The UK P&I Club have received the following update from local correspondents Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L, regarding the new SENASA resolution for inspection of holds and tanks in Argentina.
As it is well known, the inspection of holds and tanks has been a longstanding problem within the industry, especially when an official inspection was required by the National Food and Grain Health Authority (SENASA). These problems – related mainly to facilitation payments – have been a major concern of the new Authorities of SENASA who came into office at the beginning of 2016 and addressed these issues. They finally enacted resolution Nº 693E/2017, published on 23rd October 2017 and which will enter into force on 1st November 2017.
The core of the resolution is that SENASA has delegated the inspection of the holds/tanks to registered private companies, keeping SENASA a revision and auditing role.
You will find enclosed a free translation of the new resolution from which you will note that the main points of this new regulation for the approval of cargo holds/tanks are that:
- It would be applicable to all export of grains, its products and by products;
- Under the new resolution there are two scenarios: (1) official holds/tank inspections are required by the authorities at disport; and (2) not such official inspections are required;
- In both scenarios the inspections are delegated – in principle – to private companies and surveyors pre-approved and listed by SENASA;
- Under scenario (1) SENASA will be more involved auditing the private companies; and under (2) SENASA would not get involved unless a dispute between privates arises;
- The private company will be chosen by the Maritime Agent, who is usually appointed by the charterers. It is expected that the Maritime Agent will instruct the private company as instructed by the charterers and/or cargo interests; despite the fact that under Argentinean law the Maritime Agent who clears the vessel before the authorities becomes by law the legal representative of the Owner and the Master;
- Regardless of the above, as usual, the Master/Owners can always appoint their own surveyor at their discretion where necessary, which we recommend should also be an approved company by SENASA
- When the official inspection is required at disport (scenario 1 above), in case of discrepancy between the private company acting on behalf of SENASA and the private company acting on behalf of another party, then SENASA will be notified and give intervention to the chief of the relevant area. The latter’s decision will be binding for the parties.
- If NO official inspection is required (scenario 2 above), and there is a dispute between two private companies acting on behalf of different parties, then SENASA will be alerted and an Officer will undertake a revision and decide whether the holds/tanks are approved or not.
- The details and timetable of the above process (revisions in case of rejection) has not been clarified on the new resolution and remain uncertain. It appears that it will be subject to negotiations between the parties and SENASA on a case-by-case basis;
- The criteria for the rejection of cargo holds is also described in the new regulation. Broadly speaking they follow the same main criteria than the previous regulation. However, there are some amendments which in our view lack of clear and objective parameters to follow as to decide whether in fact the cargo hold/tank should be rejected or not, and this will be probably assessed on a case-by-case basis;
- SENASA will be the Authority of Control and will audit the private companies and surveyors. They could appear on board to control any given inspection at random;
- The inspections would be soon digitalized which would be an important mechanism of control and transparency. The digital system is expected to be available soon.
The Authorities and industry are confident that the new system will promote more transparent inspections. Whilst the new system represents a significant step forward, there are various aspects which still need to be tested. On this regard, SENASA is launching this new system as a prototype for the period of one year.
We will monitor the development of the new system closely and will keep you posted.
In the meantime we remain at your disposal if clarification and/or additional information is needed.
PANDI LIQUIDADORES SRL