Mega box ships bulletin published by Standard Club

Standard Club has published an invaluable bulletin about mega box ships
Standard Club has published an invaluable bulletin about mega box ships

As the size of mega box ships has steadily increased, so has the level of difficulty in handling casualties involving them. A special 32 page edition of the Standard Club bulletin has been published and looks at the different legal, technical and practical considerations.

Ultra large container ships, or mega box ships as they are commonly called, can have a carrying capacity in excess of 20,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units) and are frequently in excess of 14,500 TEU. This can have a considerable impact in the event of a casualty. In particular, the global shipping and insurance markets have expressed concern regarding the firefighting capability of these ships, which has not necessarily kept pace with their increasing size. It can be extremely difficult to find suitable ports of refuge to accommodate these ships and which have infrastructure capable of handling the number of containers on board.

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Swedish Club publishes booklet on preventing wet damage to cargo on bulk carriers

The Swedish Club has highlighted how to avoid wet damaged cargo on bulk carriers in a 32 page pdf booklet, which can be downloaded below. The Club says that heavy weather in combination with leaking hatch covers is the most common cause of wet damage on cargo. However, the main concern is the incorrectly applied and poorly maintained cargo hatch covers and sealing systems.

As a result of information collected from its claims handling, many cargoes of steel and steel coils, grain, peas and solidified cement were damaged by sea and rainwater enabling the report to be produced. In fact, 34% of all insured bulk carriers suffered a cargo claim in 2017 and this has increased by 75% since 2014. For 2017, the average cargo claim on a bulk carrier was almost USD 70,000.

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First judgement of Hague and Hague Visby rules tested in the English courts

Britannia P&I Club referred to the English supreme court that presented its first authoritative judgement in English law, addressing the question of whether it is the carrier or cargo interests who bears the burden of proof under the Hague and Hague-visby rules.

The case had to do with a low value claim for condensation damage to coffee beans.

In the first trial the judge ruled in favour of the cargo deciding that where goods shipped in apparent good order and condition show loss or damage on discharge, there is an evidential inference that the loss or damage is caused by the fault of the carrier.

The carrier then has the burden of showing that it has not breached any of its obligations.

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Unsafe transfer of cargoes of wood pellets increases the possibility of fire

Photo by Steve Pomeroy, Empire Shipping Agency, Vancouver, B.C.
Photo by Steve Pomeroy, Empire Shipping Agency, Vancouver, B.C.

Peter Hazell, Assistant Vice President and Head of FDD Skuld, has looked at former coal fired power stations that have started to burn biomass as feedstock in order to enhance sustainability of fuel sources. This results in increased shipments of wood pellets intended to be burned.

Most of these shipments are completed without incident but there are significant hazards associated with the carriage of wood pellets that surveyors should be aware of.

Generally, to have safely transfer wood pellets the Club advises always to follow standard enclosed space entry procedures.

The wood pellets can include a binder additive but not all do so. Each of these types can self-heat when in bulk form.

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