Inaccurate Cargo Declarations For Solid Bulk Cargoes

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Despite mandatory requirements for shipper information on solid bulk cargoes, inaccurate or incomplete cargo declarations are still common in shipments leaving Brazilian ports, says an article published on gard website.

Summary

  • Despite mandatory requirements, Brazilian ports still face frequent cases of inaccurate or incomplete cargo declarations for solid bulk cargoes, posing risks to the shipping industry.
  • Common issues include missing moisture content information for grains, incomplete submission of required information, lack of supplementary certification, usage of trade names instead of Bulk Cargo Shipping Names (BCSN), and incorrect cargo hazard grouping.
  • Inaccurate cargo declarations can lead to cargo deterioration, additional costs due to delays and deviations, extra port handling charges, and even major claims such as cargo fires or environmental damage.
  • Responsibilities for accurate cargo information are distributed among the carrier’s Master, the shipper, and port operators.

The Problem

Despite mandatory requirements for accurate cargo declaration, Brazilian ports still witness frequent cases of incomplete or inaccurate information regarding solid bulk cargoes. These discrepancies, primarily concerning mineral and agricultural products, pose significant challenges and potential risks to the shipping industry.

Common Issues In Cargo Declaration

The prevalent problems include:

  1. Missing relevant moisture content information for grains.
  2. Incomplete submission of required information as per IMSBC Code’s “Form for Cargo Information.”
  3. Lack of supplementary certification or outdated documentation.
  4. Usage of trade names instead of Bulk Cargo Shipping Names (BCSN) for IMSBC-listed cargoes.
  5. Incorrect cargo hazard grouping, not aligning with IMSBC Code provisions or cargo condition.

Implications Of Inaccurate Cargo Declaration

Inaccurate cargo information can result in various losses, including cargo deterioration, additional costs due to delays and deviations, extra port handling charges, and potential damage to the vessel. In extreme cases, it can lead to major claims such as cargo fires, environmental damage, or even vessel sinkings, endangering lives.

Allocation Of Liability

Responsibilities are distributed as follows:

  1. Master: The carrier’s liability, primarily through the Master, encompasses ensuring proper cargo stowage for vessel stability and safety. The Master must refuse unsafe cargo and ensure compliance with legal documentation requirements.
  2. Shipper: The shipper bears the responsibility for providing accurate cargo information and complying with domestic and international regulations.
  3. Port Operator: Port operators are accountable for executing loading and unloading operations as per agreements with the Master, ensuring cargo conformity, and mitigating damages during handling.

Recommendations

To address these challenges and mitigate risks, Proinde proposes the following recommendations:

  1. Cargo Information Verification: The Master and crew should ensure that cargo information, particularly regarding moisture content, is accurate and derived from representative analyses of the cargo.
  2. Consultation and Inspection: In cases of doubt regarding cargo documentation or content declaration, the Master should consult with the owner and P&I insurer. They may appoint a qualified surveyor to verify cargo quality and condition, identify potential hazards, and recommend safety measures.
  3. Legal Recourse: While Brazil’s Civil Code holds shippers liable for losses due to inaccurate cargo declaration, legal provisions must be tested in appellate courts to ensure effective recourse for damages resulting from such inaccuracies.

Conclusion

Addressing inaccurate cargo declaration in Brazilian ports requires collaborative efforts among stakeholders, adherence to regulations, and proactive measures to verify cargo information. By implementing these recommendations, the industry can mitigate risks and ensure safer and more efficient maritime operations.

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Source: gard