Hazardous bulk cargo documentation
A Shippers Declaration is required under the IMO Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code) to be made by the shipper of a hazardous solid bulk cargo, e.g. coal, for the guidance of the master.
Shippers Declaration outlines the cargos characteristics, including (for coal):
transportable moisture limit (TML);
estimated stowage factor (SF);
angle of repose;
contractual sulphur content;
IMO category for ocean transportation purposes.
The Shippers Declaration also lists any special precautions required and states where emergency procedures may be found, e.g. in the Coal section of the BC Code, and reproduces relevant extracts.
A Masters Response Sheet may be issued by a shipper to the master after loading a hazardous bulk cargo in an effort to obtain information on the behaviour of the cargo during the voyage, where this behaviour does not correspond to that stated on the Shippers Declaration.
An export permit may be required by the carrier from the shipper before loading certain goods, e.g. arms and works of art, under the exporting port States legislation. It may be required where the goods are destined for a country which is subject to a legal embargo, e.g. a UN embargo.
A certificate of origin is often a requirement under the terms of a Letter of Credit, and is therefore demanded by banks involved in documentary credit transactions. It is usually issued by a chamber of commerce in the country of origin to attest to the true source of the goods.
A certificate of quality may be required under the terms of a contract of sale of goods.
A certificate of readiness to load is issued by the loading port State authorities in respect of a cargo which is subject to special loading requirements, such as grain, concentrates and timber on deck, to certify that the intended loading compartments have been inspected and that the requirements of the relevant regulations or approved practice have been complied with. It may contain special requirements of the port State authorities as to loading.
A cargo stowage plan, cargo plan or hold distribution plan may be produced by shore loading staff or by ships staff. When sent ahead of the vessel to the agent at the port of discharge enables stevedores to plan the discharge operation.
A hatch sealing certificate may be issued by specialist hatch-sealing operatives after compartments have been sealed to prevent unauthorised entry after following loading or fumigation
A certificate of fitness to proceed to sea may be issued by a marine Administration at a loading port State to certify that insofar as the stowage of the cargo conforms to the appropriate regulations or approved practice, the vessel is fit to proceed to sea. It may be required to obtain outwards clearance from a customs officer. It should not be confused with a certificate of seaworthiness.
An empty hold (or empty tank) certificate may be issued to the master by the discharging stevedores representative to confirm that holds or tanks which should have been completely discharged of cargo are, in fact, empty. It may be useful in countering claims of short-landing.
Ships delivery orders (SDOs) may be issued by the shipowner to cargo receivers where a bulk cargo, portions of which are consigned to different consignees, is carried under a single bill of lading. A ships delivery order is defined in section 1 of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992 as any document which is neither a bill of lading nor a sea waybill but contains an undertaking which (a) is given under or for the purposes of a contract for the carriage by sea of the goods to which the document relates, or of goods which include those goods; and (b) is an undertaking by the carrier to a person identified in the document to deliver the goods to which the document relates to that person.
Instead of the shipowners agent at the discharge port accepting surrender of an original bill of lading and issuing a new bill to each receiver, he issues a ships delivery order to each receiver in exchange for the bill, on payment of any freight and charges due. In the ships delivery order the shipowner undertakes to deliver to the named consignee the quantity of cargo intended for him. The ships delivery order is, therefore, a document of title.