Misdeclared container cargoes are worrying insurers

There are probably more than 6m undeclared or misdeclared hazardous contents of containers every year, according to Captain John Dolan, Standard Club’s deputy director for Loss Prevention, who was addressing the UAE branch of the International Institute of Marine Surveying in Dubai last week.

Dolan is also the club’s representative at the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS) forum. He said that the long-term growth in container ship size made it more urgent to tackle the issue.

He said that more vigilance was required. He recommended that carriers should:

  • gain more knowledge of their customers
  • develop strong know-your-customer relationships
  • take extra care on due diligence and the closer vetting of new shippers
  • pay particular attention to freight forwarders and the booking processes of slot charterers.

Dolan cited the highly publicized figure that a serious fire requiring external assistance on containerships now occurs approximately every 30 days, and that TT Club had said that containership crews themselves were tackling at least one fire every week.

The cost to the insurance industry was estimated by Dolan at more than $500m a year. He claimed that this was leading to rising insurance premiums, both for H&M and P&I cover.