94 - 05/99 - Delays Caused by Agents - Bangladesh

Owners are continuing to experience unreasonable delays to ships visiting  Bangladeshi ports following alleged cargo shortages or damage. In the case of cargo shortage a customs penalty is also invariably imposed.

Owners fixing cargoes to Bangladesh are often required under the terms of the charterparty to appoint agents nominated by the charterer/receiver. When shortages, damage or customs  infringements are alleged at  the discharge port both receivers and agents demand  guarantees. In some cases recently bank guarantees have been demanded by agents but even when the Club has made arrangements to provide such a guarantee the ship has been detained by the agents witholding clearance documents while they continue to pressure owners for a cash settlement.

The Club's Chittagong correspondents, James Finlay, are aware of this problem and have available wordings for guarantees in favour of both cargo receivers and customs which are acceptable to the Club. No other wordings should be provided to agents and should any owner experience such difficulties they should contact the Club without delay.

The correspondents advise that of the thirty active shipagents in Chittagong, most will accept Club Letters of Guarantee in the approved form. The following four will only accept security by way of a bank guarantee but usually in the approved wording.

Seacon

USTC

Pioneer

M H Chowdhury

One agent, Litmond Shipping, has proved particularly problematic and will try to insist on a bank guarantee which is in effect a payment on demand and is unacceptable to the Club.

Owners should be aware of these particular agents when fixing voyages to Bangladesh.

Source of Information :

Peter Astbury (L8)/ Alan Hedgeland ((L6)

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