Steel Pre-Shipment Surveys

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Further to the Bulletin issued on 21 March 2011, the Club continues to receive requests for advice as to when steel pre-shipment surveys are to be undertaken.

Vessel owners have an obligation to cargo owners to deliver cargo in the same condition as when it was loaded. However, finished steel products are susceptible to physical damage and rusting which can occur prior to shipment. Even relatively minor damage to steel products can lead to extensive claims being pursued against a vessel owner which may well have occured prior to loading. In order to defend claims, and for the Club to be able to best protect Members’ interests, the importance of accurately claused bills of lading is therefore essential.

Preventing a loss is always better than handling a claim and the steel pre-shipment inspection is one of the best loss prevention measures that Members can take with regard to cargo care.

Experienced surveyors know what to look for and where to look for it.

Products (hot rolled) that should be subjected to a pre-shipment survey include:

  • Structural sections
  • Beams and columns
  • Bearing piles
  • Channels
  • Angles/Bulbs
  • Plates
  • Hot rolled steel in coils or bundles
  • Cold rolled steel in coils, packs or bundles
  • Coils of bar and wire rod
  • Flat bars, merchant bars and grousers
  • Track products
  • Small and large diameter pipes
  • Sheet piling
  • Coated steel pipes
  • Profiles/Girders.

Products not routinely requiring a pre-shipment survey include:

  • Slabs
  • Pig iron
  • Ingots
  • Billets
  • Blooms
  • Scrap steel (if loading borings/turnings this should be carried out according to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code)
  • Steel re-bars (finished product however a pre-load survey is not normally required)
  • Project cargo (a specific survey for load, stowage and securing may be undertaken as a prudent measure).

Additionally, it is usual when carrying out the pre-shipment survey that the appointed surveyor will also:

  • Inspect the vessel’s hatchcovers to ensure weathertight integrity
  • Advise the Master on, and monitoring of, loading and stowage.

If Members require any further information please contact the Club’s Loss Prevention department.