Romanian Grain Shortages - May 2016

On the occasion of a couple of recent cases bringing short delivery of grains/cereals loaded in Romania back into the spotlight, this is to serve as a reminder of the importance of draft surveys and sealing of hatches albeit the continuous difficulties Owners are still facing in the freight markets.

Grains from Romania are exported normally on draft survey figures and this agreement is reached mostly because ships are worked fast and are often being loaded simultaneously with cargo being delivered both from silo and barges (by floating cranes), thus draft measurements being the solely method to establish quantities.

Both shippers and terminal operators normally employ own surveyors for those draft measurements, one of the purposes of controlling own sales, the other for the purposes of assuring any ton of worked cargo is paid for. Both have the interest of figures over than the actually loaded being recorded on the B/L.

Recently, we came across an occasion when a Master was told that the cargo is exported on shore figures and that he needs not worry about a draft survey. Shipper/terminal surveyors did however perform such survey without the attendance of the Master who eventually had to sign their documents which were used for the Custom stating the weight of the exported cargo.

Similar shortages noted on cargoes originating from Romanian ports were advised by a big P&I Club, making the performance of draft surveys by surveyors appointed on ship’s behalf to be a necessity in order to get benefit of local knowledge in addition to the purely technical/routine work.

Most of the cases will not have such extreme scenarios/elements of lack of due attention, but more often than not, there is no surveyor appointed on ship’s behalf on the safety of thought that ship’s C/O will be carrying the task through so it is pointless to spend hard earned cash on loss prevention. It would have been just as well, if it worked but we have seen many occasion it did not, thus recommend that draft surveys and sealing of hatches are budgeted for to get benefit of local knowledge in addition to the purely technical/routine work.