98 - 06/99 - Berth Damage Claims - Callao - Peru

Since the privatisation of the tug and pilotage services and renewed calls by liner operators in Callao, Peru, we understand many complaints have been heard from shipmasters and local pilots about the inadequacy of berths in the port. Our correspondent has also reported  frequent calls to deal with damage to these port installations. This is particularly relevant at the moment as maritime  laws are presently being reviewed  which we understand will make the arrest of ships easier.

The berths in question Nos 1, 2, 3 and 4, (in the centre of the picture below) were constructed some 50 years ago and are 183m in length and 91m wide. Typical container ships calling at Callao have an loa of about 200m and a breadth of between 28m and 32m. When two adjacent berths are in use the distance between ships  can be reduced to only 30m. With tugs of loa 22-25m, getting ships in and out is not easy. It is made even harder when ships have to berth stern first to comply  with the port administration rules that all ships carrying or loading dangerous cargo must be berthed stern first (any cargo mentioned in the IMDG Code is considered as dangerous cargo). The reason for this is so that in an emergency a ship can unberth without tug assistance.

Whilst there is little members can do about the construction of the berths, it may be, where a vessel is fitted with a bow thruster, that the port authority can be asked to consider relaxing this rule which hopefully might reduce the frequency of these contact damages in the future.

We attach a port plan of Callao for information.

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