New secure stowage guidance from London Club to reduce cargo loss and liability claims

London P&I Club has released new operational guidance for the carrying and securing of non-standard cargo during transportation. It said that the move was a bid to reduce stowage risks and the number of serious accidents that had occurred as a result of inadequate securing arrangements.

The new guidance, Reducing the Risk of Damage to or Loss of Non-Standardized Cargo, was produced in collaboration with TMC Marine and Bureau Veritas.

London Club said that the new guidance was not intended to replace official regulations and guidance notes or any document that forms part of a vessel’s Safety Management System, including the cargo securing manual.

The guidance noted that cargoes that had proven to be a potential source of danger due to inadequate stowage methods included portable tanks and receptacles, special wheel-based vehicles such as locomotives or mining equipment, wind farm components such as towers and blades, and offshore mooring equipment.

Carl Durow, Loss Prevention Manager at The London P&I Club, said that “ships carrying non-standardised cargo face an increased risk of loss or damage during transit due to the infrequent nature of such cargo. General carriers may lack the experience in securing different loads.”

He said that the Club wanted to highlight effective methods that crews could take to ensure that cargo was secured properly, reducing the risks of liability related to damaged or lost goods, damage to the vessel itself or the safety of crew members or other ships at sea.

The guidance also noted that appropriate precautions should be taken for cargo with abnormal physical dimensions, in order to ensure that no structural damage to the ship occurred and in order to maintain adequate stability throughout the voyage.

London Club recommends that an independent cargo securing survey be carried out when carrying non-standardised cargo in order to ensure that effective stowage methods have been applied. The guidance also recommends that the cargo surveyor liaise with the Master, Chief Officer and stevedores during the survey, and that a full report with photographs is produced prior to transit.