info

Pirates operating off the coast of West Africa have hijacked a product tanker and abducted over 20 seafarers in two separate but apparently related incidents.

The first attack was against an offshore tug/supply ship, the 2,319 deadweight tonne (dwt) ARK TZE.

According to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre, the vessel was boarded by armed pirates at 0330 UTC on October 29 some 68 nautical miles west of Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo.

The pirates forced the crew to lie on deck while they ransacked their personal possessions and ship’s property. They are also reported to have taken four of the crew hostage.

A second attack, at 1210 UTC on the same day, saw pirates – operating from a speedboat – hijack the 9,500 dwt product tanker ANUKET AMBER 101 nm off Pointe Noire.

The tanker’s crew, believed to number 17, were seized along with their ship. Unconfirmed reports say the four seafarers taken from the tug were transferred to the hijacked product tanker.

At the time of the second attack the ANUKET AMBER had been bunkering the 54,446 LPG tanker BW FRIGG. Reports say the LPG tanker came under fire.

The bunkering operation was immediately broken off and the LPG carrier was able to reach safe waters.

The tug ARK TZE is also reported to be safe, its remaining crew having returned the vessel to port. One of the crew is said to have been injured.

Assessment and Analysis

There has been a spike in pirate activity off the West African coast.

On September 22 pirates boarded a bulk carrier 45 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Bonny Island in the Gulf of Guinea and seized 12 seafarers.

And two days before the latest attacks the container ship POMERANIA SKY was boarded 50 nm off the Nigerian coast and 11 crew members were abducted.

There have also been reports in recent weeks of armed intruders boarding vessels in the Pointe Noire anchorage in the Republic of the Congo.

Waters in the Gulf of Guinea and now further south along the West African coast should be seen as dangerous.

Vessels in the area should exercise extreme caution and keep strict watches and monitor the approach of any suspicious craft.

Whenever possible vessels should be ‘hardened’ against boarding and should be ready to take evasive action if under attack.

Date updated : 31/10/2018 Date added : 31/10/2018

30 October, Nigeria, Pirates board container ship and seize crew

Background Info

Pirates have boarded a container ship off the coast of Nigeria and abducted 11 crew members.

The pirates attacked the 2,546 TEU capacity POMERANIAN SKY before dawn on October 27, some 50 nautical miles (nm) offshore.

The ship, which is on charter to Maersk, was bound for the Nigerian port of Onne, close to Port Harcourt and Bonny Island.

Nine crew members remain on board and are reported to be unharmed.

The ship’s managers, Midocean (IOM) Ltd, say the vessel has been able to proceed to safe waters.

The Nigerian Navy, meanwhile has begun an investigation and search and rescue operations are underway.

The kidnapped crew members are from Poland, Ukraine and the Philippines.

According to Polish media reports the pirates boarded the container ship from two motorboats.

 

Assessment and Analysis

This is the second crew abduction in waters off Nigeria in a little over a month.

On September 22 pirates boarded a bulk carrier 45 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Bonny Island and seized 12 seafarers. The hostages have since been released.

Three days after that attack a merchant vessel came under fire from a speedboat 120 nm off Bonny Island. The speed boat broke-off the attack after a local security vessel closed in.

In April, 12 crew members were kidnapped from a general cargo vessel as it prepared to enter Port Harcourt and in February four crew members were kidnapped in an attack on a refrigerated cargo ship (reefer) of Bonny Island.

In the meantime there continue to be reports of intruders boarding, or attempting to board, vessels in Lagos ports and anchorages.

Attacks on shipping off Nigeria and in the wider Gulf of Guinea are continuing with concerning regularity.

All waters in and off Nigeria and the wider Gulf of Guinea should be seen as dangerous. Vessels in offshore and inshore waters are at risk.

Attacks typically involve armed assailants coming alongside in small boats and climbing aboard using ladders, ropes and hooks.

Vessels in the area should exercise extreme caution and keep strict watches, especially at night.

They are also advised to take ‘hardening’ measures and to carefully monitor the approach of unknown craft.

When under attack, evasive action and the use of citadels have sometimes proved to be effective as countermeasures.

Date updated : 30/10/2018 Date added : 30/10/2018

Americas

Argentina

Argentina - Risk: Customs fines in Argentina relating to the misdeclaration of ship's stores

ARGENTINA - Risk: Customs fines in Argentina relating to the misdeclaration of ship's stores

Heavy fines have been imposed on vessels relating to the misdeclaration of items such as lube oils, bunkers, chemicals, spare parts, grabs and other items in the stores list. In some cases, items such as lube oils or chemicals have been duplicated in the stores list, such that when quantities are checked by customs, fines are imposed for the apparent shortage. These shortages do not exist in reality, but are difficult to prove in retrospect.

Additionally, local correspondents in the port of San Nicolas report that some ships are required to declare the lube oil in the sump of the main engine, and if they do not, an infringement is declared. When the lube oil has not been declared, the authorities might order the vessel to discharge it within 48 hours and placed it in storage in an authorised depot for the account of the vessel. If it is not discharged then the owners are required to submit a cash guarantee for twice the market value of the lube oil, which local customs consider to be at a price from $7 to $10 per litre when in reality the price would be approximately $1.50 to $2.

Assessment and Analysis

Masters should take care when declaring items and quantities, and should also consider declaring the quantity of oil in the ship’s sump tanks, especially when calling at the port of San Nicolas.

Date updated : 20/03/2018 Date added : 01/10/2014

Argentina

Argentina - Risk: Customs fines for short landing fertilizer cargoes in Argentina

ARGENTINA - Risk: Customs fines for short landing fertilizer cargoes in Argentina

We have been advised by a local P&I correspondent that vessels calling into Argentinian ports have become increasingly vulnerable to potentially significant fertilizer cargo shortage claims that require a club Letter of Undertaking (LoU) to be submitted to avoid ship arrest.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers may wish to consider taking the following steps to reduce the potential for such claims arising:

1. Conduct accurate joint draught surveys at the load port
2. If any appreciable difference noted at the load port, suitable protest to be submitted
3. Seal all the hatches at the load port
4. Ensure seals are still intact at the discharge port
5. Conduct accurate joint draught surveys at the discharge port
6. To ensure that no trucks are “lost” during the discharge operation, conduct a truck tally at the ship’s side and weigh bridge and obtain a copy of the calibration certificate

Shipowners and ship managers should contact local ships agent and/or P&I correspondents for further information such as shore scale calibration certificates.

Date updated : 20/03/2018 Date added : 01/05/2015

Argentina

Argentina - Risk: Grounding in the Parana River, Argentina

ARGENTINA - Risk: Grounding in the Parana River, Argentina

P&I correspondents report vessels can go aground in the area of Isla Del Diablo and Isla Del Medio, between km 286 and km 290, where ships are required to make two sharp alterations of course in the leg known as ‘Paso Abajo Los Ratones’. The prevailing current in this area is approximately 2.5kts downstream, but this may vary depending on the available depth of water.

It is suspected that vessels navigating within the channel were influenced by the speed and direction of current, resulting in their loss of control and subsequent grounding.

In an effort to reduce the risk of vessel groundings, on 26 September 2016, the Argentine Coastguard implemented a new regulation that requires a minimum of 0.60m Under Keel Clearance (UKC) for vessels with a draft over 10.36m.

There are additional safety requirements for some river sections detailed under Disposición SNAV, NA9 Nº 27/16, which can be found here: SNAV NA9, TRAMO I, TRAMA II.

Assessment and Analysis

Correspondents recommend that a suitable passage plan should be discussed with the pilot prior to commencement of the river passage. This will enable the Master to become familiar with the crucial stages of the river passage and ensure that the pilot is fully familiar with the ship’s manoeuvring characteristics.

The Master should also monitor the electronic charts used by river pilots and ensure the ship maintains the minimum required UKC at all times.

Date updated : 14/03/2018 Date added : 05/06/2015

Brazil

Brazil - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Trombetas, Brazil may be prone to liquefaction

BRAZIL - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Trombetas, Brazil may be prone to liquefaction

P&I correspondents have reported a number of cases where Bauxite loaded at Trombetas may be prone to liquefaction. Additionally there are no surveyors available locally.

Mineraçao Rio Norte (MRN), are the owners and shippers at the port of Trombetas, have only recently authorized independent surveyors to enter the port to perform surveys. Shippers MRN own the town and port and if the appointed surveyor does not have their prior authorization to enter, he will not even be allowed to leave the airport.

A survey typically requires two surveyors to attend as the automatic sampling tower on the ship-loader is some distance from the vessel and one surveyor must attend on the sampling tower to inspect the condition of the cargo at the stockyard, whereas the second surveyor attends on board to inspect the cargo being loaded and to assist the Master and issue daily reports.

It is usually not possible to enter the cargo holds in order to sample the cargo as the loading operation is rapid, it creates a great deal of dust, and the hold access ladders become very slippery.

Shippers MRN normally state that the maximum MC of the bauxite loaded is 10%, with FML of 12% and TML of 11%.

Masters have in the past complained about visibly wet cargo being loaded expressing concern about the potential risk of liquefaction during the loaded voyage.

Bauxite is listed as a Group C cargo in the IMSBC Code – i.e. one that neither liquefies (Group A) nor possesses chemical hazards (Group B). Bauxite is classified in the IMSBC Code as a cargo containing moisture content between 0% and 10% and should be 70% to 90% of lumps 2.5mm to 500mm and 10-30% in powder form. Hence, Bauxite cargoes falling outside this description may not be classified as Group C cargo.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers should ensure that the shipper’s cargo declaration complies with the requirements and schedule set out in the IMSBC Code.

The loading operation should be monitored throughout and can tests should carried out in accordance with the IMSBC Code.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has taken action to inform of the possible dangers of liquefaction associated with the carriage of bauxite and warns ship Masters not to accept bauxite for carriage unless:

  • the moisture limit for the specific cargo is certified as less than the indicative moisture limit of 10% and the particle size distribution as is detailed in the individual schedule for bauxite in the IMSBC Code; or
  • the cargo is declared as Group A (cargoes that may liquefy) and the shipper declares the transportable moisture limit (TML) and moisture content; or
  • the cargo has been assessed as not presenting Group A properties.

A copy of the IMO circular entitled Carriage of Bauxite that may liquefy (CCC.1Circ.2) can be found here.

Other sources on liquefaction include North’s: Loss Prevention Briefing on bulk cargo liquefaction, loss prevention “Hot-Spots” and “Cargo Wise” poster.

 

Date updated : 19/11/2018 Date added : 20/01/2015

Canada

Canada - Risk: Ice navigation in Canadian waters during the winter months

CANADA - Risk: Ice navigation in Canadian waters during the winter months

Canadian territorial waters and fishing zones are governed by several pieces of legislation, created to enhance safety and to protect life, health, property and the marine environment. It is the responsibility of ship owners and ship managers to ensure that they comply with all applicable acts and regulations; particularly in respect of navigation in Canada’s territorial waters during the winter months.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers should closely discuss with the relevant bodies, and follow, all Class, Flag, and regional requirements in order to ensure compliance for the full voyage.

Transport Canada has issued mandatory winter navigation notice requirements. These guidelines contain a marine safety checklist and measures to be taken by ships operating in Canada’s territorial waters during the winter months.

Local P&I correspondents in Canada can provide ship owners and ship managers with a list of approved Ice Advisors. These advisors have specialist local knowledge and provide both navigational and operational assistance to ships operating in their area during the winter months.

If performing a voyage through the Gulf of St Lawrence and its tributaries (West of Les Escoumins), consideration should be given to the International Navigational Limits from 1 December to 30 April, as there may be insurance and charterparty implications.

To obtain up to date information on Ice Bulletins and Ice Warnings, ship owners and ship managers should refer to the Environment Canada website.

A 30 day Ice Outlook is available from Environment Canada (from December to May), these describe ice development and identify areas and time periods in which conditions are expected to be more or less favorable than normal. They are issued on the third business day following the 1st and 15th of each month.

The St Lawrence Seaway is closed during the winter season from the end of December and re-opens for navigation in March. Ship owners and ship managers should refer to the Seaway Handbook and the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway website.

Date updated : 02/03/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

Caribbean

Caribbean - Risk: commercial vessels being used to traffic and smuggle contraband in the Caribbean Basin, particularly to and from the Port of Spain, Trinidad, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Jamaica

CARIBBEAN - Risk: commercial vessels being used to traffic and smuggle contraband in the Caribbean Basin, particularly to and from the Port of Spain, Trinidad, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Jamaica

Commercial vessels operating in this region are consistently used as narcotics trafficking mechanisms. The main threat is to vessels departing, rather than arriving at port.

Due to its location halfway between South America and the United States, the Caribbean Basin is a prime transhipment location(particularly Port of Spain, Trinidad; Freeport Container Port, the Bahamas; Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Multimodal Caucedo Port and Port of Haina, Dominican Republic; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Port of Kingston, Jamaica).Traffickers utilize a variety of vessels ranging from speedboats to merchant ships in order to move product northwards.

Assessment and Analysis

Drug traffickers often hide illicit drugs amongst legitimate cargoes without the knowledge of the shipowner, captain or crew.

In other cases, receptacles filled with illegal narcotics are clandestinely attached to the hull of a departing vessel or hidden in rudder trunks and collected by waiting traffickers at the ship’s destination port or at stops en route. Vessel’s found be to transporting narcotics are subject to stiff fines, vessel seizures and major delays.

Recommended preventative measures include:

-Using bright lighting in and around the vessel while at anchor or alongside
-Stationing roving patrols
-Strictly controlling access to the vessel
-Hoisting boarding ladders high above the water when not in use
-Maintaining a continuous gangway watch
-Monitoring padlocks and seals on unmanned areas
-Increasing surveillance during mooring, cargo loading procedures and prior to departure
-Strictly adhering to local security procedures.
Merchant vessels should be on heightened security alert during calls into ports preceding arrival in South Florida, particularly those in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

In the U.S., fines are set at a level to reflect the ‘street value’ of the illicit drug found aboard, which on a case-to-case basis may end up costing a significant amount for the shipowner and their underwriter. As an example, in two recent cases in which ships calling at U.S. ports were found to be unwittingly transporting illegal drugs, the fines were set at USD 10.7 million for about 270 kilos (600 pounds) of cocaine and USD 4.5 million for about 130
kilos (280 pounds) of cocaine. Notwithstanding customs regulations, fines in the U.S. can be mitigated if the incident occurred without wilful negligence; without the ships’ interests and intentions to violate the laws of the U.S.; or when otherwise warranted.

Date updated : 08/05/2018 Date added : 02/10/2014

Colombia

Colombia - Risk: Possible delays caused by the Colombian Navy carrying out routine anti-drug trafficking searches in Colombia's ports

COLOMBIA - Risk: Possible delays caused by the Colombian Navy carrying out routine anti-drug trafficking searches in Colombia's ports (Puerto Bolivar, Puerto Neuvo and Puerto Drummond)

Due to the risk of drug trafficking, the Colombian navy carries out routine searches and underwater inspections on vessels at no cost to shipowners. These anti-drug trafficking searches mainly take place at Puerto Bolivar and Puerto Drummond, whereas in Puerto Nuevo they are not as common. It is not compulsory for vessels to undertake such inspections, although some shipowners and ship managers choose to cooperate for peace of mind.

Assessment and Analysis

P&I correspondents advise that shipowners and ship managers may wish to consider taking extra preventive measures such as the following:

  • Prior to sailing, an underwater inspection could be carried out by an independent diving company in the presence of P&I correspondents, to confirm that nothing is attached to the vessel below her waterline.
  • Even when the navy carries out the underwater inspection, many shipowners chose to appoint an independent surveyor/observer to ensure that the correct procedure is employed.
  • Although the aforementioned ports comply with ISPS standards, it is advisable to provide extra private security on board. Crew/watchmen should be present in all areas where stevedores or repair technicians are working. During hours of darkness all areas should be well lit in order to monitor activities both on board and on the quay, and any suspicious movements should be immediately reported to the Master. Attention should focus on any small craft approaching the ship from seaward. The use of the ship’s searchlights during the hours of darkness should be considered.
  • The crew should perform regular shipboard inspections throughout the duration of the port call. In the event that broken/missing security seals are discovered an investigation should be conducted and if the area is found to be clear, the seals should be replaced by the crew. A record should be maintained in the ships logbook together with a note of the outcome of any investigation/search and the relevant seal numbers.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) annual report provides a general overview on the developing situation in Colombia and further information and live updates by visiting the UNODC website here.

Date updated : 03/05/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic - Risk: Fines for unauthorised transit through marine reserve areas, Dominican Republic

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Risk: Fines for unauthorised transit through marine reserve areas

A local P&I correspondent has issued a reminder that commercial navigation through marine reserve areas, including the Navidad and Silver Banks, is prohibited by Dominican Republican (DR) law.

Vessels using the areas without authorisation may face significant fines.

To view a map issued by the Dominican Republic Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA), please see the following link.

Assessment and Analysis

A local correspondent recommends that all vessels should give these areas a wide berth.

As the areas are within DR territorial waters, MARENA and the DR Navy must be notified well in advance and their express permission / instructions received regarding navigation before scheduling any transit.

The region in question is under the constant aerial and maritime surveillance by the US Coast Guard patrol vessels and aircraft. It is therefore recommended that masters also seek guidance from the USCG Seventh District Command in Miami, USA. Full details can be found here.

Date updated : 20/03/2017 Date added : 24/07/2015

Ecuador

Ecuador - Risk: Drug trafficking, theft and piracy at the Ecuadorian port of Guayaquil and Puerto Bolivar

ECUADOR - Risk: Drug trafficking, theft and piracy at the Ecuadorian port of Guayaquil and Puerto Bolivar

A local P&I correspondent has advised that criminality within this region has shifted from acts of theft/piracy to maritime drug trafficking. The Ecuadorian authorities have recognised this and have implemented certain preventative measures such as placing armed security guards aboard inbound vessels from the pilot station to the outbound drop-off position. The authorities also carryout mandatory pre-departure underwater drug inspections.

Reported incidents of armed robbery/piracy have declined. The IMB has not reported any attacks since January 2017, although the threat to security remains high throughout the region.

Armed robbery within the port of Guayaquil and Puerto Bolivar areas has historically occurred both at anchorage and while underway. Attacks were usually very brief and generally occur at night. Attackers generally wield small arms (pistols or knives).

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers may wish to consider taking the following steps to protect their vessel against maritime drug trafficking and criminality:

Gangway security should be maintained at all times, in strict accordance with the vessel’s ISPS Code procedures. The actions taken by local authorities, stevedores and other shore-based personnel should also be recorded at regular intervals. Crew members should have a permanent presence wherever stevedores or other officials are operating on board the ship.

Access to the vessel should be restricted and the surrounding area carefully monitored whilst in port.  All parties boarding the vessel should have their credentials scrutinized and individuals who have no legitimate reason for being on-board should be denied entry.  Accurate records of all activities observed both on board and ashore should be maintained throughout the vessel’s stay in port.

Access to reefer containers should be carefully monitored and if possible, accessible refer machinery compartments often found at the rear and sides of the reefer unit should be inspected once landed aboard.

All access into the ship’s accommodation, stores and machinery spaces should be restricted and where safe to do so, secured against unauthorised entry.

During the hours of darkness, the ship and quay should be permanently lit by the ship’s flood lights and any suspicious movements be immediately reported to the master. A careful watch of the offshore side of the vessel should be maintained and the presence of any boats approaching the ship should be immediately reported to the master.  The ship’s searchlights may assist in this respect.

Crew departing on shore leave should be aware of being approached by drug traffickers and the dangers to them, their fellow crew members and their families back at home should they become involved in trafficking.

Drugs use and trafficking warning notices should be displayed at prominent locations throughout the vessel, particularly at the gangway and in crew’s communal areas.

The crew should perform regular shipboard inspections and a record of these maintained in the ship’s logbook. Broken security seals should be investigated and findings recorded in the ship’s log book.

Once cargo operations are completed, the crew should perform a full search of the vessel for any illegal substances, suspect packages or stowaways.  This might also include an independently appointed dive survey of the area below the water line when and where appropriate.

Once the vessel has sailed and the outbound pilot/security team has disembarked, a thorough search of all compartments should be conducted and the results recorded in the logbook.

If drugs are discovered on board, the master should immediately activate the vessel’s Emergency Contingency Plan and/or the Ship’s Security Plan. The master should then notify the relevant local authorities and ensure:

  • The drugs should not be handled or moved.
  • The area where the drugs have been discovered should be photographed then sealed to prevent any further access.
  • Inform your P&I Club, the local P&I Correspondent, the ship’s owner and technical manager.
  • Record the actions taken in the ship’s log book.

Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals on Ships Engaged in International Maritime Traffic can be read here.

Further information and live updates on the situation globally can be found by visiting the UNODC website.

A visit to our Current Maritime Incidents may provide you with information on any current alerts.

North Members should contact the Club should they require further information.

Date updated : 20/03/2018 Date added : 02/10/2014

Guatemala

Guatemala - Risk: Nickel ore can liquefy due to excessive moisture content

GUATEMALA - Risk: Nickel ore can liquefy due to excessive moisture content

Vessels carrying nickel ore cargoes originating from Guatemala (for example, San Tomas Castilla) can potentially liquefy in the vessels cargo holds during the voyage, when the moisture content of the cargo exceeds its Transportable Moisture Limit (TML). The cargo is loaded with truck buckets at a rate of 700-900 MT per hour.

Nickel ore cargoes (which are Group A) can sometimes liquefy, leading to vessel stability problems, and potential capsize.

Assessment and Analysis

It is advised that owners and charterers ensure that the shipper’s declaration complies with the requirements of the IMSBC Code. Loading should be monitored throughout. Can tests should be carried out in accordance with the IMSBC Code.

For further general information regarding the carriage of nickel ore please click here.

For a copy of North’s Loss Prevention on Bulk Cargo Liquefaction please click here.

North’s Circular setting out mandatory notification obligations for the carriage of nickel ore by Members may be accessed here.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 26/11/2018 Date added : 01/10/2014

Mexico

Mexico - Risk: Delays, ship arrest and problems loading iron ore cargo in Mexican ports

MEXICO - Risk: Delays, ship arrest and problems loading iron ore cargo in Mexican ports

P&I correspondents have reported complications with iron ore exports from Mexico since late April 2014. Serious problems have been experienced by four vessels calling in Manzanillo, Mexico, all of them engaged in the export of shipments of iron ore.

Recently the shipments on board two vessels were confiscated by the Customs authorities after they had been loaded on board.

In both cases the authorities argued that the properties of the iron ore shipments did not correspond to those from the mine declared in the Customs export application. This action by the authorities prevented the vessels from sailing and the authorities required the cargo to be discharged before allowing the vessel to sail.

The authorities report that they attended on board both vessels and took samples of the cargoes already loaded. These samples were then sent to a lab for analysis, checking its characteristics and composition against that of the Customs Export Application Economy Secretariat form obtained by the exporters and the shippers. In both cases, this comparison confirmed that the cargo did not originate from the mine declared in the cargo documentation.

The Finance and Public Credit Secretariat then issued a temporary seizure order for the iron ore and the navy secured the vessel and crew. In line with customs law, the authority initiated an administrative trial (named PAMA) to confiscate the cargo, which subsequently cannot be exported until the trial is resolved. With no predictable date of commencement of the legal process, both vessels faced potentially lengthy delays.

Local news (BBC Latin America & Caribbean) reports that the authorities were tipped off by an anonymous phone call after one ship departed Lazaro Cardenas. In both cases, they reported that the detention of these ships is part of a large scale action by the administration against organized crime cartels involved in money laundering. Mexico has seized more than 200,000 tonnes of illegal iron ore in recent months, most of it on its way to China.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should ask for the following documents to be made available prior to the beginning of cargo operations and/or fixing the charter party agreement:

  • The relevant “Export Permit” issued by the Mexican Ministry of Economy, which must be in force.
  • Confirm that shipper/exporter are registered in the “Sectorial Exports Census”, if not, they are not permitted to export iron ore
  • Request the name of the mine from which the iron ore was extracted and confirm it is registered on the following website: www.siam.economia.gob.mx
  • Owners and ship managers can search for the name of the shipper and/or company in the mining sector directory established by the Mexican Government on the following website: www.desi.economia.gob.mx

Additionally, to protect owners/ship managers interests, you should ask local ship agents for the following documentation:

  • Ministry of Economy export permit
  • Sectorial Export Census register number
  • The name of the company that sold the iron ore to the shippers (in the event that shippers are not the original sellers) and cross check using the above links

Date updated : 20/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Mexico

Mexico - Risk: Drug cartel activity and acts of violence in and around Mexican port cities

MEXICO - Risk: Drug cartel activity and acts of violence in and around Mexican port cities

Though the vast majority of drugs pass overland, the ports, particularly in the north of the country, remain key to smuggling operations. Far more drugs can enter the US in one maritime shipment than in several hidden compartments in trucks overland.

Shipping is also the most efficient method of transporting drugs to Western Europe. A favoured tactic of “Los Zetas” cartel, which controls the entire East coast, is to approach workers heading north into the US and offer them money to “mule” drugs across the border. Those who refuse are killed, often brutally, as a message to others.

Violence in the port cities of Mexico is extremely high as various cartels fight for overall control. In the east, the Zetas retain control of the major ports, but are in constant combat against their rivals, the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels, who cannot afford to allow the feared and hated Zetas uncontested control of such crucial assets.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should instruct their vessels to maintain high security levels during their stay in ports in northern Mexico and should consider disallowing all shore leave and crew changes where it can be avoided.

Date updated : 20/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Mexico

Mexico - Risk: Shipper's surveyor forcing Masters to accept non-clausable mate's receipts at Veracruz, Mexico

MEXICO - Risk: Shipper's surveyor forcing Masters to accept pre-prepared non-clausable mate's receipts at Veracruz, Mexico

P&I correspondents have advised problems following pre-shipment surveys of steel products (wire rod in coils, rebar in coils and bundles, and protected steel coils), at the port of Veracruz.

It has been reported that the shipper’s appointed surveyors attempt to pressure the ship’s Master into accepting pre-prepared mate’s receipts. The mate’s receipts that are presented have already been claused by the shipper’s surveyor, although they do not accurately reflect the actual condition of the cargo and state “the Master is not permitted to enter any other remark”. A reluctance to comply with the surveyor’s request is met with threats that the vessel will be held responsible for any delay caused by the Master’s lack of co-operation.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should note that:

The Master is entitled to and should reject the shipper’s completed mate’s receipts if they do not accurately reflect the apparent order and condition of the cargo.

The Master should call for the assistance of a local P&I surveyor, if one is not already in attendance, and notify his port agent and P&I correspondent.

Shipowners should immediately advise the charterers if this situation arises and should notify them that hire continues to run on charterers’ account should a dispute over proper clausing of the mate’s receipts/bills of lading arise.

It is important that mate’s receipts accurately record the condition of the cargo loaded as they form the basis of the description of cargo appearing in the bills of lading when they are issued. If bills of lading are issued with the knowledge of the Master or a carrier which do not accurately reflect the apparent order and condition of the goods, ship owners are exposing themselves to considerable potential claims. This could lead to the loss of their Hague/Hague Visby/Hamburg Rules defences and may prejudice their P&I cover.

Date updated : 20/03/2017 Date added : 20/05/2015

Peru

Peru - Risk: Unexpected charges for sludge removal services at ports in Peru

PERU - Risk: Unexpected charges for sludge removal services at ports in Peru

There are reports of a sludge removal company operating in and around Peru who are allegedly contacting Masters directly offering their services free of charge.

Following the removal of sludge, the owners of a vessel which had engaged these services were approached directly with demands for payment accompanied with threats of legal action.

On completion of removing the sludge we understand the company approaches ship owners directly and makes demands for payment accompanied with threats of legal action.

Assessment and Analysis

Masters of vessels calling at ports in Peru should exercise caution in agreeing to such services and contact local agents for advice.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 03/04/2018 Date added : 05/06/2015

Peru

Peru - Risk: Thieves boarding vessels at anchor in Callao, Peru

PERU - Risk: of robberies from ships in Callao

There has been a fall in the number of robberies and attempted robberies in the port of Callao, Peru.

Just one incident was recorded in the first three months of 2018. It involved four robbers armed with knives boarding a bulk carrier while it was at anchor. The incident happened shortly before dawn on March 15. The alarmed was raised and the crew mustered. The robbers escaped with stolen ship’s stores. There were no reports of any injuries.

Assessment and Analysis

Callao spent much of 2016 under a government declared state of emergency.

The port city was grappling with a surge in violence linked to the illegal trade in narcotics.

The crackdown on drug-related crime coincided with a spike in robberies and attempted robberies from ships.

In all, eleven incidents were reported.

But in 2017 the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) saw the number of robberies fall. There were just two recorded in the whole year.

The first, in February, saw four robbers clamber on board an anchored bulk carrier. They briefly held a crew member hostage while they stole ship’s stores.

The second robbery was in November when thieves boarded a container ship while it was waiting to bunker.

Once again, the intruders made off with ship’s stores.

While robberies and attempted robberies are no longer at 2016 levels, the threat from crimes related to the illegal narcotics trade remains a concern.

Peruvian police said in March 2018 that they had seized 1,500 kilos of cocaine that were to have been smuggled out of Callao in a shipping container bound for Europe.

Ships’ crews should remain vigilant while their vessels are in the Callao anchorages, not just at night and during bunkering operations.

The Harbor Master’s Office says laden ships and vessels not following security measures are the most vulnerable.

It also warns that vessels can be approached from the stern as they reduce speed in preparation for dropping anchor.

Recommendations from the Office include:

– All Ships at anchorage should keep good watch on deck (with special attention to forecastle and poop decks) in order to detect any approach from small boats.

– Adequate lighting should be arranged on deck and around ship’s hull (cargo lights) from sunset onwards.

– Mooring ropes should be secured or kept inside lockers if not in use.

– Continuous use of a search light should be deployed whilst at anchor.

– Pilot ladder and accommodation ladder should be hoisted at all times when not in use.

– Vessels should contact TRAMAR Callao (or “Costera Callao”) every 30/40 minutes to confirm their vessels name and confirm it is keeping good watch (thieves usually monitor coastal radio exchanges).

– Vessels should call to “Costera Callao” or “TRAMAR Callao” if they there is a suspicious approach by any small boat. The call will result in a port patrol ship being deployed.

Date updated : 03/04/2018 Date added : 03/04/2018

South America

South America - Risk: Drug Trafficking throughout South America

South America - Risk: Drug Trafficking throughout South America

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) annual report for 2016 indicates that South America is an important hub for maritime drug trafficking.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managersmay wish to consider taking the following precautions to protect their vessel against trafficking:

Crew departing on shore leave should be aware of approach by drug traffickers and the dangers to them, their fellow crew members and their families back at home should they become involved in trafficking.

Drugs use and trafficking warning notices should be displayed at prominent locations throughout the vessel, particularly at the gangway and in crew’s communal areas.

Gangway security should be maintained at all times, in strict accordance with the vessel’s ISPS Code procedures. The actions taken by local authorities, stevedores and other shore-based personnel should also be recorded at regular intervals. Crew members should have a permanent presence wherever stevedores or other officials are operating on board the ship.

Access to the vessel should be restricted and the surrounding area carefully monitored whilst in port. All parties boarding the vessel should have their credentials scrutinized and individuals who have no legitimate reason for being on-board should be denied entry. Accurate records of all activities observed both on board and ashore should be maintained throughout the vessel’s stay in port.

During the hours of darkness, the ship and quay should be permanently lit by the ship’s flood lights and any suspicious movements be immediately reported to the master. A careful watch of the offshore side of the vessel should be maintained and the presence of any boats approaching the ship should be immediately reported to the master. The ship’s searchlights may assist in this respect.

The crew should perform regular shipboard inspections and a record of these maintained in the ship’s logbook. Broken security seals should be investigated and findings recorded in the ship’s log book. Once cargo operations are completed, the crew should perform a full search of the vessel for any illegal substances, suspect packages or stowaways. This might also include a dive survey of the area below the water line.

Once the vessel has sailed and the outbound pilot has disembarked, a thorough search of all compartments should be conducted and the results recorded in the logbook.

If drugs are discovered on board, the master should immediately activate the vessel’s Emergency Contingency Plan and/or the Ship’s Security Plan. The master should then notify the relevant local authorities, noting the following actions:

* The drugs should not be handled or moved.
* The area where the drugs have been discovered should be photographed then sealed to prevent any further access.
* Inform your P&I Club, the local P&I Correspondent, the ship’s owner and technical manager.
* Record the actions taken in the ship’s log book.

Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals on Ships Engaged in International Maritime Traffic can be read here.

Further information and live updates on the situation globally can be found by visiting the UNODC wesite here

Date updated : 27/02/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Uruguay

Uruguay - Risk: Fines and delays for non-compliance with Uruguayan Oil Spill Response Organisation (OSRO) contract requirements

URUGUAY - Risk: Fines and delays for non-compliance with Uruguayan Oil Spill Response Organisation (OSRO) contract requirements

In September 2014 the Uruguayan Coast Guard issued DISMAR notices 149 and 150 concerning the mandatory requirement for vessels to appoint an Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO) and obtain a certification from an approved/registered company.

On 4 May 2015, Disposición Marítima N° 157 (the “Regulation”) took effect in Uruguay with the aim of establishing a set of rules governing the requirement for owners to contract with an Oil Spill Response Company (OSRO) approved by the Uruguayan Coast Guard, amongst other requirements.

The OSRO requirement is for any of the following vessels to sign with either OSRO at least 24 hours before entering a Uruguayan port or an anchorage in Uruguayan waters.

The Regulation applies to the following types of vessels and floating structures:

a) Tankers, barges, small craft, fishing vessels or other marine equipment operating, transferring or transporting hydrocarbons or derivatives, hazardous or noxious substances or liquid minerals, or engaged in refloating operations for vessels or marine equipment.

b) Any of the above vessels requesting authorisation to anchor in waters under Uruguayan jurisdiction for a period greater than 24 hours whilst waiting for orders or to enter Uruguayan ports, terminals, berths, etc.

c) Vessels considered deficient by the Maritime Authority in accordance with Law 17.121 relating to assistance and salvage services provided to vessels posing a danger to navigation or the environment.

d) Vessels supplying offshore platforms, fixed or mobile installations for exploration and exploitation of living and non-living resources in the Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone or Continental Shelf.

Assessment and Analysis

The International Group has issued a circular to all Members and this can be accessed here.
For further information, members should contact their appointed port agents and/or P&I correspondent.

Date updated : 13/03/2017 Date added : 20/05/2015

USA

USA - Risk: merchant vessels subject to fines and severe delays due to illegal contraband carriage, particularly from the port of Miami and Port Everglades

USA - Risk: merchant vessels subject to fines and severe delays due to illegal contraband carriage, particularly from the port of Miami and Port Everglades

The importation of illegal drugs into south Florida is a constant threat. The extensive shoreline of the Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys, combined with two major seaports and a close proximity to the Caribbean Basin make south Florida a prime target for maritime smuggling operations.

There exists an elevated risk to commercial vessels (particularly container ships) discharging at these ports of being fined for unknowingly transporting illicit narcotics and/or other contraband clandestinely smuggled aboard by traffickers.

Assessment and Analysis

Merchant vessels should be on heightened security alert during calls into ports preceding arrival in South Florida, particularly those in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

In the U.S., fines are set at a level to reflect the ‘street value’ of the illicit drug found aboard, which may end up proving very costly to the shipowner and their underwriter. As an example, in two recent cases in which ships calling at U.S. ports were found to be unwittingly transporting illegal drugs, the fines were set at USD 10.7 million for about 270 kilos (600 pounds) of cocaine and USD 4.5 million for about 130 kilos (280 pounds) of cocaine. Notwithstanding customs regulations, fines in the U.S. can be mitigated if the incident occurred without willful negligence, without the ships’ interests and intentions to violate the laws of the U.S., or when otherwise warranted.

Date updated : 24/09/2015 Date added : 02/10/2014

USA

USA - Risk: US Environmental Protection Agency fines for noncompliance with MARPOL Annex VI low sulphur content fuels

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Risk: US Environmental Protection Agency fines for noncompliance with MARPOL Annex VI low sulphur content fuels.

It has been reported that US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, accompanied by the US Coast Guard (USCG), have boarded vessels on the west coast of the US to check compliance with MARPOL Annex VI.
Once on board, the EPA obtains fuel samples, to analyse at their own laboratory to ensure the fuel is compliant with the sulphur content requirements of the North American Emission Control Area (NA ECA). As of 1 January 2015, the permissible sulphur content is 0.1%.
The EPA and USCG are reported to be increasing efforts to ensure that vessels are compliant with MARPOL Annex VI rules and intend to continue its fly-over programme to areas that fall under the US ECA.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that fuel oil changeover procedures are in place, and that all crew are well trained and proficient in expediting it. It is advised that records, logs and fuel sampling are to be carried out as appropriate.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Coastguard (USCG) have issued an equivalent set of guidelines on the reporting requirements of non-compliant fuels:
It is therefore advisable to expedite best efforts to source compliant fuels before entering an ECA.
•In event that compliant fuel is not available, accurate records should be kept and detailed summary of all attempts to procure compliant FO should be maintained.
•If compliant FO is not available, the ship should file a Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (FONAR) to the EPA 96 hours before entering the ECA.
•The ship should then procure compliant FO at the next available port of call within the ECA.
•Even if compliant fuel has been obtained, all ships records relating to its use and compliance with the ECA regulations must be accurately maintained. This will include but is not limited to, Copy of Flag Administration Notification, voyage/passage plan (including whether any attempts were made to locate other sources of compliant FO), FO Change Over Procedures (in English), Bunker Delivery Notes (displaying the sulphur content), bunker specification reports, Oil Record Book entries, fuel oil samples, invoices, the name and addresses of suppliers.
Correspondence with the bunker suppliers including all relevant documentation should be held in a dedicated low sulphur FO file.
Full details of the USCG/EPA guidelines can be viewed via the following link: here.
The EPA's Enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI - Memorandum of Understanding: (MOU) can be read here.

Date updated : 13/01/2015 Date added : 13/01/2015

USA

USA - Risk: Fines for non-compliance with MARPOL Annex VI within the US Emission Control Area

USA - Risk: Fines for non-compliance with MARPOL Annex VI within the US Emission Control Area

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin relating to the new Emission Control Area (ECA) sulphur cap which commenced 1 January 2015.
The bulletin is a reminder that in accordance with MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14, the sulphur content of fuel oil used by all ships operating in ECAs, including the North American and United States Caribbean Sea ECAs, cannot exceed 0.10% (1,000 ppm).
The USCG has also issued a Marine Safety Alert 2/15 which reinforces the importance of establishing effective fuel oil change-over procedures that comply with MARPOL Annex VI emission regulations.  The USCG has reported incidents involving substantial machinery space fuel oil leakages while vessels were switching between fuels.  Such leakages have in some cases resulted in pollution, injury/death of crew and have been associated with loss of propulsion.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and Ship Managers with ships operating within the North American ECA are reminded to use compliant fuel within 200 nautical miles of the North American coast and within approximately 50 nautical miles of the United States Caribbean Sea coast.
The full text of the USCG Bulletin entitled “New Emission Control Area (ECA) Sulfur Cap” can be read here.
Shipowners and ship managers are also reminded of the importance of implementing effective fuel change over procedures and for crews to be well versed in carrying them out.
The full text of the USCG Marine Safety Alert 2/15 entitled “Ultra Low Sulfur Fuel Oil & Compliance with MARPOL Requirements” Before entering and while operating within Emission Control Areas can be read here.
North’s Industry News thread on Marpol Annex VI is a useful source of information and provides a detailed summary of the background to MARPOL Annex VI implementation and it requirements.  North Industry News can be read here.

Date updated : 25/03/2015 Date added : 25/03/2015

USA And Canada

USA And Canada - Risk: Delays due to the discovery of Asian Gypsy Moth in Canada and the USA

NORTH AMERICA - Risk: Delays due to the discovery of Asian Gypsy Moth in Canada and the USA

The United States and Canada have issued a bulletin advising of reports of high population levels of Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) in countries regulated for AGM. These countries include Russia Far East, Northern China, Korea and Japan.
AGM has recently been detected, in some instances in high numbers, on vessels arriving in North America. These detections have led to delayed entry into ports in the United States and Canada and could result in refusal of entry.

The purpose of the bulletin is to remind vessel operators of the precautions that can be taken to avoid any potential delays. A copy of the bulletin can be read here.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers are reminded that vessels must arrive at North American ports with the required pre-departure certification and free of AGM. In order to ensure that the vessel is confirmed free of AGM and that there is not sufficient time for the vessel to be re-infested, inspections should be conducted as close as possible to the time of departure from a regulated area.

In order to avoid potential delays it is also recommended that further inspections and disposal of any egg masses or other AGM life stages be conducted by the ship’s crew prior to arrival at a North American port.
North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on Asian Gypsy Moth may be read here.

Date updated : 25/10/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Venezuela

Venezuela - Risk: Misdeclared metallic iron content of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) cargoes at San Felix, Venezuela

VENEZUELA - Risk: Misdeclared metallic iron content of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) cargoes at San Felix, Venezuela

P&I correspondents have advised that Ferrominera CVG have resumed manufacture of iron ore pellets, which are vital for the production of briquettes in the country. P&I correspondents in Venezuela recommend caution when considering shipment of such cargoes as previous experience has shown these cargoes may contain significant metallic iron. Metallic iron is the main reactive component of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) cargoes.

Assessment and Analysis

In order to accurately determine the nature of the cargo being presented for loading it is critical that the ship is provided with a cargo declaration meeting the requirements of the IMSBC Code and detailed information on its chemical composition.
Click here for our Loss Prevention Briefing – Carriage of DRI

Date updated : 26/11/2018 Date added : 19/01/2015

Venezuela

Venezuela - Risk: Self heating petroleum coke at Amuay Terminal, Venezuela

VENEZUELA - Risk: Self heating petroleum coke at Amuay Terminal, Venezuela

There have been a number of instances where petroleum coke loaded at Amuay Terminal, Venezuela, has been seen to self-heat and combust during the loading operation. The coke stock piles are open to the elements at Amuay refinery and hot spots and smoke can often be seen emitting from the cargo.

Cargoes loaded onto bulk carriers have the potential to self-ignite and generate high temperatures, potentially causing damage to the ship’s coating and equipment such as cables and hydraulic lines in adjacent spaces.

Assessment and Analysis

Local P&I correspondents recommend the appointment of surveyors to assess the condition of the cargo at the stockpiles prior to the commencement of loading. It is also advisable to carefully monitor the temperature of the cargo throughout the loading operation. The cargo should be loaded into cargo spaces where there are no heat sources in adjacent compartments such as bunker tanks.

Upon completion of loading each cargo hold, the hatch covers should be immediately closed and sealed and the atmosphere tested at regular intervals.

Vessels must arrive with all cargo holds and hatch covers, clean, dry, ready to load, free of any previous cargo residue, loose rust and/or paint scale.

The cargo should be loaded, carried and discharged in accordance with the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) and applicable MSDS sheet.

General port information including advance notification requirements can be found here

Date updated : 26/11/2018 Date added : 24/03/2015

Venezuela

Venezuela - Risk: Delays due to hull cleaning in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

VENEZUELA - Risk: Delays due to hull cleaning in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

P&I correspondents have advised that minor operational leaks from offshore oil platforms and sub-sea pipelines have resulted in oil accumulating in the region’s ports and within Lake Maracaibo. This pollution may be deposited on visiting ship’s hulls, which then require cleaning by specialist teams. This issue is reportedly becoming increasingly frequent, stretching the resources of the local cleaning teams and resulting in lengthy delays.

In the past, the cost and logistics of such cleaning has been covered by the state owned Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), but only where a vessel calls at one of their controlled ports. PDVSA does not accept liability for oil staining or hull cleaning at other commercial ports.

Hull cleaning is not permitted within Lake Maracaibo and should only be undertaken at Guaranao Port and Punto Fijo port anchorages.

Assessment and Analysis

Upon discovery of hull fouling, Masters of ships calling at commercial ports not controlled by PDVSA should promptly notify local port agents to make arrangements for cleaning.

Owners of ships calling at ports in the region should consider discussing this issue with charterers and establish alternative arrangements for possible hull cleaning services, well in advance of the vessel’s arrival.

Date updated : 26/11/2018 Date added : 23/11/2015

Venezuela

Venezuela - Risk: Drug trafficking at Puerto Cabello, Lake Maracaibo and Orinoco River ports

Risk: Drug trafficking at Puerto Cabello, Lake Maracaibo and Orinoco River ports

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) annual report for 2016 indicates that South America is still an important hub for maritime drug trafficking.

Instances of drug trafficking at Puerto Cabello, Lake Maracaibo and the Orinoco River ports continues to be a cause of concern and the political instability throughout Venezuela adds a further dimension to criminality in the region.

Assessment and Analysis

A local P&I correspondent has produced general advice on the practical steps that can be taken to avoid vessels being targeted by drug traffickers.  Such precautionary measures might differ from port to port as local regulations and permissions are not consistently applied across all ports in Venezuela.

The suggested precautionary measures include:

  • Prior to the vessel’s arrival, discuss with local ship’s agent about employing additional private security services to control access to the terminal gate*
  • Establish ship/shore communications at the earliest opportunity
  • Additional private security services to control access to the vessel*
  • Security officers placed both on board and ashore providing a 24 hour custodian services*
  • Independently appointed underwater inspections carried out upon arrival and departure from all Venezuelan ports
  • Strictly monitor the movement of personnel, including the ship’s crew, and regular checks for people attending on board from ashore
  • Immediate notification of all suspect and actual events to the port authorities (Harbor Master and Anti-Drugs unit of the National Guard)

*The above applies only to Venezuela’s general public/commercial ports, this is the handled by Bolivariana de Puertos (BOLIPUERTOS), refineries operated by Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) – an oil state owned company, Oficina Coordinadora de Apoyo Marítimo de la Armada (OCAMAR) – a navy facility and also the Vopak Tank Terminal do not allow private security companies to provide services in their facilities.

The Venezuelan Maritime Authority (INEA) has ruled that underwater inspections are now mandatory before departure of the vessels sailing to international waters, this rule entered into force recently for all ports and inspections are carried out by companies under direct appointment by the harbour master.

For more detailed information on steps Shipowners and ship managers may take to protect their vessel against maritime drug trafficking, please refer to Risk – Drug trafficking throughout South America.

North Members should contact the Club should they require further information.

Date updated : 26/11/2018 Date added : 24/05/2017

Venezuela

Venezuela - Risk: Tankers face delays amid deteriorating port security

VENEZUELA - Risk: Economic and social turmoil contribute to deteriorating port security.

Tankers arriving in Venezuela have been facing delays as the country’s economic crisis continues.

At one point in June 2018 more than 80 tankers were anchored off the coast waiting to load.

Economic and social turmoil have also contributed to deteriorating security in ports and anchorages.

Ships have been targeted by robbers, particularly in waters close to Barcelona. There have been reports of distress calls to shore-side authorities going unanswered.

In other developments poor maintenance and rusting pipelines at Venezuela’s oil terminals have seen a rise in oil leaks and tankers have reported problems with hull-staining. Some vessels have needed to clean their hulls before proceeding to ports that ban oil-stained ships.

Ships needing repairs have also faced delays due to problems ordering spare parts.

In the wider region there are concerns about piracy. Oceans Beyond Piracy recorded 71 incidents in in Latin America in 2017, more than double the number the year before.

The majority of attacks were in the southern Caribbean with a cluster of incidents off the Venezuelan coast close to the ports of Puerto La Cruz and Barcelona.

The most violent attacks were against fishing vessels and their crews.

Assessment and Analysis

Given the problems Venezuela faces, ships calling call at the country’s ports and oil terminals should be prepared for delays and a heightened level of risk.

The social, economic and political crisis has seen Venezuela’s oil output, the mainstay of its economy, fall to 1940s levels.

The government has used violence to suppress unrest and there have been reports of shortages of food and medicines.

In 2017 the country defaulted on part of its national debt and inflation in 2018 is expected to reach 1 million percent.

Against that background routine loadings and port management have come under strain.

Cases of intruders boarding vessels for the purposes of theft have been on the rise.

Piracy attacks have also been on the rise and although Venezuelan-based pirates have generally targeted fishing vessels and smuggling operations a long-term economic collapse could see piracy spread to other categories of shipping.

Ships operating in Venezuela should maintain strict watches at berth and at anchor and should expect disruption to port services.

Date updated : 11/09/2018 Date added : 11/09/2018

Venezuela

Venezuela - Risk: Robbers targeting ships at anchor in Venezuela's ports

VENEZUELA - Risk: Robbery on the rise in Venezuela's ports

Attacks on ships in Venezuela’s ports have been increasing as the country struggles with civil unrest and a deteriorating economy.

Robbers have been targeting ships at anchor, particularly at Puerto La Cruz and Puerto Jose. There are also concerns for the safety of crew when ashore.

In October alone there were at least two attacks in Puerto Jose.

In the first, five robbers armed with knives boarded a tanker by climbing its anchor chain.  Once on deck they threatened a crew member before escaping with some unsecured items.

Five days later armed assailants disguised as members of Venezuela’s National Guard made their way onto a bulk carrier claiming they were searching for illegal drugs. They menaced the crew before escaping with cash and personal belongings.

Earlier that month a chemical tanker visiting Puerto La Cruz had been detained and its crew questioned after cocaine was found attached to its hull beneath the waterline.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre, meanwhile, said robbers had targeted at least eight ships in Puerto La Cruz and Puerto Jose in the first nine months of 2018. In half the cases the attackers were armed.

In a reflection of the worsening security situation there have been reports of ships’ distress calls to shore-side authorities going unanswered.

Tankers arriving in Venezuela have been facing delays due to poor maintenance and rusting pipelines at the country’s oil terminals.

Oil leaks at the terminals have become a growing problem. Some tankers have needed to clean their hulls before proceeding to ports that ban oil-stained ships.

Assessment and Analysis

Ships calling call at Venezuela’s ports and oil terminals should be prepared for delays and a heightened level of risk.

The country’s social, economic and political crisis has seen Venezuela’s oil output, the mainstay of its economy, fall to 1940s levels.

In 2017 the country defaulted on part of its national debt and inflation is expected to reach 1 million percent before the end of 2018.

Given the country’s problems, routine loadings and port management, including security services, are under strain.

Ships operating in Venezuela should maintain strict watches at berth and at anchor and should expect disruption to port services.

Piracy attacks in the region have also been on the rise although Venezuelan-based pirates have generally confined themselves to targeting inshore fishing vessels.

Date updated : 26/11/2018 Date added : 26/11/2018

Europe

Bulgaria

Bulgaria - Risk: P&I claims arising from grain cargo contamination loaded at Varna, Bulgaria

BULGARIA - Risk: P&I claims arising from grain cargo contamination loaded at Varna, Bulgaria

P&I claims have arisen where grain cargoes loaded at the port of Varna have been found to be contaminated with debris (stones, plastic, building material etc), although this was only discovered at the discharge port.
Grain cargoes are primarily loaded in the Port of Varna East which is capable of receiving vessels up to 50,000 GT.
Typically the cargo is carried to Varna East in grain waggons and kept in warehouse No 6. The cargo is then delivered to the ship’s side within open trucks and loaded into the ship’s cargo holds with shore grabs.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should instruct their masters to be vigilant in their assessment and inspection of the quay prior to the commencement of loading. Taking photographs is a useful form of contemporaneous evidence. As far as is practicable the cargo should be monitored for the presence of foreign matter.
If the surface of the quay or the cargo is contaminated with foreign matter and/or remnants of previous cargos, the master should immediately issue letters of protest to all appropriate parties.

Date updated : 30/01/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

Mediterranean

Mediterranean - Risk: Implications of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean

LIBYA & SYRIA - Risk: Implications of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean

Situated close to southern Europe, Libya and Syria are common departure points for migrants feeling war-torn regions in order to seek asylum in the EU. According to media reports, approximately 350,000 migrants have made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea in the last year, fleeing instability in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

It is generally agreed that there are two major migrant trafficking routes in the Mediterranean: 1) Libya to Southern Europe (Italian Islands, Sicily and Malta) and 2) Syria, via Turkey, to Greece and its various islands.

Organised criminal groups exploit the situation in order to make large sums of money in return for trafficking migrants across these stretches of water. Unconfirmed sources report that each migrant pays in the region of USD $3,000 – $5,000 for a place on inflatable dinghies, some of which carry as many as 100 people at a time (though they are designed for 50-80 max).

There have been numerous occasions where migrant dinghies have capsized at sea, causing thousands of fatalities and injuries to Syrian and Libyan migrants in the last two years. This has led to authorities in Italy and Greece to engage in large-scale search and rescue (SAR) operations to salvage stranded migrants at sea. On occasion, merchant ships have been instructed, by authorities, to help with rescue efforts.

Assessment and Analysis

Greek and Italian authorities have on occasion instructed merchant ships to deviate and aid stranded migrants in the Mediterranean. Merchant ships have also been used to help transport migrants back to their home countries following an incident (such as a capsize) at sea.

Charterers and owners should be aware that Masters are required by the 1989 IMO-imposed International Convention on Salvage (ICS) law to aid persons they find stranded at sea. To ignore this is a criminal offence under the ICS and punishable by fines and imprisonment. On occasions where Masters deviate due to a SAR operation, the apportionment of costs borne by the owner or charterer is governed by the charterparty. Shelltime 4 states that all loss of time and all expenses incurred in saving or attempting to save lives are to be borne equally by owners and charterers. NYPE 1946, however, does not address the issue directly, which means that the apportionment of costs during such an event is unclear.

While deviation for the purpose of saving persons at sea will not constitute a breach of the charterparty contract, owners are at risk of suffering financial consequences due to their Master’s compliance with the IMO’s ICS. It is advised that owners and charterers are aware of the contractual agreements governing SAR as stipulated by the charterparty.

More information: North’s Migrants at Sea loss prevention briefing and Assisting Persons in Distress – Obligations and Indemnities article.

Date updated : 31/01/2017 Date added : 02/10/2014

Netherlands and Belgium

Netherlands and Belgium - Risk: vessels being used to traffic and/or smuggle contraband through the major shipping hubs of Antwerp and Rotterdam

THE NETHERLANDS AND BELGIUM - Risk: vessels being used to traffic and/or smuggle contraband through the major shipping hubs of Antwerp and Rotterdam

As major shipping hubs, the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam are utilized by drug traffickers as entry points into the European market. The sheer volume of cargo processed at the port renders it attractive to smugglers.

A local P&I correspondent reports drugs imported in Antwerp are predominantly from Columbia. Some of the various methods used to conceal the drugs include: drugs being placed under the gratings in the cargo decks and even the main deck, drug packages being fixed via a magnet to the underside of the outer hatch coaming and in some cases, drugs being transported by a “stowaway” with the intent to disembark at Antwerp.

Correspondents also provide insight in a case where stowaways have been in possession of clothing, similar to that worn by stevedores in the port of Antwerp.

Other reports of reefer vessels primarily from South America have been found with artificial holes in pallets carrying bananas where, a person and a number of drugs packages are stored inside.

Assessment and Analysis

Merchant vessels – particularly container ships – should remain vigilant during calls into ports where drug smuggling is prevalent.

The crew should perform regular shipboard inspections and a record of these maintained in the ship’s logbook. Broken security seals should be investigated and findings recorded in the ship’s log book. Once cargo operations are completed, the crew should perform a full search of the vessel for any illegal substances, suspect packages or stowaways. In some cases, a dive survey of the area below the water line may be appropriate.

The local authorities in the Netherlands and Belgium will concentrate their efforts on individuals and legal entities that are suspected of trafficking drugs. If master and crew are not involved they are advised to co-operate with customs and police, provide their statements and follow all reasonable instructions made by the authorities.

The IMO’s Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals on Ships Engaged in International Maritime Traffic can be read here.

For the latest information on this topic, please go to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime website can be read here.

Date updated : 30/10/2017 Date added : 02/10/2014

Romania

Romania - Risk: P&I claims arising from grain cargo contamination loaded at Constantza, Romania

ROMANIA - Risk: P&I claims arising from grain cargo contamination loaded at Constantza, Romania

P&I correspondents have notified us of problems loading grain cargoes at the port of Constantza due to the poor condition of the berth. It has been reported that the concrete surface of the quay has deteriorated and become cracked, with loose particles and remnants of previous cargoes and other foreign matter. Typically, cargo is delivered to the ship’s side within open trucks where it is emptied directly onto the unprotected surface of the quay. The cargo is then taken by grabs and loaded into the ship’s cargo holds, partially contaminated with foreign matter.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should instruct their masters to be vigilant in their assessment and inspection of the quay prior to the commencement of loading. Taking photographs is a useful form of contemporaneous evidence. If the surface of the quay is contaminated with foreign matter and/or remnants of previous cargos, the master should immediately issue letters of protest to all appropriate parties.

Date updated : 30/01/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

Romania

Romania - Risk: Authorities impose strict policies for exchanging and deballasting in Romania

ROMANIA - Risk: Authorities impose strict policies for exchanging and deballasting in Romania

Local correspondents warn of strict policies in place by the Romanian authorities when exchanging ballast water and deballasting in Romanian ports.

Romania is not a signatory to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ballast Water Management Convention instead; they follow a similar approach taken by the Ukrainian and Russian authorities in Black Sea ports.

The authorities require that the ballast exchange is carried out in deep waters and as far as possible from shore. It must be 50 miles from the nearest land and in waters of at least 200m depth. If the ballast water is taken from any area other than that of the Black Sea, deballasting should not be carried out in port.

Authorities are likely to be in attendance when deballasting in Constantza to confirm the ballast water is clean.

Disposing of grey water in the Black Sea / Romanian territorial waters may result in criminal prosecution and fines according to correspondents. Agents can arrange for collection of ballast / grey water via a barge which is owned by the Constantza Port Administration. Correspondents recommend such requests are made in a timely matter due to limited reception facilities.

Correspondents have reported recent cases where local authorities have reluctantly allowed vessels to pump out clean ballast water in the port of Constantza. This is despite the ballast exchange not being carried out in the Black Sea and is due to pressure being applied from local companies / agents. Correspondents warn against this and ask shipowners to be cautious of such requests.

Assessment and Analysis

• Shipowners should ensure ballast is exchanged at least 50 miles from the nearest land and in waters of at least 200m depth.
• Contact agents in a timely manner for collection of grey water and or ballast water.
• Only deballast water which has been collected from the Black Sea.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 08/11/2018 Date added : 08/11/2018

Spain

Spain - Risk: vessels being used to traffic and/or smuggle contraband from North and West Africa though Algeciras (Spain) into European black markets.

SPAIN - Risk: vessels being used to traffic and/or smuggle contraband from North and West Africa though Algeciras (Spain) into European black markets

As a major container and transhipment port in the Mediterranean Sea, the port of Algeciras is utilized by drug traffickers as an entry point into the European market. The sheer volume of containerized cargo processed at the port renders it attractive to smugglers.

There exists an elevated risk to commercial vessels discharging at these ports of being fined and/or delayed for unknowingly transporting illicit narcotics and/or other contraband clandestinely smuggled aboard by traffickers.

Vessels found be to transporting narcotics, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are subject to stiff fines, vessel seizures and major delays.

Preferred smuggling methods include hiding illicit drugs amongst legitimate cargoes arriving at port in maritime containers or attaching contraband-filled receptacles to the hull of merchant vessels and collected upon arrival at port.

Assessment and Analysis

Merchant vessels –particularly container ships – should be on heightened security alert during calls into ports preceding arrival at Algeciras.

Date updated : 30/01/2017 Date added : 02/10/2014

Ukraine

Ukraine - Risk: Ballast water sampling requirements, Ukraine

UKRAINE - Risk: Ballast water sampling requirements, Ukraine

In a bid to optimise the control procedures when moving goods across the customs border of Ukraine, the introduction of the “single window” mechanism has been adopted under a new law “On Amendments to the Customs Code of Ukraine”. The implementation of the “single window” enables participants to interact with each other electronically with exchanges signed off under a unique digital signature.

The new regulation aims to simplify a vessels’ call to port and reduce the risk of corruption. Now under the new system, ecological inspectors who wish to board a vessel in order to take ballast samples will have to submit their request via the “single window” and will need to carry out the inspection within a specified timeframe. The digital signature will clearly identify the official requesting access to the vessel and will prevent any unreasonable inspections. Correspondents have reported previous cases where Masters have been blackmailed as a result of past paperless inspections.

Provided a vessels’ ballast is taken from the Black or Azov Sea prior to entering the territorial waters of Ukraine and in accordance with Ukrainian law, the removal of ballast in the territorial sea and inland waterways of Ukraine is allowed without restrictions and control by the state authorities.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners should assist ecological inspectors and make sure the samples are taken from the ballast tanks and not from the pipelines. It is recommended the vessel changes ballast after entering the Black Sea.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 14/11/2018 Date added : 11/02/2015

Ukraine

Ukraine - Risk: Black-listing and possible ship arrest resulting from previously visiting Crimean ports

UKRAINE - Risk: Black-listing and possible ship arrest resulting from previously visiting Crimean ports

Local P&I correspondents advise the situation at Ukrainian ports and on mainland is stable and ports are operational.

However, visiting of the Crimean peninsula contravenes Ukrainian law.

In accordance with Article 332-1 the Criminal Code of Ukraine, vessels that have previously visited Crimean ports (e.g. Kerch, Sevastopol) will be black-listed by the Ukrainian authorities. There is a risk that this can lead to the arrest of the ship by the Ukrainian court or resolution of Public Prosecutor in the event of a ship’s call to Ukrainian ports to mainland after visiting Crimean ports. The crew will also be penalized and prohibited from visiting Ukraine for infringement of Ukrainian Law.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners, charterers and ship managers should be fully aware of the risks if they intend to call at ports in the Crimean peninsula and the consequences of subsequently calling at ports subject to Ukrainian law.

Relevant port passes for surveyors visiting ships should be arranged 2-3 days in advance.

Date updated : 01/11/2017 Date added : 26/05/2015

Ukraine

Ukraine - Risk: Ice-conditions at Ukrainian ports

Ice-conditions at Ukrainian ports

The beginning of the ice season differs from year to year and is largely dependent on the prevailing weather conditions.  However, individual port authority ice-campaigns generally commence between December and late February each year.
The ports closest to the rivers of Dnieper and Yuzhny Bub are generally the first to encounter ice.  The river-ice flows from estuaries into the sea to form ice-fields, which under extreme low temperatures, may become compacted and refreeze.
The most affected areas are reportedly Odessa, Chernomorsk, Yuzhny, Ochakov, Nikolayev and Kherson.
Non-ice-classed vessels are required to provide their port agent and Harbour Master (prior to the vessel’s arrival) with the following information:

•    Year built
•    Tonnage
•    Classification Society
•    Main engine power
•    Type of propeller – e.g. fixed or controllable pitched
•    Radio navigation equipment
•    Actual draft
•    Type and quantity of cargo on board
•    Bunkers and stores on board

The Harbour Master may also request a specific confirmation from the vessel’s classification society stating that the vessel can safely perform the passage under the prevailing ice-conditions.

A letter may also be required from the owners of the vessel accepting full liability for all damages associated with the passage of their vessel through ice.

Once permission has been granted by the Harbour Master, the vessel will be allowed to proceed through the channel in convoy behind an ice-classed tug.  The waiting time for convoys is approximately 10 to 20 days and applications for ice-breaking services should be submitted 48 hours in advance.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners with vessels operating within the ice-regions of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov should ensure they seek the most up to date information from their local port agent.  This may include any specific local regulations and/or requirements for port entry such as the quantity of fresh water and bunkers retained on board.

Shipowners with vessels that are directed to a port which may be ice-bound upon arrival or during its stay should consider inserting a suitable ICE clause within the charterparty and bills of lading.  BIMCO’s General Ice Clause for Voyage Charter Parties may be used for this purpose.

Owners should always contact their local agent for the most up to date information.

Date updated : 25/10/2017 Date added : 28/02/2017

Asia

Australia

Australia - Risk: PSC detentions after AMSA scrutinise navigation practices

AUSTRALIA - Risk: Possible ship detention by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority as a consequence of using non-approved navigation charts in Australian waters

From 1 January 2017 to 30 April 2017 the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported 142 ships failing to comply with safe navigation practices on voyages. Consequently, 15 of the ships inspected were detained. Deficiencies included the use of unofficial copies of nautical charts, missing charts for voyages, failure to use charts during voyages, failure to plan or monitor voyages appropriately and electronic navigation systems that were unapproved, missing the correct charts for voyages or that crew were not trained to use.

Concentrated inspection campaigns (CIC) are currently underway with other signatory nations including: Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding and Asia Pacific Memorandum of Understanding focusing on the use of unofficial nautical charts.

Assessment and Analysis

In an effort to avoid possible delays and port state detentions, masters, owners and ship managers should ensure that their vessels possess all corrected navigation charts for the intended voyage. If a vessel does not possess all the appropriate charts before entering Australian waters, ship agents should make arrangements to provide a vessel with the up to date charts so that the passage plan and port entry can be adequately prepared in advance of the pilot boarding. If an electronic navigation system is used onboard, the vessel must have the correct charts for each voyage and all bridge watchkeeping officers should be trained and confident in the equipments use.

Date updated : 03/10/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Australia

Australia - Risk: Detentions and delays arising from Port State Control (PSC) inspections and non-compliance with Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 regulations

AUSTRALIA - Risk: Detentions and delays arising from Port State Control (PSC) inspections and non-compliance with MLC 2006 regulations

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a media release highlighting the steps they are taking to deal with vessels that are found to be non-compliant with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC).

During recent routine Port State Control (PSC) inspections, deficiencies included: not having enough food and potable water for the next voyage; defective and insufficient refrigerated storage to safely store fresh food; defective laundry, sanitary and cooking facilities; as well as expired Seafarer Employment Agreements (SEA).

AMSA has indicated that they will detain vessels that are found not to conform to MLC if "the conditions on board are clearly hazardous to the safety, health and security of seafarers or the non-conformity constitutes a serious breach of the requirements of MLC (including seafarers' rights)".

A copy of the Media Release can be read by clicking here.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners are well aware that Australia has highly developed occupational health and safety regulations, so robust pre-arrival checks to ensure MLC compliance are advisable.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 11/03/2015 Date added : 11/03/2015

Australia

Australia - Risk: Navigation through the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, Australia

AUSTRALIA - Risk: Navigation through the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, Australia

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has prepared a quick reference guide to highlight the key obligations of ship’s Masters, shipowners, ship operators and crews whilst transiting through the Great Barrier Reef and the Torres Strait.

AMSA states that “the safety of shipping depends on all parties having detailed knowledge of, and complying with regulatory and other obligations and duties imposed on them in the circumstances”

AMSA has a dedicated webpage with links to detailed information, current marine notices and media releases on the following:

• Particularly sensitive sea areas
• Coastal pilotage
• Queensland coastal passage plan (QCPP)
• REEFVTS (The Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service)
• Great Barrier Reef Marine Park designated shipping area
• Defect and incident reporting
• Disposal of garbage
• Charts and publications
• Fitness for duty
• Port State Control

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and shipmanagers should familiarise themselves with AMSA’s guidance prior to navigating through the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.

The webpage and quick guide does not contain all regulatory and other obligations and duties of owners, operators, Masters and crew, but is a useful staring point.

Ship owners and shipmanagers can gain direct access to AMSA’s guide at: www.amsa.gov.au/navigation/quick-guide-gbr-torres/

Date updated : 20/05/2015 Date added : 20/05/2015

Bangladesh

Bangladesh - Threat: armed robbery and pilferage - vessels anchored or berthed at Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar Ports, Bangladesh

BANGLADESH - Threat: armed robbery and pilferage on vessels anchored or berthed at Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar Ports, Bangladesh

Ship robbery is common within the anchorage of Chittagong and has continued into 2015. Robbers typically board vessels in order to steal ships stores, money and crew possessions, leaving in skiffs before alarms can be raised. Attacks are usually very brief and generally occur at night.

There have been occasions in which armed criminals have tied up and tortured crew members before stealing possessions and valuables. The prevalence of such crime stems from a poor local community in Chittagong with high levels of crime.

Assessment and Analysis

Generally, target vessels are approached by a small skiff or boarded via anchor chains (both day and night). In order to prevent such attacks from occurring it is advised that Captain and crew take steps to reduce the risk of being targeted.

Recommended preventative measures include:

  • Improving physical security, including the usage of bright lighting in and around the vessel while at anchor.
  • Controlling access to the vessel by lifting ladders above the water and securing access via the anchor chain/hawse pipe when not in use.
  • Maintaining a continuous watch whilst waiting at anchorage.

Date updated : 25/09/2015 Date added : 02/10/2014

Bangladesh

Bangladesh - Threat: Theft from vessels at anchor in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar

BANGLADESH - Risk of theft from ships anchoring in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar

There is a risk of theft from ships anchoring in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar.

Thieves generally board at night, either individually or in small groups.

They tend to steal ship stores and other items that come to hand.

Thieves have also been boarding barges under tow at Cox’s Bazar and off Kutibdia Island.

In early July 2018 robbers armed with knives boarded an anchored bulk carrier in Chittagong Anchorage.

They tied up the deck watchman before stealing the aft mooring ropes and making their escape.

According to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre they had boarded the bulker using ropes attached to hooks.

Assessment and Analysis

Recorded cases of theft from ships had been falling but in 2017 there was a year-on-year rise.

Data collected by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) showed 11 incidents in the 12-month period compared to just two the year before.

It was not clear what was behind the rise although the earlier fall in reported incidents – from 16 in 2014 – had been attributed to efforts by the Bangladesh authorities.

Most of the recorded attacks in 2017 were in the Chittagong anchorages and approaches.

In some cases the intruders who boarded the ships were armed with knives.

The incidents appeared to be opportunistic and the thieves generally fled when they were confronted.
It is likely that many incidents went unreported.

During 2017 there were three reports of barges being attacked while under tow.

In January, off Cox’s Bazar, a group of small boats closed in on the unmanned barge being pulled by a tug.

Some attackers from the boats boarded the barge and only left when a Bangladesh naval vessel arrived.
There were three similar attacks in the course of the year. The thieves who boarded the barges stole ship stores.

Ships approaching Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar should maintain extra watches, especially when anchoring or riding at anchor.

If suspicious boats attempt to come alongside an alarm should be raised.

Date updated : 05/07/2018 Date added : 23/09/2013

China

China - Risk: Cargo claims and potential liquefaction of fluorspar cargoes in China

CHINA - Risk: Cargo claims and potential liquefaction of fluorspar cargoes in China

There are occasional problems related to shipping fluorspar cargoes from China with a Moisture Content (MC) in excess of the Transportable Moisture Limit (TML).

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners loading fluorspar from Hong Kong or other Chinese ports should exercise extreme caution and fully familiarise themselves with the relevant sections of the IMSBC Code before agreeing to load and carry this commodity.

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that the shipper’s cargo declaration complies with the requirements and schedule set out in the IMSBC Code.

The loading operation should be monitored throughout and can tests should carried out in accordance with the IMSBC Code.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on liquefaction can be read on the Club’s website here.

North’s Loss Prevention “Hot-Spots” on liquefaction can be read on the Club’s website here.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

China

China - Risk: Danger to navigation due to sea ice in the Baohai Sea and Yellow Sea, China

CHINA - Risk: Danger to navigation due to sea ice in the Baohai Sea, China

Past reports have indicated that ice cover in some parts of the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea in northern China can extend up to 90 nautical miles from the coast. China’s State Oceanic Administration has previously reported ice up to 40cm thick resulting in disruptions to shipping and an increase in port congestion. The Bohai Sea includes the ports of Dalian, Tianjin and Qinhuangdao. The Yellow Sea covers an area from Shanghai north to northern China and the west coast of the Korean peninsula including Incheon near the capital Seoul. Widespread ice cover can disrupt shipping activities although major South Korean ports including Pusan are usually unaffected.

BIMCO reports that January/February are usually the worst months for sea ice in the Yellow Sea, normally easing March/April.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers trading to this area are advised to obtain the most up to date information from local port agents.
China’s National Marine Forecasting Centre (NMEFC) issues ice warnings and these can be accessed on their website by clicking here.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

China

China - Risk: Fertilizer loaded in Chinese ports susceptible to caking and contamination

CHINA - Risk: Fertilizer loaded in Chinese ports susceptible to caking and contamination

The fertilizer cargo is delivered to the vessel in 50kg plastic or jumbo bags. The hatch covers are then cracked open around 1.0mtr and a steel grate with a mesh size of around 25mm placed over the opening. The bagged cargo is then lowered onto the grate and split open to release the cargo into the cargo hold.
There have been instances where the cargo is delivered to the vessel partially caked and the stevedores manually break up the lumps until it passes through the grate into the cargo hold, giving it a superficially free flowing state. Whilst on passage to the discharge port, the cargo again becomes caked and substantial claims have been experienced when receivers reject the cargo.
A further problem is that cargoes have become contaminated with particles of plastic from the bags used to transport the cargo to the vessel, together with scraps, string and fibres, again resulting in rejected cargoes.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers, if at all possible, should:

* Seek to avoid loading fertilizer cargo using this method.

* Accurately clause bills of lading.

* Carefully document the loading process (photographs are a good form of contemporaneous evidence).

* Carefully monitor the condition of the cargo being loaded.

* Immediately issue letters of protest to all appropriate parties as soon as problems become evident.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

China

China - Risk: Fines, Port State Control detentions and delays for breaching regulations for passing through the Qiongzhou Straits, China

CHINA - Risk: Fines, Port State Control detentions and delays for breaching regulations for passing through the Qiongzhou Straits, China

When any merchant vessel intends to make a passage through the Qiongzhou Straits, it must apply to the Qiongzhou Straits Authority for permission 48 hours before the vessel enters the Strait, or before the vessel departs port (on the outbound passage) with detailed information.

After receiving formal permission from the Qiongzhou Strait Authority, the vessel must then notify the Authority (24 hours before entering the Strait) of the exact eta/time of entry into the strait.

The Qiongzhou Strait Authority may at any time deem to close the strait and withdraw all permissions. Failure to comply with the Regulations Governing Non-military Foreign Vessels Passing through the Qiongzhou Straits can result in severe penalties that may result in fines, PSC problems and subsequent delays.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers are therefore advised to fully familiarise themselves with the reporting requirements of the Regulations Governing Non-military Foreign Vessels Passing Through the Qiongzhou Straits and report the required information to Qiongzhou Strait Authority within the required time scale.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

China

China - Risk: Navigation danger due to expansion of aquaculture at Lanshan, China

CHINA - Risk: Navigation danger due to expansion of aquaculture at Lanshan, China

In 2012, local P&I correspondents reported a significant increase in P&I claims for damage to aquaculture located to the east of No 2 anchorage at Lanshan port. It was reported that the fish farms had expanded, and in places had encroached into the main shipping lane in the approaches to Lanshan port.
In December 2013 local P&I correspondents advised that the Rizhao MSA established a new fairway to and from Lanshan and also introduced a new navigation route to the North-West of the fish farms.

Assessment and Analysis

As the situation is likely to change, shipowners and ship managers are advised to consider the following:
When the vessel is scheduled to call at Lanshan port, it is suggested that the Master make contact with the local port agent to ascertain the current situation. If the local port agent is not able to provide up to date information, the Master should seek assistance from the local MSA, and VTS.
Once accurate information about the channel is fixed on the chart, the vessel must strictly adhere to a course within the channel. Any deviation from the channel may lead the vessel into fish farm limits.
A proper navigational watch should be kept, a safe navigation speed should be maintained and the engine room should be manned throughout the vessel’s transit of this area. It would be advisable to place a crewmember forward as a watchman should visibility deteriorate.
Masters are advised to report their dynamic information to VTS before sailing to the new channel entrance so that VTS can provide assistance to safe navigation.
If the vessel makes contact with or navigates through a fish farm, Masters should immediately contact their P&I Club for assistance.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

China

China - Risk: The collection of tax from non-resident taxpayers engaged in international transportation business with China

CHINA - Risk: The collection of tax from non-resident taxpayers engaged in international transportation business with China

On 1 August 2014 a notice issued by the State Administration of Taxation of China for the Provisional Measures on the Collection of Tax on Non-resident Taxpayers Engaged in International Transportation Business (“the Provisional Measures”) came into effect. Despite being entitled ‘Provisional Measures’ the notice will have the force of law in China and will continue to apply until such time as they are replaced by another regulation.
The Provisional Measures contain a wide definition of what amounts to “international transportation business”, including any transportation into or out of Chinese ports whether via owned or chartered ships, and subjects such business to Enterprise Income Tax (“EIT”). It also provides that voyage charters and time charters are subject to the applicable tax rate for transportation services. This removes any doubt as to whether charter hire under time charters are considered as income from transportation services or property leasing (the latter being subject to different tax rates). Interestingly, demise charters fall outside the scope of the Provisional Measures.
A further aspect which foreign shipowners – defined as Non-Resident Taxpayers (“NRTs”) – need to take note is the prescribed mechanism for collection of tax under the Provisional Measures. Apart from self-registration in China for NRTs, the Provisional Measures reinforce the existing obligation for Chinese companies to act as withholding agents for EIT and other applicable taxes (e.g. Value Added Tax) when making payments to NRTs.
NRTs from countries that have tax treaties with China may apply for exemption from taxes relating to international transportation business.
The Provisional Measures reflect an overall tightening of the taxation regime in China, and are likely to have a far-reaching impact on shipowners who deal with Chinese counterparts, or whose vessels call into China.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should consider checking if there are any existing tax treaties between their countries of residence and China. Legal assistance should also be sought from Chinese lawyers when considering the inclusion of charterparty clauses that may include reference to this tax, as any clauses may have the potential to be construed under Chinese law as an attempt to evade taxes.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 03/02/2015

China

China - Risk: Fines following illegal discharges into the Bohai Sea and China's inland waterways

CHINA - Risk: Fines following illegal discharges into the Bohai Sea and China's inland waterways

Under national legislation the Bohai Sea is classified as an inland waterway and as such the discharge of any substance from ships is strictly prohibited according to the Blue Sea Activity Plan of Bohai.

The Bohai Sea has been granted Protection of Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) status through the IMO and a base-line drawn between Penglai in the south to the tip of the Liaodong Peninsula to the north. Within this baseline, discharges from ships are not permitted and failure to comply with this regulation may result in substantial fines being imposed by China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA).

A baseline also exists that defines the inland waterway adjacent to the mainland. The baseline is composed of straight lines linking up coordinates set by the Chinese government, as listed in the Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Baselines of the Territorial Sea of the People’s Republic of China. Within this baseline, the discharge is not permitted and failure to comply with this regulation may also result in substantial fines being imposed by China MSA.

Discharges from ships into China’s territorial waters and contiguous zones must comply with the requirements of MARPOL 73/78 Annex V, MEPC.201(62).

China MSA has issued a bulletin entitled Implementation of amendment to MARPOL 73/78 Annex V (MEPC.201(62)) which can be read here. The circular outlines the national requirements for compliance with MARPOL regulations as set out in MEPC.201(62).

IMO Resolution MEPC.201(62) Amendments to the annex of the protocol of 1978 relating to the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships, 1973 (adopted on 15 July 2011) can be read here.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure crews are fully aware of local, national and international regulations with regards to discharges from ships.

If there is any doubt as to the exact position of any baseline, advice should be sought from ship’s agents and China MSA. Such baselines should then be drawn on the ship’s charts and form part of the vessel’s passage planning process.

Upon receiving orders to proceed to a Chinese port, it is advisable to determine in advance what reception facilities are available and take steps to dispose of ship’s waste as appropriate.

The management and disposal of all ship’s waste should be clearly and accurately documented in the garbage record book and oil record book. Careful record keeping will help avoid any unwanted attention by China MSA and potentially significant fines being imposed.

Local regulations may be more stringent than those set out in MARPOL, and for this reason, it is recommended that local ship’s agents and P&I correspondents confirm the current requirements for any port (via China MSA) well in advance of entering China’s waters. If there is any doubt, the more stringent restrictions should be exercised.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 11/03/2015

China

China - Risk: Theft from ships in Tianjin anchorage

CHINA - Risk: Theft from ships in Tianjin anchorage

There have been reports of thefts from vessels berthed at the anchorage outside Tianjin Port in northeastern China.

The anchorage is around 20 nautical miles from Tianjin port in an area where mobile phones may lack reception. The thieves generally strike at night. They approach in small boats that can be mistaken for fishing vessels.

Once on-board the thieves target ship stores, spare parts and bunker fuel. There have been no reports of the thieves being armed.

Assessment and Analysis

Most of the incidents happen in winter, possibly because high waves make it easier for the thieves to approach undetected. They may also be exploiting the likelihood that there will be fewer crew members on deck.
The Chinese Coast Guard has made arrests and the authorities say the overall security level of Tianjin Port has not been compromised.
Ships are advised to:
-Close anchor chain covers after dropping anchor.
-Turn on deck lights.
-Secure stores that are kept on deck.
-Keep watertight doors to accommodation areas locked from the inside.
-Have fire hoses on stand-by to be connected to the deck fire hydrants.
-Keep a proper look out and have regular patrols of decks and accommodation areas.
-Keep mooring lines securely in store until the day of coming alongside.
-If thieves do strike don’t touch anything that the thieves have touched in order for the police to gather finger prints.
-If possible, take photos of the thieves and their boat.
Call VHF CH 16 to contact VTS Xingang or China Coast Guard; call up the General Police Station of Tianjin by telephone No. +86-22-110 (English language available 24hrs/7days).

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 30/11/2016

Hong Kong

Hong Kong - Risk: Fines for emitting dark smoke in the port of Hong Kong

HONG KONG - Risk: Fines for emitting dark smoke in the port of Hong Kong

On 18 July 2014, new legislation was imposed in Hong Kong to control dark smoke emissions from ships.

It is an offence for any ship in Hong Kong waters to emit smoke defined as darker than shade 2 on the Ringelmann Chart for three or more minutes.

The Shipowner, port agent and ship’s Master will each be liable for a fine of HK$25,000 on first conviction, and HK$ 50,000 for any subsequent conviction.

Click here to read a copy of Marine Department Notice No. 92 of 2014, which includes a basic Ringelmann Smoke Chart.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that their crew are fully aware of this new legislation and provide them with a copy of the Ringelmann Chart.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Hong Kong

Hong Kong - Risk: Fines for non-compliance with Hong Kong - Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulations

HONG KONG - Risk: Fines for non-compliance with Hong Kong - Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulations

The Hong Kong government has announced that vessels will be required to switch-over to low-sulphur fuel by 1 July 2015 or face fines of up to US$200,000.
The government has released a statement advising that the Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation was discussed at the Legislative Council on March 18 2015 and the Environment Bureau is aiming for the regulation to come into force from 1st July 2015.
The Regulation will effectively apply to vessels of 500 gross tons and above certificated under the SOLAS Convention. However, there are limited exclusions, such as for warships, vessels operating exclusively within river trade limits or entering Hong Kong waters solely for certain emergency situations.
The regulation mandates that, (except for the first hour after berthing and the last hour before departure), all ocean-going vessels are required to use marine fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% while along-side in Hong Kong.
If an ocean-going vessel uses technology that can achieve the same or less sulphur dioxide emission when compared with using low-sulphur marine fuel, the vessel may be exempted from fuel switching upon application to the Hong Kong authorities.
Masters of vessels that fail to switch-over to compliant fuel or do not possess an approved appropriate exemption certificate may face a six month jail sentence and a fine of up to US$200,000. Ship masters and ship owners who fail to record or keep the required particulars will also be liable to a maximum fine of US$50,000 and imprisonment for up to three months.
The new regulation is expected to reduce the total emissions of sulphur oxide by 12% to 6%, improving Hong Kong’s air quality and reducing the health risks associated with pollution.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure they have implemented a suitable fuel changeover procedure and that all crew are trained and experienced in the process.
North recommends that fuel changeover drills are performed in advance of calling into port so as to limit the potential risks of losing primary machinery during changeover.
Detailed log entries, bunker delivery records, independent fuel oil analysis and changeover periods should be maintained in order to avoid any potential problems. Such log entries and bunker delivery notes must be retained on board the vessel for a period of three years.
The Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulations (L.N 51 of 2015) should be read and understood prior to vessels calling at Hong Kong and this can be accessed here.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 25/03/2015

India

India - Risk: Cargo claims and potential liquefaction of iron ore cargoes in Goa, India

INDIA - Risk: Cargo claims and potential liquefaction of iron ore cargoes in Goa, India

On 21 April 2014, India’s Supreme Court lifted its ban on iron ore mining in the western state of Goa, but limited extraction to 20m tonnes a year. A number of vessels have experienced problems when loading wet iron ore fines cargoes in Goa.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should take the usual precautions in relation to loading iron ore fines cargoes. Additionally, any local or national regulations for carriage of iron ore fines from ports in Goa should be complied with. Information and general guidance on this topic can be found in the Loss Prevention section of the Club’s website.
Loss Prevention Briefing – Iron Ore Fines
Loss Prevention Briefing – Liquefaction
Loss Prevention Hot Spots – Liquefaction
Loss Prevention Poster – Ore Cargo Types
Club Circular – Safe Shipment of Iron Ore Fines from Indian Ports

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

India

India - Risk: Fines and delays for seafarers not submitting a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate in Mumbai, India

INDIA - Risk: Fines and delays for seafarers failing to submit a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate in Mumbai, India

Mumbai Port Health Authority has announced that ships that have called at ports in countries where Yellow Fever is endemic within the previous 30 days will be subject to Indian port health rules and mandatory health checks.

Seafarers arriving from an affected country within six days of their date of departure will be required to produce a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Those unable to produce a certificate will be quarantined until the end of the six day period.

The countries affected by Yellow Fever in Africa are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Ivory Coast, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo and Uganda.

In South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners with vessels calling at designated yellow fever countries within 30 days of their arrival at Mumbai should ensure that vaccination certificates are in order to avoid difficulties with the Port Health Authorities.

Date updated : 23/03/2017 Date added : 21/08/2015

Indonesia

Indonesia - Threat: Thieves targeting ships at anchor in Indonesian ports and anchorages

INDONESIA - Threat: of theft from ships at anchor

Thieves continue to target ships at anchor in Indonesian ports and anchorages.

Perpetrators board ships either alone or in gangs and generally operate at night. They are often armed with knives.

Although there were cases of seafarers being tied up, an analysis of attacks in 2017 showed it was rare for crew members to be assaulted.

In most cases intruders fled when confronted.

Assessment and Analysis

It is difficult to estimate how many ships have been targeted by criminals in Indonesian waters as many incidents are thought to go unreported.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) recorded 30 attacks on shipping in Indonesian waters in 2017.

The most serious, in November, west of the Indonesian port of Singkawang, saw robbers armed with parangs target a tug towing a barge laden with palm oil.

The barge was seized and some crew members taken hostage.

The seafarers were eventually released unharmed and the barge was recovered but its cargo had been stolen.

That attack however was an exception.

Most of the incidents were opportunistic with perpetrators coming alongside ships at night and clambering aboard, sometimes climbing anchor chains.

Perpetrators typically stole ship stores taking articles that included portable compressors, mooring ropes and engine spares.

More than a quarter of the incidents took place off Tanjung Berakit, on the island of Pulau Bintan, at the eastern entrance to the Strait of Singapore.

Most of those attacks were against ships at anchor although thieves also boarded vessels while they were underway.

Indonesia’s Marine Police has been mounting extra patrols at ten designated safe anchorages, including one at Tanjung Berakit and ships are advised to use the patrolled anchorages whenever possible.

They are also advised to maintain heightened vigilance and to report all attacks and any suspicious activity.

Date updated : 12/02/2018 Date added : 02/10/2014

Indonesia

Indonesia - Risk: Potential mis-declaration of Indonesian nickel ore cargoes in Indonesia

INDONESIA - Risk: Potential mis-declaration of Indonesian nickel ore cargoes in Indonesia

It is reported that Chinese nickel pig iron producers are aiming to get around an Indonesian ban on nickel ore exports by buying a shipment of slightly lower grade material and labeling it as "iron ore".

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers are reminded of the precautions that should be taken to ensure that cargoes are correctly declared, loaded and carried in accordance with the IMSBC Code.

North's Loss Prevention Briefing on the carriage of nickel ore can be read here.

Date updated : 13/01/2015 Date added : 13/01/2015

Indonesia

Indonesia - Risk: Fraudulent Port State Control (PSC) inspection charges in Indonesia

INDONESIA - Risk: Fraudulent Port State Control (PSC) inspection charges in Indonesia

Shipowners have in the past been notified by Indonesian ship's agents that Indonesian regulations require their vessels be inspected by Port State Control (PSC).

The ship's agent then advises the Master that the PSC inspectors must travel some distance and expect reimbursement of their costs, in the amount of US$3000. However, the ship's agent adds that the requirement for a PSC inspection can be waived upon payment of a US$500 "administrative charge".

This matter is being further investigated by the relevant authorities.

Assessment and Analysis

Tokyo MOU have confirmed that this practice is not official and that any payments required by PSC inspectors should only be made to the Harbour Office. Shipowners and ship managers should immediately report to their P&I Club any requests for such payments.

Date updated : 13/01/2015 Date added : 13/01/2015

Indonesia and the Philippines

Indonesia and the Philippines - Risk: nickel ore liquefaction due to excessive moisture content during voyages from the Philippines and Indonesia

INDONESIA AND PHILIPPINES - Risk: nickel ore liquefaction due to excessive moisture content during voyages from the Philippines and Indonesia

Vessels carrying nickel ore cargoes originating in Indonesia and the Philippines have in the past suffered liquefaction in vessel cargo holds during the voyage.

Nickel ore cargoes being shipped from Indonesia in particular have liquefied, leading to the cargo spoiling and the vessel listing. The risk of this occurring is much greater during the monsoon season due to increased periods of sustained rainfall.

Assessment and Analysis

Vessel owners and cargo interests are advised to check that the cargo originates from a licensed producer (i.e. holding a valid export permit) before entering into charter and shipment contracts. Shipments from unlicensed operations - without export permits - may be in breach of Indonesian/Filipino law and potentially come with a higher cargo risk factor.

It is advised that charterers ensure that cargo holds are well secured and that necessary checks are in place to minimize high moisture contents.

Date updated : 24/09/2015 Date added : 02/10/2014

Malacca Strait

Malacca Strait - Threat: Risk of Robbery in the Malacca Strait

MALACCA STRAIT - Risk: robbery. Maintain strict anti-piracy and robbery watches.

There were almost no reports of piracy or armed robbery against ships in the Malacca Strait in 2017.

According to one source – the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) – the number of successful attacks was cut to zero for the second year in succession.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said it had logged one incident of armed robbery.

It said six intruders armed with knives were discovered in the engine room of a crude oil tanker while it was underway at the southern end of the Strait.

They fled the vessel having forced one of the ship’s engineers to show them the way out.

Assessment and Analysis

Maritime security has improved dramatically since 2015. Nevertheless ships are advised to maintain strict anti-piracy and robbery watches when in the Malacca Strait.

The decline in piracy and robbery has been attributed to a co-ordinated naval and police patrols by Malaysia and Indonesia and improved law enforcement onshore.

The two countries began enhanced co-operation as part of a regional response to a surge in piracy that saw over 100 attacks reported in the Malacca and Singapore Straits in 2015.

There are fears that should the littoral states reduce their commitment to maritime security, piracy and armed robbery could swiftly escalate.

Early in 2018 there was a report of an attempt to board a bulk carrier while in the Malacca Strait, nine nautical miles southwest of Port Dickson in Malaysia.

The Malacca Strait is one of the world’s busiest shipping channels. By some estimates almost half the world’s seaborne trade passes through the Strait each year.

Date updated : 17/01/2018 Date added : 17/01/2018

Malaysia

Malaysia - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Kuantan, Malaysia, may be prone to liquefaction

MALAYSIA - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Kuantan, Malaysia, may be prone to liquefaction

There have been a number of recent incidents where bauxite cargoes with high moisture content have liquefied whilst on board. Typically these cargoes have contained a large proportion of very fine material. Bauxite is listed as a Group C cargo in the IMSBC Code – i.e. one that neither liquefies (Group A) nor possesses chemical hazards (Group B). Bauxite is classified in the IMSBC Code as a cargo containing moisture content between 0% and 10% and should be 70% to 90% of lumps 2.5mm to 500mm and 10-30% in powder form. Hence, bauxite cargoes falling outside this description may not be classified as a Group C cargo.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that the shipper’s cargo declaration complies with the requirements and schedule set out in the IMSBC code. The loading operation should be monitored throughout and can tests should be carried out in accordance with the IMSBC code.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on liquefaction can be read on the Club’s website here.

North’s Loss Prevention “Hot-Spots” on liquefaction can be read on the Club’s website here.

Date updated : 20/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Pakistan

Pakistan - Risk: Bulk liquid cargo shortage claims in Karachi, Pakistan

PAKISTAN - Risk: Bulk liquid cargo shortage claims in Karachi, Pakistan

Instances of liquid cargo shortage claims have been reported at the port of Karachi, where ship and shore tank figures can differ.

The Federal Government’s (Revenue Division) State Revenue Office (SRO) states that, for all bulk cargoes the figures arrived at during the initial and final ullage survey are to be taken into account for any shortages or excess, although this practice does not seem to be followed by the cargo receivers.

The trade allowance of 0.25% for edible products and 0.5% for petroleum products is generally applied in the Pakistani Local Courts.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should be involved from the very outset to minimise the potential of shortage claims that are routinely submitted for bulk liquid cargoes. Receivers should be encouraged to attend joint ullage surveys and these figures should be cross checked against the shore tank figures.

* The depths at some of the berths are not adequate and the declarations made by local authorities are largely inaccurate. Prior to your vessel’s arrival, shipowners and ship managers should ensure that the vessel can safely berth and stay at the berth on the lowest expected tide.

* As is usual for most countries in this part of the world, the ships and crew declarations (currency, personal effects, stores, bond, etc) should be documented as accurately as possible to avoid the possibility of “fines” being imposed.

Shipowners and ship managers are therefore advised to:

1. Prepare customs declarations prior to berthing, having already requested in advance the written confirmation of the latest requirements from the local agent.

2. The Master should personally receive the customs officers on board for formalities concurrently with the agent.

3. Ensure that all stores and bunkers, including food, paint, stationery, crew personal effects etc. have been accurately declared.

4. Place all the customs papers in a separate file to be checked by the ship’s agent before their presentation to the customs boarding officer.

5. Check that any modification to the manifest is properly completed and declared, and do not sign any document submitted by the customs authorities without fully understanding its contents..

If for any reason the documentation is not ready by the time the vessel berths, it might be prudent to delay access to the ship by keeping the gangway up after the agent’s boarding, until all declarations are completed to the agent’s satisfaction and are ready to be handed to the customs officer.

A list of the required documentation is as follows:

1. Clearance
2. Paint inventory
3. Crew list
4. Cargo manifest with goods in transit
5. Crew effects declaration
6. Ports of call list
7. Bonded store declaration
8. Chemicals
9. Bunker declaration, for e.g.
10. Fuel-oil
11. Diesel-oil
12. Lube-oil
13. Oil in tanks (including in sump tanks)
14. Oil in drums
15. Oil in cans
16. Used oil (sludge)

Before arrival, the Master should ask the port agent to notify Karachi customs officials if the vessel’s flag and crew are Indian. The local port agent should be consulted for up to date advice, but Indian crews will typically be denied shore leave and the vessel may wish to reconsider flying the Indian ensign when in port.

Date updated : 28/03/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

Pakistan

Pakistan - Risk: Ship arrest and customs fines as a result of fabricated coal cargo shortage claims in Karachi, Pakistan

PAKISTAN - Risk: Ship arrest and customs fines as a result of fabricated coal cargo shortage claims in Karachi, Pakistan

Instances of fabricated shortage claims have been reported at the port of Karachi, where ship and weighbridge figures differ.

The Federal Government’s (Revenue Division) State Revenue Office (SRO) states that, for all bulk cargoes the figures arrived at during the final draft survey is to be taken into account for any shortages or excess, although this practice does not seem to be followed by the receivers.

It has been reported that cargo surveyors raise disputes in the draught survey results following the second or third survey where varying results are obtained. The surveyors use this difference as a pretext for rejecting draught survey figures and raise their claims on the basis of shore figures. The shore figures are recorded without any involvement of the vessel or its representitives and where shortages can be easily manipulated.

The cargo is discharged from the ship directly onto the quayside and subsequently loaded into trucks by shore equipment.

Trucks are initially weighed in empty condition at the weighbridge on entering the port facility and again when loaded upon departure. The difference in weights is jotted down on truck’s notes, which certifies the amount of cargo taken out of the port. It has been reported that trucks entering the port are discharging ballast (rocks/stones) after passing over the weighbridge on entry. This has resulted in significant shortage claims.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers P&I correspondents should be involved from the very outset to tally/check trucks both at the ship and the shore weighbridge. Receivers should also be encouraged to attend joint draft surveys.

It is imperative that owners work closely with their time charterers and/or shippers to resolve any potential delays to the vessel, particularly towards the completion of cargo operations.

Date updated : 28/03/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

PHILIPPINES

PHILIPPINES - Threat: Theft from vessels in Manila and Batangas

PHILIPPINES - Theft from vessels in Manila and Batangas

Thieves have been targeting vessels in the ports of Manila and Batangas.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) recorded 17 incidents in 2017, the highest number in over ten years.

Perpetrators generally operate at night using small craft to come alongside vessels at anchor and at berth.

There are several reports of access being gained by climbing anchor chains and clambering through hawse pipes.

In most cases perpetrators have avoided confrontations and flee when spotted.

Some intruders have been armed with knives.

Items stolen include ship stores and deck equipment that can be easily carried.

Assessment and Analysis

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has taken control of security in all the country’s ports.

The move was ordered by the government in June 2017 as part of a crackdown on the ISIS-linked jihadist Maute group.

Low-level pilfering in the ports and anchorages Manila and Batangas was not the main target but the move could nevertheless have a positive impact.

Among other things, the PCG now has authority to control the movement of all vessels in ports and harbours.

Part of its remit is to enforce a vessel identification system that aims to make it harder for unauthorised craft to operate unobserved.

The PCG meanwhile has urged ship owners and ship agents to report any security breaches as soon as they occur.

It has also stepped up coastal security patrols.

Ships visiting the ports and anchorages Manila and Batangas should remain vigilant and maintain strict watches, particularly at night.

Date updated : 13/02/2018 Date added : 10/05/2016

Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia

Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia - Threat: Attacks on vessels and kidnap of crew in Sulu and Celebes Seas

The waters of the Sulu and Celebes Seas are encompassed by Indonesia, Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state and the southern Philippines. They remain an area where there is a heightened risk of attacks on vessels and crew abduction.

In 2017 there were three incidents of crew abduction and at least four failed attempts to seize seafarers – all in the first four months of the year.

In one case crew members were killed in an attack and some abducted seafarers have died in captivity.

At the end of the end of 2017 nine seafarers were still being held hostage.

Assessment and Analysis

Cases of kidnap-for-ransom in the Sulu and Celebes Seas became a major concern during 2016 with Abu Sayaff, a Philippines-based group claiming allegiance to so-called Islamic State, being responsible for most of the attacks.

At the beginning of 2017 Abu Sayaff was no longer confining itself to attacks on slow-moving, low-freeboard vessels such as fishing boats and tugboats towing laden coal barges. In February that year there was a fatal attack on the 2,875 gross tonnage (GT) bulk carrier GIANG HAI.

From May 2017, however, the maritime security situation improved and by the end of January 2018 there had been no reported abductions  for at least nine months.

Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia were continuing to operate coordinated naval patrols as part of their Trilateral Maritime Patrol initiative and Transit Corridors were established for vessels underway in the most dangerous waters.

There are fears, however, that Abu Sayaff remains a potent force. It is well-armed and equipped with fast boats and high-tech navigation devices.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP), in a report published in January 2018, reiterated its advice that ships should to re-route to avoid the Sulu and Celebes seas.

If that was not possible, it said, crews should exercise extra vigilance and be ready to report any suspicious activities to the authorities.

Date updated : 12/02/2018 Date added : 30/01/2018

Singapore Strait

Singapore Strait - Risk: Vessels targeted in Traffic Separation Scheme

SINGAPORE STRAIT - Risk: Armed robbery whilst transiting the Singapore Strait

There was a slight increase in the number of illegal boardings and attempted boardings in the Singapore Strait in the first six months of 2018.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said four incidents had been reported, up from two in the same period in 2017.
In the most serious case four perpetrators were spotted in the engine room of a bulk carrier as it moved through the eastbound lane of Singapore’s Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). The alarm was raised and the perpetrators fled. Nothing was reported stolen.

Two of the other incidents involved loads under tow. In one a tug towing an unmanned barge reported that the barge had been boarded and some of scrap metal stolen.

In another, a work boat towing pipelines reported being approached by a suspicious craft. Both towing vessels were in waters covered by the TSS, one in the westbound lane the other heading east.

In none of the cases was it known if the perpetrators were armed.

Assessment and Analysis

In the half-yearly report released by ReCAAP in July 2018 the organisation said the Singapore Strait was an ‘area of concern’.

Although, in Asia as a whole, pirate attacks and the targeting of ships by robbers had fallen in the first six months of 2018 incidents in the Singapore Strait had risen for the second year in a row.

Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP, said continued vigilance remained the most effective deterrence.

ReCAAP meanwhile has analysed its data going back 11 years and concluded that vessels boarded in western sector of the Singapore Strait are more likely to have faced armed intruders than those boarded in the eastern sector.

When perpetrators have been armed it has generally been with knives and machetes. There have been no reports of intruders carrying firearms since 2015.

Perpetrators have mostly targeted cash and crew members’ property and engine spares. Cases of cargo theft have included scrap metal and oil.

Advice to ships remains that when entering the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) they should maintain a high level of vigilance.

If suspicious boats attempt to come alongside an alarm should be raised and evasive action taken and the maritime authorities alerted.

Date updated : 19/07/2018 Date added : 17/01/2018

SOUTH CHINA SEA

SOUTH CHINA SEA - Threat: Hijacking and boarding vessels for theft in South China Sea

Threat: Hijacking and boarding for theft in South China Sea

China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Against the background of international tension there remains concern about the hijacking of tankers and the boarding of vessels for petty theft.

In all, 12 attacks against ships were recorded by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) in 2017, more than double the number the year before.

All the 2017 attacks were in the southwestern waters of the Sea, close to the eastern shore of the Malay Peninsula.

Assessment and Analysis

Although the overall number of attacks against ships in the South China Sea rose from five in 2016 to 12 in 2017 all but two of the more recent incidents appeared to be opportunistic with intruders boarding ships to steal unsecured items.

The two exceptions involved groups of armed assailants boarding product tankers to steal cargo.

In one case an estimated 1.5 million litres of diesel was siphoned from the tanker C.P. 41 after six attackers, armed with guns and knives, boarded the vessel and vandalised its communication equipment.

The crew, who had been locked in the ship’s engine room, were unharmed.

Three months later, in September 2017, the product tanker MGT 1 was boarded by 13 assailants armed with knives and guns.

They forced the crew to pump one million litres of diesel from the tanker’s cargo tanks to their mother ship before they were interrupted by the arrival of forces from the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement agency.

Both attacks took place during the hours of darkness.

The other breaches of vessel security recorded by ReCAAP involved intruders boarding ships underway and at anchor to steal stores, engine parts or crew members’ personal belongings.

The intruders, who all operated at night, were generally unarmed or armed with knives.

All the vessels targeted while at anchor were tankers of 50,000 gross tonnage (GT) or less.

Ships targeted underway were generally under 6,000 GT and included tankers and a bulk carrier.

The South China Sea territorial disputes, while still unresolved, currently present no direct threat to shipping.

Crews should maintain heightened vigilance while sailing the South China Sea, especially during the hours of darkness.

Masters should consider deploying protective measures, particularly in waters close to Malay Peninsula, and should avoid anchoring outside port limits.

Date updated : 12/02/2018 Date added : 30/01/2018

Taiwan

Taiwan - Risk: Damage to nets and equipment, safe transit of the coastal fishing zones of Taiwan

TAIWAN - Risk: Damage to nets and equipment, safe transit of the coastal fishing zones of Taiwan

Local P&I correspondents have highlighted the risks associated with commercial vessels transiting coastal areas of Taiwan where Exclusive Fishing Rights are in place within 3NM of the East and West coasts of Taiwan.

Commercial vessels straying into these fishing zones are at risk of damaging nets and equipment, and colliding with fishing vessels or workboats.

According to the Fisheries Agency, Council of Agriculture of Taiwan, the exclusive fishing rights areas on the East/West coast of Taiwan are those of Taoyuan, Maio Li, Taichung, Changhwa, Kaohsiung, Pengdon, Taidon and Hualian.

Assessment and Analysis

In order to faciliate safe transit in Taiwanese waters, shipowners/ship managers should advise their vessels to keep at least 5 nm from the coast and contact local port agents and/or correspondents for the most up to date information regarding the Exclusive Fishing Rights area.

 

Date updated : 23/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Thailand

Thailand - Risk: Fines and delays as a result of loading/discharging dangerous goods without permission from Thailand's Marine Safety and Environment Bureau/Harbour Department

THAILAND - Risk: Fines and delays as a result of loading/discharging dangerous goods without permission from Thailand's Marine Safety and Environment Bureau/Harbour Department

Thailand has strict local regulations relating to the load/discharge of dangerous goods to and from vessels calling at its ports. Shipowners and ship managers should liaise closely with their local port agent to ensure full compliance.

A list of the dangerous goods can be found in the Harbour Department announcement (No. 353/2529) dated 15th December 1986 and the additional amendments including 4 types of persistent oil, i.e. crude oil, fuel oil, lubrication oil and low speed diesel oil.

Anyone who wishes to apply for permission to load or unload dangerous goods is required to submit an application to the Marine Safety and Environment Bureau or to the branch of Harbour Department.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should note the following requirements:

For Thai flagged vessels:

  • Valid ship certificate
  • Copy of the permit for loading and unloading dangerous cargo from Harbour Department of the domestic terminal or port in the country where the cargo was loaded

For Foreign flagged vessels:

  • Dangerous cargo manifest
  • International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP) for vessels carrying oil or similar substances or
  • Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Chemicals in Bulk for vessels carriage of liquid chemicals

For safety, and to prevent any pollution to environment, take into account the following:

  • Types of dangerous goods
  • Type of packing and loading in bulk or in containers
  • Suitability of port or place to load and unload
  • Safety at the discharge port

When the Harbour Master is satisfied that the evidence and all documentation are correct, the Harbour Master will issue the permit to load and unload dangerous goods.

The permit is valid for the loading and unloading of dangerous goods for one voyage, provided that the operation does not exceed 5 days.

If loading or discharging dangerous goods at more than one port, the applicant should submit an application for a permit at both ports.

If the loading and unloading period exceeds 5 days, the applicant should submit the application with reasons for the extension of permit.

Please also refer to the Director General of the Harbour Department Announcement No.3/2555 for details of the Classification of Dangerous goods.

Alternatively you can find more information in the Mekong River Commission Dangerous Goods Management Manual at here.

Date updated : 13/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Thailand

Thailand - Risk: Problems associated with loading bulk and bagged sugar in Thailand

THAILAND - Risk: Problems associated with loading bulk and bagged sugar in Thailand

Thailand is one of the largest raw sugar exporters in the Asia Pacific region. Sugar production over recent years has increased with bulk sugar mainly being loaded at Laem Chabang and Koh Si Chang and bagged sugar at Bangkok. Local P&I correspondents advise that the following issues may be encountered when loading bagged and bulk sugar in Thailand:

* Shortages due to poor calibration of shore based weighing equipment

* Spillages from trucks loading into hoppers resulting in shortages

* Spillages from conveyor belts and grabs resulting in shortages

* Caking or agglomeration due to loading cargo above 25oC

* Shortages caused by split, torn and damaged bags

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers that have carried sugar will be aware that discarded cigarette ends may cause sugar fires. Sugar fires are particularly difficult to extinguish as they are extinguished with CO2 or chemical extinguishing agents. Stevedores and crew Members should therefore be prevented from smoking during cargo operations and all external heat sources removed.
Raw sugar is highly sensitive to foreign odours and should not be stored together with odour-emitting products.

Raw sugar is sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils. When exposed to moisture, raw sugar has a tendency to grow mould and form syrup. It may also suffer depreciation as the result of infestation by rats, mice, ants, flies and silverfish.

Note – Raw sugar with a loading temperature above 48oC should not be accepted.
To mitigate or avoid shortage claims, Shipowners and ship managers are advised to carry out draught/tally surveys at both the load and discharge ports. Additionally, the sealing of the hatch covers upon completion of loading may also help.

Detailed records of the entire operation should be maintained, particularly in respect of any spillages or damages to bags. All torn or dirty bags should be replaced with sound cargo. Photographs are a good form of contemporaneous evidence should a disoute arise.

Date updated : 13/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Thailand

Thailand - Risk: Old, damaged bagged rice from Thailand

THAILAND - Risk: Old, damaged bagged rice from Thailand

Rice stored for long periods may have inherent problems unless it has been stored under ideal conditions. Local P&I correspondents have reported that damaged, mouldy bags are loaded on board under the cover of darkness in order to conceal the defective cargo.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners engaged in the bagged rice trade between Southeast Asia, West Africa and points in between are strongly advised to take the necessary precautionary and preventive measures to protect themselves from unnecessary poor cargo quality, cargo shortage and cargo damage claims that arise from the trading of bagged rice cargoes.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefings can be read here.

North’s Loss Prevention guides, including on Hatch Cover Maintenance and Testing amd Draught Surveys are available here.

North’s Loss Prevention ‘Hot-Spots’ provides a ready reference on Hatch Cover Maintenance to read here.

Date updated : 13/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Thailand

Thailand - Risk: Potential damage to bagged rice due to dunnaging in Thailand

THAILAND - Risk: Potential damage to bagged rice due to dunnaging in Thailand

Claims arise from time to time due to dunnaging methods used by Thai stevedores. Stevedores will usually employ 1 of 3 dunnaging methods in Thailand. These are described below.

1. Styrofoam slabs, plastic sheets and paper are used to line the cargo holds and ship’s sides. The cargo is stowed up against this dunnage to eliminate an air space and thus avoid condensation. This method is quite effective but not available at all ports.

2. Locally manufactured reed mats are used, lined on one side with thin sponge-plastic sheets to line out the cargo hold. Since the reed mats are flexible they can be folded around the side frames; they are lined with plastic sheet and one layer of Kraft paper on the outside. This method is quite effective, but should be complemented by a row of gunny bags of saw-dust laid along the tops of the side hoppers under the plastic/paper sheet.

3. Bamboo poles in two or three layers (not more than 6 inches apart) and overlaid with bamboo or reed mats. Bamboo poles are placed across the side frames and a void left. However, with this method, the moisture content within the dunnage can migrate into the bagged cargo and care should be taken to ensure that the bamboo is dry and clean.

Local P&I correspondents have advised that in recent years method 1 (above) has replaced methods 2 and 3 (above), although Shipowners should still be aware of the risks associated with these practices.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that whatever methods of dunnaging are used that a plentiful supply of clean, dry dunnage is provided.
North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on bagged rice cargoes is available to read here

Date updated : 13/03/2017 Date added : 13/01/2015

Vietnam

Vietnam - Risk: Bulk cargo shortage claims in Vietnam

VIETNAM - Risk: Bulk cargo shortage claims in Vietnam

P&I correspondents have reported that bulk cargo shortage allegations are prevalent in Vietnamese ports where cargo discharge weight is widely determined by draft survey.

Draft survey figures are generally binding in Vietnamese ports unless prior agreement is obtained between the ship and shore to use shore figures.

Experienced surveyors are generally based in either Ho Chi Minh City in the south of the country, or Haiphong, which is a 3.5 hour drive from the port of Cai Lan. Time constraints can therefore play a large part in the appointment of suitable surveyors to mitigate any alleged cargo shortages. If the vessel is discharging at anchorage in Halong Bay it can take even longer for the surveyors to arrive on board.

Cargo receivers’ surveyors have been known to manipulate draft survey figures to inflate cargo shortages. They may also insist the Master signs documentation without comment and if the Master refuses such demands, threats of delaying the vessel are usually made.

While all ports in Vietnam appear to target vessels for arrest, receivers in the ports of Phu My (Cai Mep) in the South and Cai Lan in the North are particularly problematic. Cargo receivers do not typically seek to arrest the vessel at its first port; this is to ensure the schedule is not affected for receivers at discharge port. However, because Cai Lan is usually the last discharge port, claims and threat of arrest are more prominent at this port.

The lack of available storage for cargo at Cai Lan increases the risk of shortage/damage claims as cargo needs to be trucked or barged immediately to its final destination. The local courts easily accept an application from cargo receivers for the arrest of the vessel even on a mere allegation of shortage. Trade allowance is not recognised as a matter of law.
Experience shows that some cargo receivers will demand cash settlement instead of security to allow the vessel to sail.

Assessment and Analysis

To mitigate or avoid such shortage claims, Shipowners and ship managers are advised to carry out accurate draught surveys at the load port and each subsequent discharge port. At the discharge port shipowners should consider the prior appointment of a local surveyor to assist the Master with the draught survey and supervising the cargo receivers’ surveyors. The Master should not sign any documentation submitted by cargo receivers before seeking the guidance of the local surveyor and P&I correspondent.

If the cargo is to be discharged directly into trucks, consideration should be given to appointing a firm of tally clerks to record the number of trucks loaded. While this would not necessarily avoid a claim being presented it would put members in a stronger position to defend or negotiate a shortage claim.

Whilst being a prudent measure for other trades, local correspondent’s experience is that in Vietnam, the sealing of the hatch covers upon completion of loading and each subsequent discharge port, is not likely to deter cargo receivers from making a claim.

It is also recommended that Shipowners notify their charterers of the cargo receiver’s allegations of shortage and if discharging is halted, urge Charterers to resume discharging and assist owners to avoid further delays to the vessel, particularly towards the completion of cargo operations.

Date updated : 03/04/2018 Date added : 02/03/2017

Middle East

Iran

Iran - Risk: Iranian sanctions

IRAN - Risk: Iranian Sanctions

Sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union have had a significant impact on trade with Iran.

For the latest information and advice from North’s sanctions team please click here.

Date updated : 27/09/2017 Date added : 27/09/2017

Jordan

Jordan - Risk: Bulk cargo shortage claims in the port of Aqaba

JORDAN - Risk: Bulk cargo shortage claims in the port of Aqaba

At Aqaba, the majority of dry bulk cargo consignments are grains such as wheat, barley corn and soya bean meal. The first two commodities are imported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade as they are strategic commodities and the last two are for the private industrial sector.

The major issue that faces these particular bulk cargoes is short-landing claims that may only be presented after completion of discharge. Such claims will usually be followed by a security demand for the full shortage amount before the Port Authority allows the vessel to sail.

The cargo quantity discharged at Aqaba is determined either by silo readings or by local weigh bridge scales, if cargo is being discharged into trucks. The Port Authority in charge of the discharge operation at Aqaba issue an official report confirming the final figures discharged. Either this outturn report, the supplementary outturn report, or the receivers report describe the condition and quantity of cargo as discharged and received by receivers and is binding in local courts. Draft survey figures are not accepted by either the court or the Port Authority unless evidence is submitted that the contents of the official documentation are either erroneous or forged.

A Trade Allowance of 0.5% of the manifested quantity (for natural loss) is accepted by the courts but is not automatically deducted from the total claim amount as this has to be negotiated.

If a security demand or bank guarantee is required during out of office hours there are procedures in place (Club LOU or P&I correspondents LOU) to prevent delays that permit vessels to sail.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners/ship managers P&I correspondents should be involved from the very outset to check lorries and/or monitor silo figures. It is also advisable that vessels calling at Aqaba should include in their Charter Party a safeguard against cargo shortage claims.

Owners and ship managers should work closely with their Time Charterers and/or shippers to resolve any potential delays, particularly towards the completion of cargo operations.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 01/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Kuwait

Kuwait - Risk: Claims arising from grain cargo shortages in Shuwaikh port, Kuwait

KUWAIT - Risk: Claims arising from grain cargo shortages in Shuwaikh port, Kuwait

Local ship owners and ship managers have advised that cargo is discharged ashore through a shore unloader (conveyor belt) and that cargo quantity is measured by the receiver’s (Kuwait Flour Mills, which is a government-owned entity) shore scales. Local P&I correspondents have advised that the shore scales are highly accurate as they are calibrated by a maker’s technician annually. If there is a discrepancy between ship and shore figures, the receivers rely on shore figures and request either security or an LOU from ship owners or ship managers to secure release of the vessel. Local underwriters, whilst settling the receiver’s claims, may allow a 0.2% trade allowance provided there is such provision in the shipper’s invoices. Any damaged quantity left on board will be treated as shortage. Kuwait Ports Authority also advises from June to November that NO work is permitted between 1100 hrs to 1600 hrs in the Port.

Assessment and Analysis

It is recommended that for all dry bulk cargoes prone to shortage claims, cargo and access hatches should be sealed on completion of loading in the presence of shippers/charterers and that the seals should be confirmed as intact on arrival by receivers.

The Kuwait Flour Mills always appoint an independent surveyor to check the quality and quantity of the cargo. They send a letter of reserve holding the agents and their Principals liable for any shortage and damages to the cargo and the appointment of their surveyors.

Date updated : 25/10/2017 Date added : 20/01/2015

Middle East

Middle East - Risk: Infection from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome - Corona Virus (MERS-CoV)

SAUDI ARABIA & UAE Risk: Infection from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome - Corona Virus (MERS-CoV)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health have reported a sharp increase in the number of diagnosed cases of the Corona Virus MERS-CoV.

A number of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia have been infected leading to their quarantine upon returning home. Most cases have been reported in the cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, but also Abu Dhabi in the UAE. However, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, the USA and now Korea have also reported cases of MERS-CoV infections.

Typical symptoms of MERS-CoV are fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or breathing difficulties, congestion in the nose and throat, diarrhoea and other symptoms suggesting an infection. In advanced cases, serious complications can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and can be potentially fatal.

Assessment and Analysis

Whilst health officials do not know exactly how the virus spreads they stress that hygiene, such as thorough / regular hand-washing, can be a limiting factor.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently advises:

• Hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene (covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing)
• Adhering to good food-safety practices, such as avoiding undercooked meat or food prepared under unsanitary conditions, and properly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them
• Maintaining good personal hygiene

The WHO has published a set of frequently asked questions concerning MERS-CoV and this can be read at MERS-CoV FAQ.

WHO presently does not advise any special screening at points of entry or the application of any travel or trade restrictions.

For the latest information on the outbreak, please go to the World Health Organisation website and the centres for disease control and prevention (CDC) website, particularly the FAQ section: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/

Date updated : 26/01/2017 Date added : 04/06/2015

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia - Risk: Grain cargo shortage claims at Saudi Arabian ports

SAUDI ARABIA - Risk: Grain cargo shortage claims at Saudi Arabian ports

Despite a reduction in grain cargo shortage claims in the last 2-3 years in Saudi Arabia ports, correspondents still recommend as a minimum, that a draught survey is completed at the load and discharge port and where possible, hatches are sealed.

The cargo receiver will issue notice to the agents advising that, in the event of any shortages recorded on completion of discharge, a Club LOU will be required for the value of any short landed cargo before the vessel can sail. These shortages are usually determined by the shore weighbridge figure.

The majority of cargoes (barley/wheat) are typically imported by Saudi Grain Organisation (SAGO) who recognise the trading allowance (0.5%). Providing the shortage as per the weigh scale on completion of discharge is less than 0.5% of the manifested quantity, the vessel will be cleared for departure. However, some smaller importers transporting soya bean meal and corn do not recognise the trading allowance and will demand a P&I Club LOU regardless of the shortage amount.

Legally, shortage claims depend on the contract of carriage and the evidence provided. If the owners have no protection under their contract, then the Saudi Courts are likely to hold owners responsible for any shortages.

Assessment and Analysis

  • Accurate draught surveys should be carried out and compared with the shippers’ figure. In the event of any discrepancies, relevant protests should be submitted.
  • Hatch covers should be sealed on completion of loading.
  • On completion of discharge ensure an ‘Empty Hold Certificate’ is issued.
  • Appoint a surveyor to attend at discharge port to liaise with receivers, who should be present to witness the unsealing of hatch covers.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 03/04/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia - Risk: Potential shortage claims when loading bulk sulphur at Jubail, Saudi Arabia

SAUDI ARABIA - Risk: Potential shortage claims when loading bulk sulphur at Jubail, Saudi Arabia

Formed Sulphur is a by-product of the oil refinery industry in Jubail, or from sour gas processing when it converts molten Sulphur into specific solid shapes (granules in Jubail). It is bright yellow in colour, odourless and is considered non-combustible or with low fire risk. Formed sulphur is categorized by the IMSBC Code as a Group C (Bulk materials which are neither liable to liquefy nor possess chemical hazards) cargo.
The main shipper in Saudi Arabia is Aramco, whose surveyor will typically check that the vessel’s cargo holds are suitable for loading the cargo.
The cargo is loaded via a conveyor & chute system at berth No. 21, Jubail Industrial port which has a variable counter error on the conveyor belt. The cargo must therefore be loaded using draught survey figures carried out by the shipper’s surveyor. In order to determine this variable error factor, the Aramco surveyor would usually perform a second draught survey after loading approximately 70% of cargo. A further trimming survey is carried out towards the completion of cargo operations or with around 1,000MT of cargo to be loaded. Finally a joint draft survey calculation figure would be used for preparation of bill of lading.
The shipper’s surveyor also checks the moisture content of the cargo. The sulphur is brought to the terminal in a molten form and hot steam is passed through it which converts the molten sulphur into granules of about 99% purity. However, despite passing hot steam through the cargo, some moisture remains within the cargo which drains out to the bilges during the course of the passage. Consequently, this process results in a loss of weight at discharge port. Aramco report average moisture content is anything up to 3.5% and is incorporated on the face of the B/L.
Other shippers also procure cargo from Aramco and load at Jubail commercial port by skips.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that accurate draught surveys are carried out throughout the loading operation and all documentation is signed by the shippers/court surveyor. Detailed bilge water records should be kept during the voyage.

Prior to tendering Notice of Readiness, the cargo holds must be clean, swept of all lose debris/cargo remnants and lime washed.

As shippers surveyors often carry out their own hatch cover weather tightness testing, it may be prudent to test all hatch covers prior to their attendance.

Date updated : 27/02/2017 Date added : 03/02/2015

Syria

Syria - Risk: Syrian sanctions

Risk: Syrian sanctions

Both the United States and European Union has imposed extensive trade restrictions and sanctions against Syria in light of the ongoing unrest. These sanctions have had a significant impact on the ability to trade to or from Syria and the ability to trade with Syrian persons and companies.

For the latest information and advice from North’s sanctions team please click here.

Date updated : 28/09/2017 Date added : 28/09/2017

Turkey

Turkey - Risk: Fines for short landing of cargo at Turkish ports

TURKEY - Risk: Fines for short landing of cargo at Turkish ports

Local P&I correspondents report that vessels calling into Turkish ports have become increasingly vulnerable to significant cargo shortage fines (€150,000 - €200,000). Such fines are imposed by customs authorities due to the the alleged difference between the B/L figures and shore figures. Such fines are imposed by the authorities on the basis of lost revenue in the form of customs taxes from the short outturn of cargo.

Shore figures are always considered to be the official cargo quantity, whereas the vessel’s figures (draft survey, tally, ullage reports etc) are not taken into account.

According to the regulations, the maximum tolerated differences (shortage or over shipment) between B/L figures and shore figures are as follows:

* Bulk cargo: 3%
* Liquid cargo: 0.4% - 1% (products and chemicals %0.5, fuel oil and lubricants %0.4)

* Countable cargo: 0%

Customs authorities calculate fines using the CIF value, VAT and any other special tax applicable for each specific type of commodity.

Assessment and Analysis

Local P&I correspondents have provided the following advice in mitigation of customs authority fines:

Customs authority proceedings can be revoked by shipowners, masters, port agents or carriers if they provide a certificate from the load port for the quantity of short landed cargo. This certificate is to state that the cargo was loaded mistakenly or not loaded in the amount as mentioned in cargo manifest. The certificate is then submitted and approved by the Chamber of Commerce and Turkish Embassy or Consulate within three months.

If shipowners, masters, port agents or carriers do not obtain either a corrected manifest or an explanation letter, a fine will be levied as a matter of routine. Afterwards, if amount of fine is paid within a period of 30 days, a reduction of %25 will be granted.

Once the fine is levied, a negotiation meeting between the port agents (as representatives of the shipowners) and customs authorities may be arranged in an effort to reduce the fine amount although there is no certainty that this would be successful.

Date updated : 13/01/2015 Date added : 13/01/2015

Turkey

Turkey - Risk: Issues associated with loading steel products in Turkish ports

TURKEY - Risk: Issues associated with loading steel products in Turkish ports

The main problem with loading steel products in Turkish ports is that most shippers do not share information regarding the production or storage of the cargo. They also do not allow surveyors to inspect the condition of the cargo in their warehouse or storage area prior to loading. Therefore, pre-loading inspections can only be carried out alongside the vessel during loading operations and shippers may request clean Bills of Lading regardless of the condition of the cargo. The main steel production facilities and the ports that are used for loading, belong to the same group of companies. Both shippers and their agents generally try to pressurise the Master and/or surveyor to not include any remarks within the cargo documentation.

We have also received reports of negligence of stevedores, port staff or lashing companies on stowing and securing steel coils.

In the ports of Diliskelesi, Hereke (Izmit) and Nemrut Bay (Izmir), newly produced and extremely hot cargo has been presented for loading, which has raised safety concerns for the vessel and ship/shore personnel.

Stowaways are an enduring risk in Haydarpasa Port

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers are advised to load only clean cargo in order to issue cargo documentation without any remarks. In cases where defective cargo is loaded and shippers refuse to replace it with sound cargo, problems and delays may occur at the time of issuing the cargo documents prior to sailing. Owners should contact their P&I club for advice in these circumstances.

It is also very important that appropriate stowage, dunnaging and securing arrangements of the coils should be confirmed by the vessel’s commands and/or attending surveyors.

All vessels are advised to maintain strict security levels throughout the vessel’s stay in port and exercise stowaway pre-departure procedures.

Date updated : 24/09/2015 Date added : 13/01/2015

UAE

UAE - Risk: Possible delays caused by disembarking crew due to injury or sickness at Fujairah, UAE

UAE - Risk Possible delays caused by disembarking crew due to injury or sickness at Fujairah, UAE

The port of Fujairah has advised that when a crew member is disembarked from their vessel for medical reasons, the vessel shall not be permitted to sail until the crew member recovers and is fit to re-join on board or owners/managers arrange proper repatriation.

Similarly, crew disembarked due to injury must inform local police authorities and the vessel will only be permitted to sail after clearance is obtained and the crew member is duly repatriated.

Assessment and Analysis

If ill or injured crew disembark in Fujairah, close liaison between vessel representatives and the port authorities is required in order to avoid or reduce potential delays.

Date updated : 26/01/2017 Date added : 26/01/2017

Yemen

Yemen - Risk: Fabricated stevedore personal Injury claims in Yemeni ports

YEMEN - Risk: Fabricated stevedore personal Injury claims in Yemeni ports

We have received reports that stevedores are fabricating claims for personal injury at ports throughout Yemen.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship masters and crew should be vigilant and monitor stevedores’ activities whilst on board. Stevedore companies should be immediately notified of all incidents where stevedores have been injured.

Contemporaneous evidence such as statements and photographs should be obtained at the earliest opportunity.

In light of the volatility of the situation throughout Yemen, owners and ship managers are advised to contact their local port agent for the most up to date information on its ports.

Industry news articles on Yemen can be found here.

Date updated : 09/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Yemen

Yemen - Risk: Fines, delays and detention as a result of differences in oil record books and shipboard retention of oils Yemen

YEMEN - Risk: Fines, delays and detention as a result of differences in oil record books and shipboard retention of oils, Yemen

The Maritime Affairs Authority (MAA) in Yemen makes checks of shipboard documentation to assess the pollution risk. The inspectors randomly inspect the vessels calling at Yemen ports and oil terminals. The inspectors routinely check Oil Record Log Books and the Oil Residue Receipts issued at the last port of call. This documentation is compared with the contents of slop tank to ensure that the ship has not discharged any waste oil into Yemen’s territorial waters or Exclusive Economic Zone.

 

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should ensure that all shipboard documentation and records are accurately filled in. The Master should have these documents at hand for inspection by the MAA at any time, not just upon the vessel’s arrival in port.

Yemen also has regulations for the discharging of sewage. Sewage should be discharged only in the area nominated by the port authorities, details of which should be confirmed through local port agent prior to calling at any port in Yemen.

In light of the volatility of the situation throughout Yemen, owners and ship managers are advised to contact their local port agent for the most up to date information on its ports.

Find industry news on Yemen here.

Date updated : 09/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Yemen

Yemen - Risk: Fines, ship arrest and possible delays as a result of late reporting of Fixed and Floating Object (FFO) claims in Yemen

YEMEN - Risk: Fines, ship arrest and possible delays as a result of late reporting of Fixed and Floating Object (FFO) claims in Yemen

A local P&I correspondent has reported incidents where the Pilot launches and tug boats have come into contact with the vessel they are assisting and damages have subsequently been alleged. However, the notification of such incidents has only come several days after they have allegedly occurred.

Pilotage is a requirement at all Yemeni ports and the ship’s Master will be guided by the pilots whilst both berthing and un-berthing.

The carrier is held responsible for any damage to fixed or floating objects (including launches and tugs) irrespective of whose navigational error it was.

Assessment and Analysis

All owners and ship managers should ensure:

1. Masters may find it advantageous to routinely take photographs of any damages to the quay or fenders whilst on approaches, as this may evidence any pre-existing damage
2. Masters should give prompt notification of any alleged FFO claim at the time they occur
3. Masters should promptly issue appropriately worded Letters of Protest to all relevant parties
4. They should appoint independent surveyors to investigate and document any alleged damages
5. Master’s may wish to save Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) recordings of pilotage during visits to Yemeni reports before it is overwritten

Industry news on Yemen can be found here

Date updated : 10/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Yemen

Yemen - Risk: Ship security as a result of the civil war in Yemen

YEMEN - Risk: Ship security as a result of the civil war in Yemen

Yemen’s civil war continues to pose a threat to shipping.

Rea Sea / Gulf of Aden

In June 2017 the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which aims to protect shipping from terrorism and piracy, issued a statement saying it was stepping up its activities in the region, due to “recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb”.

It mentioned two attacks in particular, both thought to be linked to the Yemen conflict. The first was the assault against the LNG tanker GALICIA SPIRIT in October 2016 and the second the attack on the oil tanker MUSKIE in May 2017. Both attacks, whilst unsuccessful, involved the use of high speed boats and “significant amount of explosives”.

A maritime security notice issued by United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) around the same time said: “We assess that it is highly unlikely that international shipping is being directly targeted [by combatants in the Yemen conflict] but there remains a risk of misidentification and miscalculation.”

Incidents that have been reported since then include:

In April 2018 a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, claimed an oil tanker had come under attack by Houthi rebels, in international waters, west of Hodeidah.

In May 2018 there was an explosion on a vessel carrying wheat in the Hodeidah waiting area. Rebel sources said the ship had been struck by a missile; Saudi-led coalition forces said the explosion was from the inside to the outside.

In June 2018 a vessel that had been delivering food aid to the rebel held port of Hodeidah was reported by the World Food Programme to have come under fire from unidentified gunman in a skiff.

Hodeidah

Yemen’s Houthi rebels warned on 9 January 2018, that they would block shipping traffic if Saudi-led coalition forces continued their advance on the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

The warning, published by a Houthi controlled news agency, came from Saleh al-Samad, a senior Houthi leader.“If the aggressors keep pushing towards Hodeidah and if the political solution hits [a] wall, there are some strategic choices that will be taken […..] including blocking international navigation in the Red Sea,” he was quoted as saying.

The port of Hodeidah, which has been in Houthi hands throughout the conflict, has been a crucial entry point for fuel, food and humanitarian aid and supplies.

In June 2018, Yemeni forces – backed by UAE and Saudi Arabia – had advanced to within 10 km of the port. However the port has continued to operate. As of early July 2018, the UN is trying to broker a deal to prevent fighting at, and the closure of, the port of Hodeidah.

As well as the security risk at Hodeidah, there are commercial risks such as delay and disputes arising from problems associated with the vessel clearance procedures. Additionally, financial difficulties (for example, traders having to seek credit outside of Yemen) increase the importance of conducting commercial due diligence.

Assessment and Analysis

All ships sailing through the High Risk Area (HRA) – which includes parts of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden – should register their intentions with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA).

The US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has set up a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) in the Gulf of Aden and Southern Red Sea region. The purpose of the corridor is “to provide a recommended merchant traffic route around which Naval Forces can focus their presence and surveillance efforts. The CMF recommends “that all vessels use the MSTC to benefit from military presence and surveillance.”

Vessels should follow BMP5 and the BIMCO / ICS / INTERTANKO complementary guidance ‘Interim Guidance on Maritime Security in the Southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb (Published 25 January 2018).

Vessels trading to Hodeidah should conduct both additional security and commercial due diligence, including obtaining the very latest information and employing risk assessments, as well as keeping insurers advised and seeking their advice.

UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) clearance is required for vessels calling at Salif and Hodeidah.

Vessels calling at Gulf of Aden ports require Ministry of Transport and Coalition Forces clearance.

Application for permission may take up to two weeks before ships are cleared and granted permission for entry at Yemeni ports.

The situation is fluid and the threats to shipping can change rapidly. Ship operators should carry out detailed risk assessments for each voyage into the area using the latest threat information.

Date updated : 10/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Yemen

Yemen - Risk: Ship arrest as a result of exaggerated cargo shortage claims in Yemen

YEMEN - Risk: Ship arrest as a result of exaggerated cargo shortage claims in Yemen

Vessels are exposed to exaggerated shortage claims in Yemeni ports, particularly Hodeida, Aden and Saleef, that can result in possible ship arrest.

Where disputes arise a claims committee is appointed, which involves the Local Authority (Governor) and the Harbour Master with their appointed surveyor who can be called upon any time to conduct a joint survey with the P&I surveyors to assess the credibility of any claim.

Receivers usually try to pressure owners into quick cash settlements rather than accepting bank guarantees in the port of Hodeida.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers P&I correspondents should be involved from the very outset to check lorries and /or monitor silo figures. Receivers should also be encouraged to attend joint draft surveys.

It is imperative that owners work closely with their time charterers and/or shippers to resolve any potential delays to the vessel, particularly towards the completion of cargo operations.

In light of the volatility of the situation throughout Yemen, owners and ship managers are advised to contact their local port agent for the most up to date information.

Industry news articles on Yemen can be found here.

Date updated : 09/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Yemen

Yemen - Risk: Unexpected expenses and fines arising from the shifting of vessels, arrival draught restrictions and exceeding time allotted for discharge in Hodeida

YEMEN - Risk: Unexpected expenses and fines arising from the shifting of vessels, arrival draught restrictions and exceeding time allotted for discharge in Hodeida

Unexpected expenses and fines can arise relating to shifting and arrival draft, in addition to exceeding the allowed time for discharging at Hodeidah. Owners may also be charged for shifting to accommodate an arriving vessel at very short notice.

A local P&I correspondent has advised that “… being an old and existing regulation of Hodeidah port that in order to berth/accommodate a vessel at the quay, when shifting of other vessels on the berth is required, the shifting expenses of other vessels will always be for the account of the benefiting vessel.”

For vessels arriving at Hodeidah the “permissible” arrival draft is 32 feet (salt water). In cases where the vessels’ arrival draft exceeds 32 feet, a fine of USD 3,000.00 will be levied for every inch over 32 feet.

Vessels can be fined when exceeding the time “allowed” for discharging which is set by the port authorities according to the type of commodity and cargo gear/shore cranes. The fines are levied on the vessel at a rate per LOA per hour, which is presently about US$0.25. Furthermore, should a vessel exceed the time allowed, the authorities are empowered to have her moved from the berth.

Vessel arrests arising from cargo claims are common place at Hodeidah.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers are recommended to appoint their own surveyors to be in attendance throughout the whole discharge operation. An independent surveyor may be able to safeguard the vessel against any inflated claims from cargo interests.

In light of the volatility of the situation throughout Yemen, owners and ship managers are advised to contact their local port agent for the most up to date information on its ports.

Industry news on Yemen can be found here.

Date updated : 09/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Yemen

Yemen - Risk: Sanctions and the US Department of the Treasury Specially Designated Nationals List for Yemen

YEMEN - Risk: Sanctions and the US Department of the Treasury Specially Designated Nationals List for Yemen

For the latest advice regarding sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union, please click here.

Date updated : 21/06/2018 Date added : 22/01/2015

Africa

Algeria

Algeria - Risk: Customs fines due to shortage claims for cargoes shipped to Algeria

ALGERIA -Risk: Customs fines due to shortage claims for grain cargoes shipped to Algeria

Shortage claims in Algerian ports are usually caused by extensive cargo spillage. Such spillages are due to stevedores overloading steel grabs, rough handling resulting in cargo spillage from the hoppers and also from the overloaded receivers’ trucks. The absence of protective tarpaulins between the ship’s side and the quay are also a major factor in shortage claims, where quantities of cargo spilled on the quay are not collected by the receivers/stevedores.

A P&I correspondent has advised that the state owned Office Algérien Interprofessionnel des Céréales (OAIC) is the only company allowed to import wheat cargoes. As this company tends to partly or totally discharge their cargoes to their silos, it is not possible to perform a tally of the trucks alongside the vessel and at the weighbridge since there are no trucks loading cargo directly from the vessel. OAIC generally apply a 0.5% trade allowance and will only present shortage claims if the shortage exceeds this figure.

All other types of bulk cargoes such as soya bean meal and maize continue to be imported by private companies especially at the ports of Skikda and Bejaia, which are well known for the high proportion of shortage claims.

It is also reported that other Algerian ports, such as Algiers, Bejaia, Djendjen, Annaba, Skikda, Mostaganem and Oran are equipped with allegedly inaccurate shore weighbridge scales. While these scales are regularly re-calibrated (in accordance with the statutory metrological regulations), they regularly show shortages, particularly the port of Algiers, where shortages can range between 300 and 1,000MT.

Draft surveys are reported to be ineffective in the defence of shortage claims as Algerian cargo receivers do not take part in them, because they solely rely on the results of the shore weighbridge or silo scales. However, a draft survey at the load port can provide the Algerian courts, port and customs authorities with evidence of the pre-shipment weight determination.

Under Algerian maritime law, stevedores are considered as the carrier’s servants performing their work under the carrier’s supervision and liability, as per the Maritime Code (article 780). Furthermore, in accordance with the Maritime Code (article 802), the stevedores fault or negligence in the conduct of the discharge operation or weighing of the cargo holds the carrier liable to cargo interests, without accepting the principle of trade allowance (article 803) or draft survey figures.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers should consider appointing an independent surveyor and ensure that the following steps are taken to limit their exposure to shortage claims in Algeria:

• Performing a draft survey at the load port
• Sealing of the hatch covers at the load port
• Perform a joint draft survey at the discharge port with witnessed unsealing of the hatches
• Tally of the trucks loaded at the ship’s side
• Tally of trucks at the weigh bridge
• Taking photos of any spillages from grabs, trucks and hoppers
• Inviting the receiver to witness spillages and issue letters of protest where appropriate

Date updated : 09/12/2016 Date added : 19/08/2014

Algeria

Algeria - Risk: Customs fines in Algeria

ALGERIA - Risk: Customs fines in Algeria

P&I Correspondents have reported an increasing trend of customs fines as a result of undeclared cash being discovered on board vessels.

Masters of vessels calling at Algerian ports are under a legal obligation to submit a declaration of all ship’s cash, stores and consumables to the customs authorities.

The Master is also required to submit a manifest of all cash and valuable goods held by each crew member and any other documentation as required by the authorities within 24 hours of the vessel berthing.

Any undeclared cash or valuables are confiscated and the vessel subject to a fine of up to two times the value.

Crew members found to have made a false declaration to the Master may also face a custodial sentence and a fine of up to twice the value of the confiscated cash and/or goods.  However, if a crew member’s manifest was found to be inaccurate without the Master’s prior knowledge, only the crew member would be the subject of further investigation.

With the main reported cause of customs fines being inaccuracies with crew member manifests.  Masters should carefully check that the manifests are accurate before submitting any documentation to the customs authorities.

Customs fines are paid through ship’s agents, they cannot be appealed and the Algerian authorities do not accept a Club Letter of Undertaking.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and shipmanagers with vessels trading to Algerian ports should ensure that Masters are aware of their obligations and that crew manifests and ships customs declarations are accurately completed and submitted within the required time-frame.

Date updated : 12/02/2018 Date added : 07/03/2017

Angola

Angola - Risk: Damages and shortage claims for bagged rice cargoes to Luanda, Angola

ANGOLA - Risk: Damages and shortage claims for bagged rice cargoes to Luanda

P&I correspondents report that damages have been recorded due to rough handling by stevedores in Luanda.

Stevedores often load varying numbers of bag into cargo nets or slings, which can make tallying the cargo difficult. Shortage claims appear to be as a result of mishandling and poor tallying of cargo which has been transported from the ship to the receiver’s warehouse. Cargo is transferred from the ship to the receivers warehouse in nets suspended from forklift trucks, which can also result is torn bags, spillages and cargo shortages.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers are advised that, whether discharging into trucks or into nets for transfer by forklift trucks, draft surveys, tallymen (on the ship and in the warehouse), crew vigilance and an accurate log of the whole discharge operation is essential.

Photographs should be taken of any damages and mishandling of cargo. Regularly maintain accurate records of the whole operation and submit Letters of Protest for any discrepancies to all appropriate parties in the shortest possible time scale.

For further advice on this topic owners and ship managers are advised to contact their local port Agent.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on bagged rice cargoes is available to read here.

North’s Loss Prevention guide on Draught Surveys is available to read here

Date updated : 05/09/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Angola

Angola - Risk: Fines, ship arrest and delays for carrying out non-approved Ship to Ship (STS) operations in Angolan waters

ANGOLA - Risk: Fines, ship arrest and delays for carrying out non-approved bunkering operations in Angolan waters

On the 4th of May 2017 Angolan authorities issued an executive decree relating to bunkering operations within inland waters, territorial seas and the Exclusive Economic Zone. The decree requires that all bunkering operations whether conducted at berth, at anchor or by ship to ship transfer (STS) are only carried out by Angolan bunkering companies licensed by the Oil Ministry of Angola.

Prior to commencing bunkering operations an application must be made to the Angolan authorities for approval.

The application should include the following pieces of information:

  • Name and IMO number of the vessels engaged in the STS operation
  • The place and estimated date of the STS operation
  • Product name and quantity to be transferred during the operation

STS operations can only commence once the Angolan authorities have sent confirmation to the vessel operator. Upon completion of the operation, the vessel/Master must then submit a statement of facts before the vessel can be permitted to sail.  Failure to comply with the requirements may result in heavy fines, ship arrest and delays.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that they are fully aware of the current regulations before committing to STS operations in West Africa.

If there is any uncertainty as to the limits of the territorial sea, contiguous zone and EEZ, guidance should be sought from port agents and/or local P&I correspondents.

Date updated : 05/09/2018 Date added : 17/04/2015

Benin

Benin - Risk: Cargo issues, fines and no fender protection at Cotonou Port, Benin

BENIN - Risk: Exaggerated shortage claims resulting in customs fines

Shipowners should be aware of reported cargo shortages; cargo damage, including handling damage and alleged pilferage by stevedores at Cotonou Port, Benin. At present there is confusion around how the final cargo weight will be determined and which figures will be accepted by customs. Typically, it is the stevedores’ final outturn report which is used however there have been recent cases where customs have requested the draught survey results be taken as the final figure. Correspondents recommend that Owners arrange for an independent draught survey to be carried out by a reputable company, including an Owner’s tally survey, independent of Charterers’ tally survey. Any cargo shortage or overlanding may potentially result in custom fines. Typically these fines will have to be settled before the vessel sails, failure to do so may result in the ship being arrested.

Correspondents also advise that berths at this port are allegedly old and some may be without protecting fenders. Owners may be held accountable for any damages done to port structures including those damaged during assisted manoeuvres.

Assessment and Analysis

Local correspondents recommend shipowners take the following precautions when calling at this port:

1. An Owner’s tally survey, independent of Charterers’ tally survey should be carried out at the load port and all reports countersigned by all parties.
2. Owners should appoint a competent surveyor to protect their interests.
3. Bunkering is not recommended at this port due to an increased risk of piracy attacks.
4. An independent draught survey should be completed by a reputable company.
5. Hatch covers should be sealed and supported with a sealing certificate including an unsealing survey. This should be witnessed and signed accordingly by all relevant parties.
6. Shipowners should exercise care in approaching any berth without protecting fenders.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on bagged rice cargoes is available here.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 03/05/2018 Date added : 22/01/2015

Cameroon

Cameroon - Risk: Fines and delays as a result of exaggerated cargo claims at the port of Douala

CAMEROON - Risk: Fines and delays as a result of exaggerated cargo claims at the port of Douala

Typical claims at Douala are:

* Excessive cargo claims from receivers/cargo underwriters

* Customs fines due to shortage allegations

* Request for security: LOU (agreed by some cargo underwriters but not always by receivers), bank guarantee.

* Arrest of vessels if the cargo interest’s claims are not satisfied

Stowaways are also a risk at Douala, usually entering the vessel whilst moored alongside leading to significant delays.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should instruct their crews to be vigilant and maintain strict gangway watches throughout their vessel’s stay in Douala. If any person boarding the vessel (stevedores, agents, ship chandlers, cleaners, immigration, ship repairers and contractors) does not have a port permit then the person should be refused access to the vessel. If necessary, the person should be taken to the bottom of the gangway and port security notified.

Owners and ship managers should take the following steps to reduce the potential for claims arising:

* Conduct accurate draught surveys at the load port

* If any appreciable difference noted at the load port, a suitably worded letter of protest is to be submitted

* Seal all the hatches at the load port

* Ensure seals are still intact at the discharge port

* Conduct accurate draught surveys at the discharge port

* To ensure that no trucks are unaccounted for during the discharge operation, conduct a truck tally at the ship’s side

Owners and ship managers should contact the local ships agent for further details.

Date updated : 12/03/2018 Date added : 22/01/2015

Cameroon

Cameroon - Risk: Fines imposed for sewage treatment plant effluent non-compliance

CAMEROON - Risk: Fines imposed for sewage treatment plant effluent non-compliance

Reports of vessels calling at the port of Douala, Cameroon are being subjected to rigorous Port State Control (PSC) inspections of sewage treatment plant and effluent discharges.

Local correspondents have advised that the inspections are primarily to identify violations of MARPOL Annex IV with particular regard to the effluent standards stated in IMO Resolutions MEPC.2 (VI) for ships built prior 2010 and MEPC.159 (55) for ships built from 2010. These inspections can potentially result in vessel delays and threat of large fines. The ship’s agent can usually mitigate this threat by issuing the authorities with an appropriately worded guarantee.

Several samples are taken from the sewage treatment plant; one is retained by the vessel whilst the other is dispatched ashore in the custody of the ship’s agent. The shore samples are separately supplied for testing by at least two independent laboratories (typically BOCOM International, HYDRAC, AGRO LABO…) and the results compared with Resolutions MEPC.2(VI) / Resolutions MEPC.159 (55) limits, which are as follows:

Ship built prior 2010: Resolutions MEPC.2 (VI) apply the following
1. Fecal Coliforms: 250 coliforms/100ml
2. Suspended solids: 50 mg/L
3. BOD5: 50 mg/L

Ship built from 2010: Resolutions MEPC.159 (55) apply the following
1. Fecal Coliforms: 100 coliforms/100ml
2. Suspended solids: 35 mg/L
3. BOD5: 25 mg/L

Local P&I correspondents have advised that the testing process can take up to 10 days to complete and the costs which are borne by the ship, vary between US$1,000 to US$3,000.

The Ministry of the Environment can impose fines for other deficiencies such as for inefficiency of the sewage treatment plant, the absence of a sewage holding tank and the absence of a sewage water analysis test certificate (dated within the last 12 months). Fines are levied in accordance with law No96/12 of 5 August 1996 in the region of a minimum of US$16,615 to a maximum of US$83,072 (depending on the USD fluctuant rate) and/or imprisonment for a period of 6 months.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers should ensure that all sewage treatment plant on board their vessels is in full working order and certification is available for inspection. Owners may also consider appointing an independent laboratory to test the sewage plant effluent for compliance with MARPOL Resolutions MEPC.2 (VI) / Resolutions MEPC.2 159 (55) prior to calling at a Cameroon port.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 03/04/2018 Date added : 09/12/2016

Cameroon

Cameroon - Risk: Vessels grounding in the approaches to Douala port, Cameroon

CAMEROON - Risk: Vessels grounding in the approaches to Douala port, Cameroon

There have been a number of instances where vessels have grounded in the approaches to the port of Douala.

Local P&I correspondents have advised that Douala port has been neither properly nor regularly dredged for several years now. Consequently, the recorded and actual river depths in the channel and the port are unreliable.

It is also reported that most of the buoys in the approaches to the port are either unlit, missing or out of position, hence their reliability for position fixing is questionable.

It has been reported that vessels have frequently been asked to proceed further upstream beyond the charted pilot boarding station and that undertaking such a river passage without a pilot on board may also be a contributory factor in groundings.

Port congestion plays a large part in vessel groundings and may result in significant delays being encountered during berthing and departure from Douala port.

Assessment and Analysis

P&I correspondents recommend that vessels calling at Douala port should either berth on the spring tide (from 2.60m) or arrange lightering during periods of port congestion or delays in berthing.

Owners and ship managers should ensure that vessels calling at the port of Douala have in place a detailed berth to berth voyage plan.

For the latest information on the Port of Douala, Masters of vessels should contact their local port agent and/or P&I correspondent.

Members should contact their P&I Club should they require further information.

Date updated : 01/11/2017 Date added : 23/03/2015

Cote d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire - Risk: Delays resulting from port officials' refusal to land stowaways at Abidjan and San Pedro, Cote d'Ivoire

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Delays resulting from port officials' refusal to land stowaways at Abidjan and San Pedro, Cote d'Ivoire

Although the Cote d’Ivoire government and its Transport Minister issued circular 256 lifting the ban on landing stowaways, recent reports have indicated this is not being observed.

Local P&I correspondents have advised of two cases where stowaways were located on board whilst transiting the West African waters and the ship deviated to Cote d’Ivoire ports. In both cases the local port authority refused to accept the stowaways and they were diverted to Nigerian ports where they were accepted by the local port authority.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should ensure that all crew members remain vigilant throughout their stay in the region. Additionally, we recommend conducting a thorough stowaway search prior to the vessel’s departure from ports within this region.

North’s loss prevention briefing on the topic of stowaways can be read here.

Date updated : 22/02/2018 Date added : 20/01/2015

Cote d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire - Risk: Fines imposed by customs officials due to inaccuracies in customs documentation at Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Fines imposed by customs officials due to inaccuracies in customs documentation at Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

Local P&I correspondents have notified us that Abidjan customs officials impose heavy fines for minor inaccuracies in customs declarations.

Local P&I correspondents report that fines have been imposed due to a failure to declare personal belongings kept within the ship’s bonded stores.

During the course of inspections, customs officials also measure the weight of paint cans, count consumables and issue fines for any differences from those declared.

Ships also receive customs fines for differences between the declared cargo manifest and the stevedores’ outturn figures.

A gangway watchman is compulsory at the port of Abidjan; they are typically arranged by the port agent.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers are therefore advised to:

1. Prepare customs declarations prior to berthing, having received, in advance, written confirmation of the latest requirements from the local port agent.

2. The Master should personally receive the customs officers on board for formalities concurrently with the agent.

3. Ensure that all stores and bunkers, including food, paint, stationery, crew personal effects etc. have been accurately declared.

4. Place all the customs papers in a separate file to be checked by the ship’s agent before their presentation to the customs boarding officer.

5. Check that any modification to the manifest is properly completed and declared, and do not sign any document submitted by the customs authorities without fully understanding its contents. If for any reason the documentation is not ready by the time the vessel berths, it might be prudent to delay access to the ship by keeping the gangway up after the agent’s boarding, until all declarations are completed and controlled by the agent, and ready to be handed to the customs officer. Before arrival, the Master should ask port agents to notify Abidjan customs officials of the vessel’s pending arrival.

The Customs General Administrations (S.C.E.S) Offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Port agents and P&I correspondents recommend that a quote is obtained for port security services prior to the vessel’s arrival and if discharging food stuff, the cargo must be discharged under observation by the port police.

If you have any further information, please contact your local P&I correspondent and/or ships agent.

Date updated : 22/02/2018 Date added : 20/01/2015

Cote d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire - Risk: Ship arrest as a result of paper shortage claims in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Ship arrest as a result of paper shortage claims in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

Local P&I correspondents have reported problems with the discharge of bulk wheat cargo in Abidjan due to inaccuracies in stevedores weighbridge figures, which have created significant paper shortage claims.
Upon making a comparison between weighing a truck on the stevedore weighbridge and again on the shore warehouse weighbridge (managed by the Ivorian Chamber of Commerce), a shortfall of 0.75 mt was recorded.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers P&I correspondents should be involved from the very outset and suggest requesting:
1. A joint draft survey prior to the commencement of discharge
2. An up to date weighbridge calibration certificate by a reputable organisation
3. A joint tally survey of the loaded trucks with countersigned documentation
4. A comparison of truck weights using the stevedore’s weighbridge and those managed by the Cote d’Ivoire Chamber of Commerce
5. Taking photos of any spillages from grabs, trucks and hoppers
6. Inviting the receiver to witness spillages and issue letters of protest where appropriate
7. A joint draft survey upon the completion of discharge

It is imperative that owners work closely with their time charterers and/or shippers to resolve any potential delays to the vessel, particularly towards the completion of cargo operations.

Date updated : 16/04/2018 Date added : 20/01/2015

Cote d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire - Risk: Difficult navigation and port conditions in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Difficult navigation and port conditions in Abidjan

Local correspondents report various repair works are currently underway at Abidjan port causing congestion. The main cause of disruption is the building of a new container terminal, which has led to the closure of berths: 16, 17 and 18. Correspondents also report that the depths alongside these berths are not accurately recorded, with reports of vessels touching bottom at berths 13 and 14. During rainy seasons the salinity of port waters varies greatly.

Advice from correspondents is to provide written confirmation of vessel’s draft to the agents and charterers in order to ensure that the selected berth is appropriate for the vessel’s arrival draft. Confirmation should also be sought from the pilot on board that the intended berth is suitable for the vessel. Obtaining written confirmation of updated port depths from the agent, charterers and last dredging campaign is also recommended.

Any vessel due to call at Siveng berth should note that the quay has been damaged twice in a three year period. This damage resulted in a partial collapse of the quay even though no hard contact from the vessel was reported. Vessels are advised to take particular care when calling at this berth.

Due to on-going repair work, vessel movements within the port limits may be disrupted and port transits may be limited to specific hours. Correspondents recommend that prior to commencing any approach to the port the intended plan is fully discussed with pilots to ensure that the manoeuvre can be completed safely.

Assessment and Analysis

• Submit written confirmation of the vessel’s draft to agents and charterers.
• Obtain written confirmation of updated port depths from the agent, charterers and last dredging campaign.
• Confirm with the pilot that the intended berth is suitable for the vessel’s draft.
• Take particular when calling at Siveng berth.
• Discuss the intended plan with the pilot prior to commencing any approach to the port.

Date updated : 12/03/2018 Date added : 21/02/2018

Egypt

Egypt - Risk: Fines for fender damage claims in Egyptian ports

EGYPT- Risk: Fines for fender damage claims in Egyptian ports

Local correspondents have offered the below advice when dealing with fender damage incidents at Egyptian ports:

Once damage has been alleged by the port authority, the vessel is not permitted to sail until one of the following is put in place:

· The vessel’s agent must sign a non-negotiable guarantee containing an admission of liability. However, such a guarantee is only accepted by port authority in certain circumstances.
· The claim is fully covered by a certified bank cheque in favour of the port authority.
· The claim is covered by an unconditional bank guarantee.

Assessment and Analysis

We therefore recommend the following actions are taken to minimise the risk of such claims arising:

• The vessel’s agent should be asked to visually inspect fenders mounted on the quay prior to the vessel berthing and again upon departure, and promptly report any damages to the port authority by a formal letter supported with photographs.
• The vessel’s master master may wish to consider taking photographs of any fender suspected to be damaged, missing or found to be in poor condition prior to berthing. The agents should be notified promptly of such damages so they can be reported to the port authority.
• Owners may wish to consider appointing a surveyor to inspect fenders before arrival, during berthing and after departure, notifying the agent of any damages.

Date updated : 21/02/2018 Date added : 24/07/2015

Gabon

Gabon - Risk: Fines imposed by customs officials due to inaccuracies in port clearance documentation at Port Gentil, Gabon

GABON - Risk: Fines imposed by customs officials due to inaccuracies in port clearance documentation at Port Gentil, Gabon

Local P&I correspondents have notified us that Gabonese Merchant Marine and Customs officials impose heavy fines on vessels for inaccuracies in clearance documentation.

Port State Control inspectors do not accept copies of ship’s documents and certificates or electronic versions, only originals will be accepted. If original documents are not on board, fines are imposed resulting in potential delays to the ship.

An immigration officer will also board the vessel to verify all passports and seaman books are valid, as well as a local garbage removal company, which is compulsory. Advice from correspondents is to remain polite and patient and if any issues arise, contact the local agent.

Assessment and Analysis

According to Gabonese Customs, the clearance documentation must contain the following information:

* The name of the vessel

* The name of the Master

* The name of the previous port (for inward clearance) and name of the port of destination (for outward clearance)

* The name of the Gabonese port if the vessel is in transit and loading further cargo

* The date of issuance of clearance and the date of departure of the vessel

* The quantity loaded or discharged

* The vessel’s Flag Administration

* The signature and stamp of the Custom services

* The clearance document must be free of any alterations

Before arrival, the Master should ask port agents to notify Gabonese Merchant Marine and customs officials of the vessel’s eta and pending arrival.

Date updated : 29/05/2018 Date added : 20/01/2015

Ghana

Ghana - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Takoradi Port in Ghana may be prone to liquefaction

GHANA - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Takoradi may be prone to liquefaction

P&I correspondents have reported a number of cases where Bauxite loaded at Takoradi have failed can-tests. Over the past year, specialists in this field have advised about shipments from the same location under very similar circumstances. Masters have complained about visibly wet cargo being loaded expressing concern about the potential risk of liquefaction during the loaded voyage.

Bauxite is listed as a Group C cargo in the IMSBC Code – i.e. one that neither liquefies nor possesses chemical hazards. As a Group C cargo, Bauxite is described in the IMSBC Code as a cargo containing moisture content between 0% and 10% and should be 70% to 90% if lumps of 2.5mm to 500mm and 10-30% if in powder form. Hence, Bauxite cargoes falling outside this description should not be classified as Group C cargo.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers should ensure that the shipper’s cargo declaration complies with the requirements and schedule set out in the IMSBC Code.

The loading operation should be monitored throughout and can tests should carried out in accordance with the IMSBC Code.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on liquefaction can be read on the Club’s website here.

 

Date updated : 19/09/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Ghana

Ghana - Risk: Stowaways at Ghanaian ports

GHANA - Risk: Stowaways boarding or being discovered at Tema Port or Takoradi ports, Ghana

P&I correspondents confirm the issue of stowaways attempting to board vessels in Tema and Takoradi is still prevalent.

A recent statement from the Port Security Manager at Tema Port was published in local news advising improved security systems including, CCTV and enhanced port security are in place. Dogs have also been trained to assist with search and are in operation.

Ghanaian immigration law states that any foreign person/stowaway discovered onboard the vessel must be repatriated to their homeland and all costs related to their disembarkation and repatriation will be for the shipowner’s account. This can include fines of up to US$ 5,000 per stowaway.

Assessment and Analysis

In order to minimise the potential risk of a stowaway boarding the vessel whilst engaged in cargo operations, the ship’s crew should remain vigilant throughout the vessel’s call in port.

After completion of cargo operations, the crew should perform a thorough stowaway search. Enhanced security measures should be maintained until the vessel clears the outer roads.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on the topic of stowaways can be read at here.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Guinea

Guinea - Risk: Threat of armed robbery at Conakry Anchorage, Guinea

GUINEA - Risk: armed robbery at Conakry Anchorage

Armed robbers pose a threat to vessels at Conakry Anchorage in Guinea.

Assessment and Analysis

The number of reported incidents of armed robbery has dropped since three were reported in a three month period in 2016 but Conakry Anchorage continues to be listed as a Piracy Prone Area by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

In one of the most recently recorded incidents intruders armed with knives and crowbars boarded a merchant vessel during the hours of darkness in September 2017.

They attempted to kidnap the master but fled after 15 minutes, taking with them some ship’s property.

Criminals tend to be opportunistic and if a vessel appears well defended with demonstrable crew alertness they may move onto the next ship. Vessels should maintain a high level of surveillance, particularly at night. If possible efforts should be made to improve physical defences, addressing low freeboard, vulnerable lines or anchor chains and hawse pipes.

Date updated : 21/06/2018 Date added : 23/11/2016

Libya

Libya - Risk: Status of, and security at, Libyan ports

LIBYA - Risk: status of, and security at, Libyan Ports

Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) has reopened four oil export terminals that had been closed following fighting and a blockade that were part of Libya’s ongoing civil unrest.

NOC said in mid-July 2018 that it was resuming exports from Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina and Hariga.

It said that the ports had been restored to its control on July 11, allowing it to lift a force majeure on export contracts.

A tanker at the Hariga terminal started loading the same afternoon, according to a port source quoted by Reuters.

Operations at Es Sider, Ras Lanuf were expected to resume more slowly due to the damage suffered by both facilities since fighting erupted at the terminals in June.

Assessment and Analysis

The four ports that have resumed operations had been blockaded by factions opposed to the UN-backed Libyan government based in Tripoli.

The factions, that control much of the east of the country, claimed that Libya’s oil revenue were being unfairly distributed.

Although they have come under intense international pressure to lift their blockade the latest deal reached with NOC and with the Tripoli government is likely to be fragile.

NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla has called for transparency as to how ‘every dinar’ of Libya’s oil wealth is spent but there has been little progress in reducing the economic power of the country’s rival armed groups.

The situation in Libya remains extremely volatile and vessel operators should contact local ship’s agents and P&I Correspondents for the most up-to-date information on Libyan ports.

Vessels should report their schedules (to local port agents) prior to arrival at any Libyan port, including a declaration of the vessel’s sailing route, whether they are loading or discharging cargo and the type of cargo on board, so that the agents can notify the appropriate authorities.

Vessels should avoid navigating in the coastal waters of Benghazi, Derna and Sirte, including the militarised area south of 34o00’N.

Navarea III warning 225/2016 recommends that all vessels navigating within close proximity to the militarised area south of 34o00’N should proceed with extreme caution and report their position to the nearest Coastal Station in order to receive a safe track-line.

A Port Security Advisory published by the US Coast Guard (3-17) on 20 December 2017 cautions all vessels approaching Libyan oil terminals to proceed with extreme caution.

Reports of violence and criminal activity including recent attempts by armed, non-state actors to engage in illicit export of oil are still common, particularly in the eastern region of Libya.

In addition to the above, the U.S. Government has concerns regarding whether the port facility security requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code are still being comprehensively executed and maintained.

The latest Port Security Advisory published by the US Coast Guard (3-17) of 20 December 2017 cautions all vessels approaching Libyan oil terminals to proceed with extreme caution. Reports of violence and criminal activity including recent attempts by armed, non-state actors to engage in illicit export of oil are still common, particularly in the eastern region of Libya.
Any vessels wishing to enter the United States after calling to Libya as one of their last five ports of call will need to comply with the conditions of entry in accordance with the US Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA).

Take measures consistent with the ship’s security plan equivalent to Security Level 2 while in port in Libya.
Ensure that each access point to the ship is guarded and that the guards have total visibility of the exterior (both landside and waterside) of the vessel
Attempt to clarify security responsibilities between the vessel and the port facility
Document/record specific actions taken in the ship’s security records required by Part A, Section 10 of the ISPS Code 6.
Report the actions taken directly to the cognizant U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port prior to arrival in the USA.

Failure to comply with any of the above conditions may see the vessel refused entry to the United States.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 31/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Libya

Libya - Risk: Sanctions and US Treasury Specially Designated Nationals List, Libya

LIBYA - Risk: Sanctions and US Treasury Specially Designated Nationals List, Libya

For the latest advice regarding Sanction imposed by the United States and European Union, please click here.

Date updated : 07/06/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Libya

Libya - Risk: Ship arrest for loading banned illicit crude oil from Libya

LIBYA - Risk: Ship arrest for loading banned illicit crude oil from Libya

On 19 March 2014, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2146 banning illicit crude oil exports from Libya and called on the Libyan government to contact the concerned vessels flag state authority in the first instance, should they have reason to suspect illicit crude oil export.

This decision follows on from events in March 2014 in which the Korean-flagged vessel MORNING GLORY illicitly loaded crude oil from the rebel-held port of Sidra. The vessel, carrying an estimated 20 million USD in cargo, was later seized by the US Navy in international waters off the coast of Cyprus at the request of both Libya and Cyprus.

The UN resolution authorizes states to inspect any suspect vessels and to prohibit vessels from entering their ports, unless entry is for the purpose of an inspection, or to deal with an emergency.

UN resolution 2146 can be read here.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers are advised to exercise due diligence prior to fixing their vessel to ensure that there are no sanctions against the activity, which will usually be related to the relevant cargo, and to ensure that Libyan parties involved in the transaction are not listed as Designated Persons by the EU or Specially Designated Nationals by the US.

Owners might also consider including a clause in the charterparty whereby charterers provide owners with a warranty that no party designated by the EU or US is involved in any way. BIMCO have developed a Designated Entries Clause for Charter Parties for this purpose.

The US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control Specially Designated Nationals List can be found here.

The HM Treasury Consolidate List of Targets can be found here.

The latest USCG Port Security Advisory (1-16) can be read here.

Check the US position at: US Sanctions

Check on the EU position at: EU Sanctions

As the situation in Libya is extremely volatile, owners and ship managers should liaise with local ship’s agents and P&I correspondents for the most up-to-date information prior to calling at Libyan ports.

Date updated : 03/04/2017 Date added : 26/03/2015

Libya

Libya - Risk: Fines issued for delays in discharging at Misurata, Libya

LIBYA - Risk: fines issued for delays in discharging at Misurata, Libya

It is reported that fines are being levied for delays incurred during discharge operations whilst alongside at Misurata, Libya.

Assessment and Analysis

Fines may be levied by the port authorities after a stoppage of 5 hours and apply even where the delay is due to shore side being unable to receive cargo. Irrespective of who caused the delays, the shipowner will be expected to pay the fines. Failure to make payment could see vessels being detained by port authorities.

Date updated : 15/11/2018 Date added : 20/07/2017

Libya

Libya - Risk: Tankers and their crews being detained, suspected of oil smuggling, Libya

Libya – Risk: Tankers and their crews being detained on suspicion of oil smuggling

Naval forces controlled by Libya’s U.N.-backed government in Tripoli are continuing to detain vessels engaged in, or suspected of, oil smuggling.

Tankers operating offshore along Libya’s western coast between Zawiya and the Tunisian border are most at risk of coming under suspicion.

The authorities target vessels they believe have loaded oil without authorisation or to have been otherwise trading illegally in oil products.

Seafarers are also being detained and can face criminal charges.

In one case decided by a Tripoli court in March 2018 the crew of a tanker seized by the authorities two years before were sentenced to jail for up to six years.

The tanker itself was confiscated.

The court also imposed fines totalling 4.5 million US dollars.

Assessment and Analysis

Libya is struggling to achieve stability following the fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The U.N.-backed government in Tripoli believes oil smuggling is a major source of finance for militias fighting for its overthrow.

Mustafa Sanalla, Chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), said in March 2018 that as much as 40 percent of the oil and fuel crossing Libya’s borders was smuggled or stolen.

He estimated that smuggling was costing the country $750 million a year.

Libya’s oil production used to account for 95 percent of the country’s export earnings and the Tripoli government has made ending the smuggling one of its top priorities.

The government regards NOC as the sole legitimate exporter of oil and oil products.

NOC, meanwhile, is considering using a chemical marking system to help trace oil smuggled out of the country and it has called on a European countries to seize ships found to be carrying smuggled cargo.

Tankers approaching Libyan waters should exercise extreme caution and only use official navigation routes when heading towards Libyan ports.

Operators should obtain a certificate of origin for any oil loaded in Libya to show that it has been supplied by NOC or one of its legal entities.

Tankers delivering fuel oil to Libya should sail directly out of Libyan waters once they have discharged their cargo as any deviation or delay could be seen as suspicious.

Prior to calling at Libyan ports operators should contact local agents and P&I correspondents for up-to-date information.

Date updated : 23/05/2018 Date added : 23/05/2018

Mozambique

Mozambique - Risk: Liquefaction from incorrectly declared chrome cargoes

Chrome cargoes causing confusion in Mozambique

Incorrectly declared chrome concentrate bulk cargoes are causing confusion during loading in Maputo.

Shippers exporting chrome-based bulk cargoes from Mozambique are using several different terms to describe the cargo. This has led to inaccuracies in describing the actual cargo and could lead to the ship’s crew thinking a cargo is safe when it is at risk of liquefying.

Terms commonly used by shippers are chrome ore, chromite ore, chrome ore concentrate and chrome concentrate.

They have been used interchangeably by some shippers as if they are describing one type of cargo. But in fact, there are two very different types of cargo:

1. Chromite ore – this is an unprocessed commodity and is a listed schedule in the IMSBC Code. It is a Group C cargo which means it should not liquefy.

2. Chrome concentrate – this is an ore that has undergone some form of processing and would ordinarily come under the MINERAL CONCENTRATES schedule in the IMSBC Code. It is a Group A cargo which means there is a risk of liquefaction. For these cargoes the cargo declaration should be accompanied by laboratory test certificates for moisture content (MC) and transportable moisture limit (TML) in accordance with the IMSBC Code.

Assessment and Analysis

Members should be aware that cargo quality, with particular regard to moisture content, varies between different shippers as does the accuracy in describing the cargoes. Check very closely the shipper’s declaration and any accompanying certificates prior to loading.

It is understood that stockpiles of these cargoes are uncovered and are therefore exposed to the elements, increasing the risk of liquefaction. If there has been significant rainfall, ensure the shipper re-tests stockpiles for moisture content and they provide new certificates accordingly.

The reliability of TML and MC certification provided has been noted to be suspect from some shippers. Subsequent re-testing by an owner’s appointed laboratory often provides very different results. Do not wholly rely on shippers’ test results and be suspicious of any speedily re-issued test certificates.

The potential for misdeclaring Group A cargoes as Group C highlights the need for the vessel’s crew to remain vigilant before and during the loading process as well as throughout the voyage. During loading, check for signs of splattering in the holds and carry out regular can tests in accordance with IMSBC Code instructions.

Ships’ masters and crews may find North’s Hot-Spots on liquefaction useful as it provides simple and clear advice on what to check and what to do.

If in doubt, contact the club and consider appointing a surveyor to assist the master.

Date updated : 23/08/2018 Date added : 23/08/2018

Nigeria

Nigeria - Risk: Nigerian navy may arrest vessels employing the services of armed security guards

NIGERIA – Risk: Nigerian navy arrest vessels employing the services of armed security guards

A local P&I correspondent has reported a possible dispute between the Nigerian Navy and one or more of the following: the Nigerian Marine Police, the Nigerian Police and/or the “Joint Task Force.”

Owners/ship managers of vessels operating within the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and territorial waters should be aware that they may be at risk of potentially significant liabilities and delays if they employ armed guards on board their vessels who are sourced from the Nigerian Marine Police, the Nigerian Police or the “Joint Task Force”.

This appears to apply regardless of whether the armed guard policemen are sourced by an agent or a PMSC (Private Maritime Security Company).

Assessment and Analysis

Owners/ship managers are advised that the only legitimate method of acquiring armed security protection in territorial waters and the Nigerian EEZ is by utilising the services of the Nigerian Navy.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 11/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Nigeria

Nigeria - Risk: Illegal boarding of vessels at berth and at anchor, in Lagos port

Nigeria - Risk: Sharp rise in the number of vessels being boarded by intruders

The first half of 2018 saw a sharp rise in the number of vessels being boarded by intruders whilst in Lagos port or anchorage

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre detailed 14 cases from January to mid-July, up from just six cases in the whole of 2017.

Assessment and Analysis

Illegal boarding of vessels in Nigerian ports and anchorages generally takes place at night.

Intruders appear intent on petty theft, targeting ship’s stores and any items that come easily to hand.

They generally clamber aboard using ropes or the vessels’ anchor chains.

The intruders generally flee if confronted or when an alarm is raised and there are few reports of violence – although some incidents have involved crew members being tied up while a  robbery is taking place.

The extent of the problem is believed to be more widespread than the IMB statistics suggest as many incidents, particularly if nothing is stolen, are thought to go unreported.

Vessels visiting Lagos and other Nigerian ports should take precautions against illegal boarding.

Crew members should maintain a good visual and radar watch for small craft, especially at night.

When possible, ships at anchor or at berth should illuminate their sides. Ladders and ropes should be secured and stowed away.

Date updated : 10/07/2018 Date added : 10/07/2018

Nigeria / Gulf of Guinea

Nigeria / Gulf of Guinea - Threat: Attacks on vessels and crew abduction

NIGERIA/GULF OF GUINEA: Risk - Piracy threat in Gulf of Guinea

Ships in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly in waters off Nigeria, remain vulnerable to pirate attack.

“Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are against all vessels,” said a spokesman for the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) piracy monitoring service, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

“Crews have been taken hostage and kidnapped from fishing and refrigerated cargo vessels as well as product tankers.”

The spokesman was commenting on IMB figures suggesting there had been 29 incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in the first three months of 2018, including the hijacking of two product tankers.

The true number of attacks against ships and their crews in the Gulf of Guinea is likely to be significantly higher as many – perhaps as many as 60% – are thought to go unreported.

Assessment and Analysis

Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have been clustered off Nigeria, especially in waters south of Port Harcourt and Bonny Island in the Niger Delta.

There have also been attacks in the neighbouring coastal state of Benin. The two hijackings of product tankers were from Cotonou Anchorage.

Piracy is not restricted to coastal waters, some attacks have been reported almost 200 nautical miles from the shore.

Pirate activity falls into three categories; armed robbery, which tends to be opportunistic; cargo theft, typically from product and chemical tankers; and kidnapping.

Cases of cargo theft fell in 2016 and 2017 with pirates preferring to kidnap seafarers for ransom.

Perpetrators are often armed and violent. Attacks typically involve assailants coming alongside vessels in small boats and using ladders, ropes and hooks to clamber on-board.

With more than 10 nations sharing the shores of the Gulf of Guinea a regional anti-piracy policy has been difficult to establish.

There is no UN framework for third party navies to operate in the region and many West African jurisdictions are hostile to the deployment of on-board armed security teams.

All waters in and off Nigeria and the wider Gulf of Guinea should be seen as dangerous.

The greatest risk of attack is at night. Vessels are advised to minimise time spent in anchorages and to avoid slow steaming. They are also advised to take ‘hardening’ measures and to carefully monitor the approach of unknown skiffs.

Evasive action and the use of citadels have also proved effective in frustrating pirate assaults.

Date updated : 09/07/2018 Date added : 11/04/2018

Senegal

Senegal - Risk: Senegalese authorities forbid the landing of stowaways at the port of Dakar, Senegal

SENEGAL - Risk: Senegalese authorities forbid the landing of stowaways at the port of Dakar

The Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs issued a circular dated 2nd July 2014 which covers the authority’s decision to forbid the landing of stowaways at the port of Dakar unless it is proven that the stowaways boarded the vessel at a Senegalese port. The Senegalese Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs also reserve the right to sanction any vessel that fails to adhere to this circular and the change of rules that are currently in force.

Fighting Illegal Emigration

 

Circular no. 02274/PAD/DG/DOP/COP/SS dated 15 July 2015 reminds port users that the following security measures concerning watchmen and access to vessels in the port apply at all times:

For vessels at berth:

Four watchmen should be deployed as follows:
• Two at the gangway of the vessel
• One at the bow of the vessel
• One at the stern of the vessel

Access to the vessels:
• All personnel boarding and disembarking from vessels must be identified and counted;
• This information should be logged.

Once they have been appointed, some security companies have not been fully respecting the security measures listed above. Any failure to meet the above requirements will be sanctioned, in accordance with current legislation.

Local Correspondent Budd PNI warns that Port staff regularly carry out checks to make sure the four mandatory watchmen are on duty. Fines of up to CFA Francs 5,000,000.00 (approx. Euros 7,622.45) can be imposed on vessels which do not meet this requirement.

Any vessels breaching the security measures and with stowaways from Senegal are likely to face longer delays and larger fines than those that can demonstrate that the security measures are in place.

A stowaway search certificate needs to be presented to the Harbour Master in order to obtain clearance to sail.

The situation regarding stowaways who have boarded the vessel in another country remains the same (authorisation is never granted to disembark and repatriate stowaways).

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should ensure that all crew members maintain a high level of security throughout their stay in the region. The security measures set out in the above circular should be followed and any vessels calling at Dakar should contact their agents for the latest updates prior to berthing. Additionally, we recommend conducting a thorough stowaway search prior to the vessel’s departure from ports within this region.

 

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Senegal

Senegal - Risk: Senegalese authorities robustly impose customs fines on vessels calling at Dakar, Senegal

SENEGAL - Risk: Senegalese authorities robustly impose customs fines on vessels calling at Dakar

Local P&I correspondents have reported that the Senegalese customs authorities are applying the existing customs code more vigorously. This has resulted in an increase in customs fines for discrepancies with ship declarations and manifests for stores and bunkers.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers are therefore advised to:
1. Prepare custom’s declarations prior to berthing, having already requested in advance the written confirmation of the latest requirements from the local agent.
2. The Master should personally receive the Customs officers on board for formalities concurrently with the agent.
3. Ensure that all stores and bunkers, including food, paint, stationery, crew personal effects etc. have been accurately declared.
4. Place all the customs papers in a separate file to be checked by the ship’s agent before their presentation to the Customs boarding officer.

5. Check that any modification to the manifest is properly completed and declared, and do not sign any document submitted by the customs authorities without fully understanding its contents. If for any reason the documentation is not ready by the time the vessel berths, it might be prudent to delay access to the ship by keeping the gangway up after the agent’s boarding, until all declarations are completed and controlled by the agent, and ready to be handed to the customs officer. A list of the required documentation is as follows:
1. Clearance
2. Paint inventory
3. Crew list
4. Cargo manifest with goods in transit
5. Crew effects declaration
6. Ports of call list
7. Bonded store declaration
8. Chemicals
9. Bunker declaration, for e.g.
10. Fuel-oil
11. Diesel-oil
12. Lube-oil
13. Oil in tanks (including in sump tanks)
14. Oil in drums
15. Oil in cans
16. Used oil (sludge)
If you have any further questions on this topic, please contact your local P&I correspondent and/or ships agent.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Senegal

Senegal - Risk: Restricted availability of bunkers at Dakar roads, Senegal

SENEGAL - Risk: Restricted availability of bunkers at Dakar roads, Senegal

Local P&I correspondents have advised that bunkers are no longer available at Dakar roads. Therefore the only possibility for vessels stemming bunkers at Dakar is at a berth, where a number of companies have the appropriate equipment.

Assessment and Analysis

If owners and ship managers choose to berth alongside for bunkering operations, great care must be taken to satisfy all customs authority requirements, particularly in respect of customs declarations. Please see the “Customs Fines at Dakar” enduring risk for additional guidance on this.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Senegal

Senegal - Risk: Fines for inaccurate bunker customs declarations in the port of Dakar, Senegal

SENEGAL - Risk: Fines for inaccurate bunker customs declarations in the port of Dakar, Senegal

A P&I correspondent has advised that customs officials in the port of Dakar are imposing large fines against ships where the amount of bunkers on board does not tally with the amount stated on customs declarations.

 

We understand that in some instances customs officials have demanded that a letter backed by the ship owner’s P&I club should be issued promising payment of the fine within 15 days. Customs authorities have also stated that ships will be detained pending issuance of these letters. Even if it is possible for a Club to issue such a letter (which may not always be the case), the need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged liability and the formalities required before doing so are likely to lead to delays to the vessel.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners should ensure that all paperwork is accurate before arrival into port.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 26/08/2015

Senegal

Senegal - Risk: Hull staining at Dakar, Senegal

SENEGAL - Risk: Hull staining at Dakar, Senegal

Reports from a local P&I correspondent has indicated that oil and other debris floating in the harbour has resulted in significant staining to vessels in Dakar. It is understood that the majority of the oil originates from the port’s bunkering pier and also from the fishing port.

Assessment and Analysis

From a loss prevention perspective the following actions should be considered:
1.    Negotiate the terms of the Charterparty to provide Shipowners with an express indemnity against all costs associated with hull cleaning as a consequence of calling at Dakar
2.    If the vessel is under Time Charter, Shipowners may consider asking Charterers for an LOI to cover cleaning costs and any other incidental costs and losses as a consequence of calling at Dakar
3.    Taking photographs of the hull prior to and after calling at Dakar
4.    Taking photographs of any floating oil encountered whilst in port
5.    Consider taking samples of the oil floating on the surface of the water whilst in port.

Professional hull cleaning services are available at Dakar should they be required.

North has published an Industry News article on this topic which can be accessed by clicking here.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 08/02/2017

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone - Risk: Issues loading iron ore during the rainy season in Sierra Leone

SIERRA LEONE - Risk: Issues loading iron ore during the rainy season in Sierra Leone

Shansteel became the new operators of Pepel mine after London Mining ceased operation in April 2016. Previously, London Mining transported cargo via barges to offshore Pepel ready for loading onto ocean going vessels (OGV’s). Local correspondents have provided the below advice highlighting potential issues and changes under the new operators;

1. Instead of barges, bulk carriers are now used as trans-shipment vessels (TSV’s) (Krakow, SMT Bontrup and Huanghai Developer). The converted panamax vessels move cargo to the anchorage and load the OGVs. Conveyors load the TSV’s at Pepel alongside. The distance between the load port at Pepel and the anchorage is about 20 nm.
2. The TSV bulk carriers have hatch covers that appear to be in sound condition – although this has not been corroborated independently.
3. Cargo is transported in uncovered rail wagons from the mines to Pepel port and is stored at Pepel in stockpiles open to the elements.
4. Correspondents recommend carrying out ‘can testing’ of the cargo as it arrives at the OGV. Especially in ‘rainy season’ (April to October).
5. If a lab analysis is required, the cargo samples will need to be transported out of Sierra Leone requiring an export licence.
6. The cost for surveyor attendance ranges from USD 2,300 per day plus local expenses. This is not negotiable as the surveyor’s attendance involves them being on the OGV 24 hours per day. In addition there are launch costs to get the surveyor(s) to the OGV which is about USD 3450.00 (return trip).
7. If the attendance of a correspondent is required and if not for the account of an International Group P&I Club or not guaranteed by them, it is policy for fees (or a deposit based on the tonnage to be loaded) to be required in advance. Additional expenses may be required for local travel within Freetown.

Launch costs are only charged once unless the surveyor is required by the client to leave the loading and return at a later date. Once on board the surveyor is attending 24/7 until loading completes.

Assessment and Analysis

The rainy season in Sierra Leone is between April and October. July and August are the months of heaviest rainfall.

To combat the effects of the wet season in Sierra Leone, some companies have implemented a seasonal shipping strategy. This involves the shipping of Group A cargoes (Fines and AI32) during the drier months of the year, where moisture levels of the cargo are more easily controlled. As the wet season approaches, Group C cargoes (Lump and Lump Blend) are shipped. It is understood that companies are making efforts to improve the stockpiling and transportation of iron ore shoreside in order to alleviate this occasional problem.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on Liquefaction and the carriage of Iron Ore Cargoes can be read here.

Shansteel’s handbook can be read here.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 19/09/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone - Risk: Problems associated with the loading of bauxite on the Sherbro River, Sierra Leone

SIERRA LEONE - Risk: Problems associated with the loading of bauxite on the Sherbro River, Sierra Leone

Local P&I correspondents have advised that Bauxite is normally loaded on the Sherbro River in the South West of Sierra Leone.

The Sherbro River area is a very remote location and crew vigilance should be exercised to prevent stowaways from boarding the vessel.

Pilotage is highly recommended whilst navigating in the Sherbro River due to the proximity of navigational hazards and unreliable buoyage. Inbound pilotage tends to be compulsory; outbound pilotage may not be – this may be relevant if agreeing charter party terms. Members should contact their local agent prior to arrival for more details on pilotage requirements in the area.

Due to its remote location, we have been advised that cargo surveys may be difficult, since it requires surveyors to hire four wheel drive vehicles and travel an extended distance from Freetown.

Hotel/accommodation and miscellaneous expenses for officials that provide assistance along the way should be expected. There are also significant delays with all forms of communication from this location.

Bauxite is typically mined as fine sand which is then washed and dried before being loaded onto covered barges at Nitti. Grabs are then used to lift the cargo from the river barges to awaiting bulk carriers. However, due to draft restrictions in the river, ships cannot be fully loaded and have to relocate to the mouth of the Sherbro River for topping off.

North has encountered a number of claims as a result of collisions and crew illness/injury. If any crew Member requires medical attention for anything complex, P&I correspondents recommend air evacuation as the medical facilities Nitti are very basic.

There are occasional problems with cargo being presented for loading with moisture content over the TML.

Rainy season in Sierra Leone is between May and November with July and August being the months of heaviest rainfall.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should ensure that the cargo is correctly declared and if the master is in doubt of any of its properties, an independent surveyor should be appointed and samples of the cargo retested.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on Liquefaction can be read by clicking here.

Date updated : 12/09/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone - Risk: Associated with discharging bulk rice at ports in Sierra Leone

SIERRA LEONE - Risk: associated with discharging bulk rice at ports in Sierra Leone

The main issues with discharging bulk rice are short landing claims perhaps due to pilferage and/or shore scales not being correctly calibrated. Discharging directly into silos relieves part of this problem, but significant losses can still be encountered as a result of spurious trucks arriving at the vessel and a large quantity of cargo disappearing.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers are advised that, whether discharging into trucks or silos, draft surveys, tallymen (at the shore scales), crew vigilance and an accurate log of the whole discharge operations is essential.

Regularly maintain accurate records of the whole operation and submit Letters of Protest for any discrepancies to all appropriate parties in the shortest possible time scale.

For further advice on this topic owners and ship managers are advised to contact their local port Agent.

North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on bagged rice cargoes is available to read here.

North’s Loss Prevention guide on Draught Surveys is available to read here.

Date updated : 12/09/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Somalia

Somalia - Risk: Somali waters still considered a piracy prone area

SOMALIA - Risk: Ships should register with the EU’s Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre detailed two attacks on shipping off the coast of Somalia in the first eight months of 2018.

The first was in February off Somalia’s east coast and the second, at the end of March, in the Gulf of Aden.

Neither attack was close to shore but Somali-based pirates have shown themselves capable of operating far out to sea.

The March attack took place some 100 nautical miles (nm) north of Somalia’s Bari province. A tanker came under fire from two skiffs carrying ladders but the attack was broken off when the tanker’s security guards returned fire.

The February attack, some 160 nm east of the Somali coast, saw a chemical tanker come under fire from two skiffs. That attack too was broken off after security guards fired back.

 

Assessment and Analysis

The number off attacks attributed to Somali-based pirates has fallen sharply in the last seven years but the threat remains.

In mid-2018 there were reports that Somali pirates were approaching ships, apparently to assess their vulnerability.

The overall decline in piracy since 2012 can be attributed to the presence of international naval forces and the security measures taken by ship-owners, including vessel hardening and the deployment of armed guards.

Nevertheless, the on-shore conditions that gave rise to piracy are largely unchanged.

The country is weakly governed. In some regions militias and gangs hold sway and unregulated foreign fishing fleets threaten the coastal economy.

Against that background the small spike in attacks in the first half of 2017, which began with the hijacking of a product tanker, was unsurprising.

Waters off Somalia, including the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the western Indian Ocean, remain a piracy prone area.

Ships should register with the EU’s Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) before sailing into the region.

Once in the region they should make daily reports to the UKMTO, which acts as a bridge between the shipping industry and security forces.

They should also follow recommendations in BMP5 (Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia-based Piracy), including mounting extra watches and deploying physical barriers (vessel hardening) to deter boarding.

Date updated : 18/09/2018 Date added : 18/09/2018

South Africa

South Africa - Risk: Costs and consequences for repatriating stowaways at the port of Durban

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Costs and consequences for repatriating stowaways at the port of Durban

Local P&I correspondents have reported incidents where stowaways have been discovered on board vessels in Durban. The vessels were either carrying out cargo operations or conducting searches just prior to their departure when the stowaways were discovered.
Due to recent regulatory changes, immigration officials classifying any persons found as stowaways rather than as trespassers (as had previously been done). With this change in policy, the costs associated with repatriation now lie with the ship owners and ship managers of vessels.
Immigration officials advise that the obligation rests on the vessel to ensure that only authorised people are allowed on board.

Assessment and Analysis

Ship owners and ship managers should instruct their crews to be vigilant and maintain strict gangway watches throughout their vessel’s stay in Durban. If any person boarding the vessel (stevedores, agents, ship chandlers, cleaners, immigration, ship repairers and contractors) does not have a Transnet Port Permit then the person should be refused access to the vessel. If necessary, the person should be taken to the bottom of the gangway and port security notified. A full and thorough stowaway search should be carried out prior to the vessel’s departure from port.
North’s Industry News Article can be read here.
North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on the topic of stowaways can be read here.
North’s Signals article that covers the repatriation of stowaways in South Africa can be read here.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

South Africa

South Africa - Risk: Ships anchoring in South African coastal waters are obliged to first obtain permission from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Ships anchoring in South African coastal waters are obliged to first obtain permission from the South African Maritime Safety Authority

Ships anchoring in South African coastal waters are obliged to first obtain permission from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Assessment and Analysis

Owners, ship managers or masters should immediately contact the local authorities and obtain permission to anchor the vessel. Any problems with the vessel should also be reported. SAMSA will then study the application before granting permission to anchor.

If you require any further information, please contact your local ship agent or P&I correspondent

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

South Africa

South Africa - Risk: Delays caused by ship detentions due to the discovery of armaments on board merchant vessels in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Delays caused by ship detentions due to the discovery of armaments on board merchant vessels in South Africa

Local P&I Correspondents have advised that merchant vessels calling into South African ports have been detained by the authorities as a result of armaments being discovered (not as cargo) without submission of the appropriate permits.

Assessment and Analysis

In view of the potential risk of a vessel’s detention, and the Master being arrested and prosecuted under the Fire Arms Control Act, P&I Correspondents recommend that Owners/Ship Managers should take the following action:

1. No weapons to be loaded on board vessels in South Africa ports unless the company delivering he weapons can produce a permit to the Master before the weapons are taken on board the vessel.

2. If there are guns and ammunition currently on board the vessel then the Master should, immediately upon getting instructions to proceed to South Africa, make an application to the police at least 96 hours prior to arrival. This application will be made seeking the permission of the South African Police for the vessel to berth at a South African port with guns and ammunition on board the vessel.

3. Within the application, the Captain of the vessel should set out his personal details as well as details of the ownership of his vessel and details of the managers of the vessel.

4. He should advise on his last port of call and provide details of his next port of call.

5. He should provide the necessary documentation relating to the weapons on board the vessel setting out when they were put on board the vessel and who authorised this.

6. He should also provide full details of the weapons and ammunition on board, including serial numbers.

7. He should confirm where the weapons and ammunition are being stored and how they are being stored.

 

The above points are only a guide and all Owners/Ship Managers should make the necessary requests and obtain the permits prior to their vessel’s arrival.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

South Africa

South Africa - Risk: Costs and consequences for repatriating stowaways at the port of Cape Town

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Costs and consequences for repatriating stowaways at the port of Cape Town

Local P&I correspondents have reported incidents where stowaways have been discovered on board vessels in Cape Town. The vessels were either carrying out cargo operations or conducting searches just prior to their departure when the stowaways were discovered.
Due to recent regulatory changes that mirror those at the port of Durban in March 2014, immigration officials in Cape Town are classifying any persons found as “stowaways” rather than as “trespassers” (as had previously been done). With this change in policy, the costs associated with repatriation now lie with the shipowners and ship managers of vessels.
Immigration officials advise that the obligation rests on the vessel to ensure that only authorised people are allowed on board.

Assessment and Analysis

Shipowners and ship managers should instruct their crews to be vigilant and maintain strict gangway watches throughout their vessel’s stay in Cape Town. If any person boarding the vessel (stevedores, agents, ship chandlers, cleaners, immigration, ship repairers and contractors) does not have a Transnet Port Permit then the person should be refused access to the vessel. If necessary, the person should be taken to the bottom of the gangway and port security notified. A full and thorough stowaway search should be carried out prior to the vessel’s departure from port.
North’s Industry News Article can be read here.
North’s Loss Prevention Briefing on the topic of stowaways can be read here.

North’s Signals article that covers the repatriation of stowaways in South Africa can be read here.

Date updated : 29/08/2018 Date added : 13/02/2015

Sudan

Sudan - Risk: Regular shortage claims following the discharge of bulk wheat at Port Sudan

SUDAN - Risk: Regular shortage claims following the discharge of bulk wheat at Port Sudan

Local P&I correspondents have reported an increase in shortage claims following the discharge of bulk wheat direct from ship to silo at Port Sudan.

It is thought that the primary reason for these shortage claims is the unreliability of the silo scales and/or the bagging machine scales if the cargo is bagged at the discharge port.

If a shortage is recorded, Sudanese consignees will habitually arrest the vessel concerned.

Assessment and Analysis

To mitigate or avoid such shortage claims, shipowners and ship managers are advised to carry out draught surveys at both the load and discharge ports. Additionally, the sealing of the hatch covers upon completion of loading may also help.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 10/07/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

Sudan

Sudan - Risk: Fraudulent steel transactions to Port Sudan

SUDAN - Risk: Fraudulent steel transactions to Port Sudan

ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has identified a number of suspicious transactions in the steel trade to Port Sudan.

The Bureau identified several documents for shipments of steel products that appeared to be suspicious, while conducting due diligence on behalf of its members.

The purported shipments covered consignments of steel billets from North African and Middle Eastern ports to Port Sudan.

The IMB’s enquiries identified a number of irregularities in the documents that cast doubt on the authenticity of the documents and the existence of the shipments which they purportedly represented.

Assessment and Analysis

The IMB recommends stringent due diligence checks on all parties involved in any major transaction, even on parties with established trading records. Furthermore, the Bureau advises that all details of the shipment are scrutinised by a third party.

Date updated : 10/07/2018 Date added : 03/02/2015

Sudan

Sudan - Risk: Damage and shortage claims for bagged cargo in Port Sudan

SUDAN - Risk: Damage and shortage claims for bagged cargo in Port Sudan

P&I correspondents report that damages have been recorded due to rough handling by stevedores in Port Sudan.

Shortage claims appear to be as a result of mishandling and poor tallying of cargo which has been transported from the ship to the receiver’s warehouse.

If shortages are recorded, the Sudanese receivers will habitually arrest the vessel for the value of the short landed cargo.

Assessment and Analysis

In order to prevent or mitigate the effect of claims of this nature we would recommend:

  • Hatch covers, vents and other cargo hold openings to be properly maintained and made fully weather tight prior arrival in port.  Residues of previous cargoes to be removed and cargo holds swept, washed and cleaned ready for loading.  Ensure hatch coaming drain channels and drains are unblocked and drain valves working correctly.
  • Correct size, clean dunnage and craft paper to be used in lining all tank tops and bulkheads ensuring adequate ventilation channels throughout.  Bamboo poles and matting should be avoided if at all possible.
  • Draft surveys carried out by an independent surveyor, prior to the commencement of and at the end of cargo operations at load and discharge ports.
  • Tally clerks appointed to tally the cargo at load and discharge ports and all discrepancies immediately reported to your local correspondent.
  • Stowage of cargo providing adequate ventilation channels within the stow, allowing effective ventilation throughout the voyage (in accordance with charterers carriage instructions).  Be prepared to issue letters of protest in the shortest possible time scale, if necessary on a daily basis and ensure that the protest is issued to not only the stevedores, but also the receivers and charterers.
  • Prevent stevedores from using hooks or overloading cargo slings and immediately report any rough handling to the local correspondent and to your P&I Club.
  • Employ appropriate weather services and the officer on watch to monitor weather via the ship’s radar.  Any signs of rain, sufficient crew to be readily available to close all open hatch covers promptly.
  • Prior to sailing the hatch covers and access hatches should be appropriately fitted with numbered security seals, witnessed and recorded by all appropriate parties.  Unsealing at the discharge port should also be similarly witnessed and recorded.
  • Ensure that the charterer is financially secure and entered with an IG club before fixing your vessel.
  • In an effort to avoid pilferage both on board and on the quay, responsible crew members should be deputised to monitor the operation.  Effective gangway security should be maintained throughout.
  • An adequate supply of empty bags should be on board for re-bagging purposes.

Photographs should be taken of any damages and mishandling of cargo.  Regularly maintain accurate records of the whole operation and submit Letters of Protest for any discrepancies to all appropriate parties in the shortest possible time scale.

For further information, shipowners and ship managers should contact their local P&I correspondents and/or port agents.

Date updated : 10/07/2018 Date added : 30/01/2017

Tunisia

Tunisia - Risk: P&I claims and customs fines arising from short landing of cargo in Tunisian ports

TUNISIA - Risk: P&I claims and customs fines arising from short landing of cargo in Tunisian ports.

Fines are routinely imposed after cargo shortage claims are pursued in Tunisian courts for both grains and oils. The courts in Tunisia accept court surveyors’ figures for outturn in favour of independent surveyors’ figures calculated during a draft survey at the load port. Due to the nature of the cargoes being shipped into Tunisia (e.g. grains and oils), differences in load, Bill of Lading and outturn figures are not uncommon. This is compounded by the inappropriate use of equipment or rough handling by stevedores, resulting in cargo damages and shortage claims.

Labour union strikes in ports can result in delays to commercial operations and such strikes increased since the civil disturbances of January 2011.

Assessment and Analysis

Owners and ship managers should take the following precautions at the load port:,

1. A tally of all cargo should be carried out at the load port and reports countersigned by all appropriate parties
2. A draft survey should be undertaken at the load port and countersigned by all appropriate parties

3. The hatch covers should be sealed and a sealing certificate signed by all appropriate parties

Upon arrival at the discharge port an unsealing survey should be carried out and signed by the shipper’s
surveyor. A court surveyor and tally clerks where appropriate, should be appointed but guided by the owner’s representative.

Date updated : 26/09/2018 Date added : 13/01/2015

These are the Joint War Committee Listed Areas as detailed in JWLA/023. These were reviewed by the JWC in June 2018 and the following changes were incorporated:

Deleted:
The Port of Jakarta

Definitions:
Named Countries shall include their coastal waters up to 12 nautical miles offshore, unless specifically varied above.
Named Ports shall include all facilities/terminals within areas controlled by the relevant port authority/ies (or as may be more precisely defined by Insurers) including offshore terminals/facilities, and all waters within 12 nautical

This list will be published on the LMA and IUA websites and will be accessible to all on www.lmalloyds.com and www.iua.co.uk.

Please be advised that this section refers to current JWC War Risk areas only. Each War Risk policy may list different areas and may change at different times. Always check the War Risk areas relevant to your policy with your War Risks insurance provider.

Benin

Eritrea: but only South of 15º N

Gulf of Guinea: JWC listed areas include the waters of the Togolese, Beninese, and Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) north of Latitude 3° N

Libya: Libya

Nigeria

Somalia

Togo

Pakistan

Indian Ocean / Arabian Sea / Gulf of Aden / Gulf of Oman / Southern Red Sea: The waters enclosed by the following boundaries:a) On the north-west, by the Red Sea, south of Latitude 15° Nb) on the west of the Gulf of Oman by Longitude 58° Ec) on the east, Longitude 65° Ed) and on the south, Latitude 12° Sexcepting coastal waters of adjoining territories up to 12 nautical miles offshore unless otherwise provided.

Iran

Iraq: Iraq, including all Iraqi offshore oil terminals

Israel

Lebanon

Saudi Arabia: JWC listed area in Saudi Arabia excludes transit

Syria

Yemen

Venezuela: JWC Listed area includes all offshore installations in the Venezuelan EEZ

Horizon

Stay updated and subscribe to our weekly newsletter