Steel cargo loading during Covid-19 pandemic

American Club has published a guidance on the loading of steel cargoes where third-party surveyors are prevented from attending vessels due to Covid-19 restrictions

American Club said that in some ports the new regulations brought into force that have been designed to inhibit the spread of the Covid-19 virus have had the unintended side effect of preventing, and continuing to prevent, third-party surveyors from attending vessels about to load finished steel products, the coverage of which is predicated upon the attendance of such surveyors – as well as the fulfilment of other requirements – in accordance with standard steel cargo survey clause wordings.

In such cases, which the Club hoped would be comparatively rare, it would be prepared to consider coverage of cargoes of finished steel products, subject to fulfilment of certain stipulations.

The Club emphasized that this accommodation should not be considered a waiver of the requirements of the Club’s steel cargo survey clause in general, and would only apply on a case-by-case basis where a Member could clearly demonstrate, with supporting documentary evidence, the impossibility of arranging the attendance of a third-party surveyor in a particular port at a particular time.

Even where this was demonstrated, coverage in regard to claims as might subsequently emerge “would be dependent upon proof of the Member’s meticulous compliance with every element of the recommendations contained in the Club’s Transport Guidance For Steel Cargoes, as well as the general observations contained in Club Circular 23/14, Steel Cargo PreLoad Surveys: An Update, of August 11th 2014”, the club said.

The Club reminded members that they had an overarching obligation to act at all times as prudent uninsureds and must also comply with every other requirement of coverage in general.