Acindar, Argentina: Strong river currents in Parana River causing claims

Steamship P&I Club has informed members that the owner of an entered vessel recently contacted the Club to ask for information about berthing procedures on the Parana River. The Member’s concern stemmed from hearing about a recent serious FFO incident while a vessel  that was entered with another IG Club was berthing at a bulk loading terminal in Acindar, Argentina.

Steamship said that after investigating the matter it had established that the latest incident was one of several that have occurred in recent years – all of which have led to multi-million dollar claims for repairs to berths, mooring dolphins and loading equipment, as well as consequential losses and damage to hull.

The claims shared the same root cause – attempting to berth fully loaded Panamax bulk carriers without tug assistance in an area where the river currents can be strong and unpredictable. The berth is located just downstream of a port bend in the river and the outer starboard bank, that is, close to the terminal is where the maximum current flow can be expected:

Local port agent Antares Shipping has reported that tug use at the terminal is not compulsory. The Club noted that “experience suggests that the natural inclination of vessel Masters, being mindful of managing voyage costs, will be to not engage them”.

The Club said that, while this desire was understandable the Club recommended that vessel Masters, in consultation with pilots, should carefully consider the undoubted benefits and assurance that tugs can provide against the relatively modest additional costs of using them.