717 - 09/10 - Further updates regarding Iron Ore - India

Date: 16/09/2010
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The Club’s earlier LP Bulletins cumulating in number 716 of last week, warn members of the serious risk that can be associated with the carriage of iron ore fines loaded in Indian ports as well as the difficulties that can be experienced when such a cargo is found to be unsafe for carriage once loaded. 

The Club has been informed that on the 27th of August the Mercantile Marine Department of the Indian government has issued Merchant Shipping Notice No. 9 of 2010 on the subject of: “Safe loading, stowage, carriage and discharging of iron ore fines on ships from Indian Ports in fair and foul season.” 

We do not analyse the M Notice in detail here but would point out what appears to be some of the important points.

The M Notice sets out the applicable international conventions and the enabling legislation to incorporate those conventions into Indian Law. We would suspect that the M Notice in itself is of an advisory nature only however the conventions and law referred to should be binding upon those involved in the export trade of iron ore fines. In this regard it will be seen that the M Notice specifically refers to the IMSBC Code as being applicable, thus removing the uncertainty and debate that surrounds the BC Code and whether or not that is advisory or mandatory. 

The M Notice does reflect recent Indian government Directives that appear to make it an obligation for the master of a loading vessel to verify the moisture content of the iron ore fines.  However, it goes further in setting out the obligations of the shippers and port authorities for the safe loading and shipment of this cargo. It also sets out a requirement that port authorities should provide assistance to prevent a shipping casualty after the shipment of such a cargo and provide a safe and sheltered place to enable ships to take corrective measures. 

The M Notice, which has been attached to this bulletin should be consulted for its full meaning.

Source of information: Peter Harris, Senior Claims Director, Syndicate 1, UK P&I Club

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