Fumigation fines on northern Europe are on the rise

UK-based Group P&I Club NorthStandard has warned members that Northern European ports have been imposing an increasing number of fines on vessels carrying grain on the grounds that they have breached fumigation rules.

Recent activity had been focused on Belgian and Dutch ports, in particular Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where there were strict requirements on residual fumigant gas levels in the holds prior to discharge.

Such ports require the attendance of a chemist upon vessel arrival to take readings from the cargo holds of the level of residual fumigant gases. Should measurements over 1ppm are found, then discharge cannot commence. The vessel needs to ventilate to lower the residual gas levels. This can lead to delays, with Dutch P&I Correspondents – NorthStandard’s correspondent in the Netherlands – reporting that this has in some cases taken up to three weeks.

The appointed chemist can request a copy of the vessel’s gas monitoring records when they board. If the vessel cannot produce these records, then the authorities could issue a fine for non-compliance with the IMSBC Code.

NorthStandard advised members that vessels should therefore ensure they follow the requirements and best practice whenever carrying a cargo that undergoes fumigation in transit.