How much coal?

A ship agent in Australia was responsible for passing instructions to the Master of a bulk carrier received from both the ship owners and the shippers regarding the quantity of coal to be loaded for carriage to China.

The instructions received by the agent were “85,000MT +/- 10%”. The agent unfortunately passed the following onto the Master: “80,000MT +/- 10%”. The stowage plan approved by the charterer showed a quantity to be loaded of 91,036 mt.

Based on these instructions, the ship loaded 88,000 MT, ie. 10% more than the 80,000MT figure the Master had received, but 3,036MT less than should have been loaded as per the stowage plan.

The hire was paid based on the figure of 88,000MT loaded, so the owners brought a claim for deadfreight against the charterers for US$ 38,000, representing freight in respect of the 3,036MT coal not loaded.

It was clear that the short-loading had occurred solely as a result of the agent’s error in passing the relevant information to the Master. The agent settled this claim and ITIC reimbursed the agent.

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