One shipper has requested an owner not to test cargoes in response to stricter industry awareness over liquefaction dangers
Amid the growing concern over the loss of life attributed to dry bulk cargoes that liquefy, and stricter testing from insurers, it has emerged that at least one shipper is now requesting that owners do not follow mandatory testing as a condition of charter.
One worried owner has shown TradeWinds a charter tender document from a Malaysian iron ore fines shipper that specifies that the shipowner should agree not to request a transportable moisture limit (TML) test to be done on the cargo.
It goes on to insist that the owner does not involve protection and indemnity (P&I) surveyors on the ship during loading operations.
The conditions come in response to P&I insurers insisting independent testing is done on dry bulk cargoes prone to liquefy prior to loading. They have often insisted independent surveyors are on site in response to recent losses from cargo liquefaction. Insurers have also stressed to owners and masters of the need to inform them of cargoes they believe to be in a dangerous condition.
The tender was for a handysize bulker to carry a 20,000 tonne cargo of iron ore fines from Malaysia to China.
Industry experts say that despite the obvious dangers in a market downturn, some owners of older tonnage may still be attracted to such deals.
“It’s a worry that just as we thought the message was getting through to shippers about the dangers of transporting cargoes that are prone to liquefy that we are seeing this negative step,” one insurer told TradeWinds.
In a separate development, dry bulk industry association Intercargo has released its casualty statistics for 2012. The organisation says there were four bulker losses last year — all without loss of life — and a further four serious bulker incidents that resulted in the loss of 12 lives.
Intercargo points out that half the loss of life on bulkers since 2008 have occurred on ships carrying nickel ore, one of the cargoes that are prone to liquefaction.
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