No inspection today

Ship agents in Australia were nominated by the charterers of a bulk carrier loading grain.

Prior to loading, local regulations required that the vessel was inspected by a quarantine officer and it was the agent’s responsibility to make these arrangements, which included submitting a booking form to the quarantine department.

The ship agent spoke to the quarantine officer over the phone, but then forgot to submit the written request for an inspection until 10 minutes after the designated cut-off time.

The agent realised his error, and spoke to the quarantine officer but he was non-committal and could not confirm that an inspection could take place immediately upon arrival of the vessel at the berth (which he would have been required to do had the written request been sent in time).

In the end, the inspection did not take place until 24 hours after the vessel’s arrival. As a result, loading was delayed by 24 hours and the agents received a substantial claim not just for the lost time but also for cancellation charges the charterers had to pay to the terminal operators for stevedores and other service providers who had been booked. A settlement of US$ 50,000 was agreed.

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