Further to Bulletin 36 several more cases have come to our attention, mainly in China and Vietnam. The basic facts still remain the same. Outturn problems are connected to pre loading quality problems, brought on by freak late monsoon rains last year in certain parts of India.
Owners are still advised to act extremely carefully when loading this type of cargo in India and if in any doubt should contact the Club's correspondent.
For owners with cargo already loaded or facing problems on outturn, we would suggest ships' officers or surveyors should consider collecting or recording the following information to help assist in proving the origin of damage.
1. Any pre-loading documentation available on board the vessel. There may be documents which give values for the residual oil-content of the various parcels loaded. Cargo stowage plan - which holds were slack/full.
2. The method of loading - did the Master see where the cargo came from? Was it loaded from a warehouse, alongside or via lorries. Did the Master or his officers carry out any checks on the cargo (such as touching it to get a rough estimation of its temperature). Was any cargo rejected during loading - if so for what reason? Was any obviously wet cargo seen during loading, either amongst the cargo loaded, or any other soya bean meal which was present at the load-port but not loaded on board.
3. Is there cargo from more than one shipper on board? If so, please detail answers to (2) above, for each different parcel of cargo loaded.
4. Statement of Facts for the load-port. Was any rain encountered during loading? Does the Master think any of the cargo became wetted, either in the ship's holds or alongside? Was any cargo removed from the vessel after becoming wetted in the holds? How long does it take to close the ship's holds?
5. Were any surveyors in attendance during loading? Were any samples taken during loading and does the Master have any samples on board from loading?
6. Details of the voyage - any rough weather etc.
7. Details of the ventilation regime during the voyage.
8. Details of the ship's ventilation system - what inlets/outlets per hold, location within the hold and on deck. Is this system natural or mechanical?
9. When were the hatches first opened prior to discharge - who was present? Was any damaged cargo visible when the hatches were opened? Did anyone comment on the appearance of the cargo?
10. Was any sweat visible when the hatches were first opened, or at any other time?
11. If no damaged cargo was visible when the hatches were first opened, when was the damage first seen? Who noticed it and what was said/done?
12. Please record, by means of sketches per each hold, the location within the hold (including depth below coaming) of any damaged cargo. In what way is the cargo damaged? Please record whether it is caked, discoloured, mouldy etc.
13. Particularly important - Take as many temperature recordings as is possible, and record each reading by its location using a sketch per hold. Repeat temperature taking on a new sketch whenever a significant quantity of cargo has been discharged. Temperature readings must be taken shortly after a region has been exposed so that the cargo has not had time to cool prior to the temperature being taken.
14. Does the pattern of damage indicate a ship source of damage (for example wetting through the hatch covers would produce columns of wetted cargo, and heat transfer through bulkheads or fuel tanks produces a localised pattern of heated/caked cargo), or is the deterioration/heating more widespread and generalised?
15. Note the condition of the cargo at the bottom of each hold - is there any wetted cargo or caked cargo on the tank top?
16. Comment on the general distribution of caked cargo - is there for instance a region(s) where there is damaged cargo sandwiched vertically between sound cargo layers - if so is there any possible ship-based explanation for the pattern (such as a leaking pipe nearby)? Record the position of any such features.
17. If it is possible, take representative composite samples from the regions of sound and damaged cargo for each hold separately. If possible, samples should be agreed between the various parties and signed/sealed as appropriate. Composite samples should consist of a large number of sub-samples thoroughly mixed.
18. Additionally, take samples of the best and worst cargo per hold.
19. Any photographs you consider appropriate will be very useful.
WARNING !!!!!! - Ship's Crews should be aware that such deterioration of cargo could lead to a reduction of oxygen levels in the holds. All precautions therefore should be taken to open hatches and ventilate thoroughly prior to entry.