Ensuring safe operation when carrying bagged rice cargoes

The Swedish P&I Club has issued cargo advice and guidance to assist operators when carrying bagged rice cargoes.
The Swedish P&I Club has issued cargo advice and guidance to assist operators when carrying bagged rice cargoes.

In collaboration with CWA International, The Swedish P&I Club has issued cargo advice and guidance to assist operators when carrying bagged rice cargoes.

1 Pre-loading
Prior to loading, the crew must ensure that the cargo hatches are watertight. It is prudent for a hatch cover test to be undertaken. This can be done using an ultrasound device or hose test. These tests are important as they enable the crew to make any necessary repairs to the hatch covers prior to loading of cargo. Furthermore, they provides good supporting evidence against accusations of water ingress through the hatch covers in the event of a wet damage cargo claim.

2 During loading
Dunnage & Stowage: Dunnage refers to the material used to separate cargo from the interior steelwork of the holds. The purpose is to reduce the risk and severity of damage arising from bags in contact with the hold steelwork and condensation.

Fumigation: Bagged rice cargoes are usually fumigated on completion of loading. The fumigation is typically for in transit fumigation although sometimes the cargo may be fumigated ashore prior to loading or on arrival at the destination.

3 During voyage
Bagged rice is most at risk of ship’s sweat-type condensation wetting when the vessel sails from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean via South Africa. The vessel experiences a large temperature change due to the much cooler Benguela Current which runs up the south western coast of Africa. The risk of condensation can be exacerbated when the vessel also sails on this route during the Southern Hemisphere winter.

Bagged rice may also be at risk of cargo sweat type condensation on certain voyages. This is associated with the shipment of low temperature bagged rice from Northern China in winter. Moisture will condense on the relatively cool cargo if the holds are incorrectly ventilated with warmer air during the voyage or when the holds are opened for discharge in high temperature and humidity conditions at the destination.

4 During discharge
A tally company should be appointed at discharge. It is common for there to be tally discrepancies between the various parties at discharge. Ideally, the tally should be performed jointly at an agreed tally position to avoid differences in final tally figures.

A tallyman should be stationed in the hold being worked, at the truck alongside the vessel and if possible, at the receiver’s warehouse. The location of the receiving warehouse should be noted particularly if the cargo is delivered outside the port area.

Crew, tallymen and surveyors should also be vigilant of stevedores cutting bags deliberately to pilfer rice and to inflate the quantity of sweepings at the end of discharge.

5 Mitigation

The receiver will normally perform a survey of any damaged bags at the completion of discharge. This is usually a joint survey with all surveyors present. The survey should include cutting open a representative number of the bags segregated as damaged to assess depreciation of the rice. The bags for inspection should be selected randomly and from across the whole bag stack not only the top layer. Surveyors should also request to be present at any reconditioning or rebagging exercises and witness the destruction of any damaged rice after such activities.

Loss prevention essentials
– Monitor the placement of dunnage material during loading.
– Hatches should be closed during rain at loading/discharge.
– Measure cargo temperature and moisture content during loading.
– The cargo should be ventilated in accordance with the three degree rule during the voyage.
– Closely monitor the cargo handling at loading/discharge. Keep accurate records of any damage. Clear photographs of all stages of the cargo operations provide good evidence in case of a claim.

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