Off duty messages

It was the weekend and a member of a tanker broker’s operations staff was not on duty. A message was received on their phone, which was linked to their individual email address.

The email was sent by a colleague in a different office for forwarding to the owners. The message was an important instruction regarding the amount of cargo to be loaded. Although the operations person saw the message they assumed that it had also been addressed to the general operations email address and would be dealt with by a colleague who was on duty. They therefore took no action. Unfortunately, the message was only addressed to their individual email address and the message was not passed on.

The reason for the revised instruction was that the charterer wanted to change the discharge port rotation to avoid severe congestion at what was originally scheduled to be the first port. This revised rotation would require a reduction in the vessel’s draft to enable her discharge at what would now be the first port. The message was not passed on and the wrong amount of cargo was loaded. There was no option but to remain with the original rotation and demurrage was incurred. This was passed onto the broker who was reimbursed by ITIC.

A large number of claims caused by messages not being forwarded involve communications between different offices of the same broking company. Ensure that you have systems in place to prevent similar errors occurring in your business.

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