Cargo shortage disputes especially of agriculture products are frequent at discharge Ports. We come across with these cases very often especially when vessel has loaded cargo at load port by shore scale and cargo is discharged at multiple discharge Ports by draft surveys. Ship staff often unaware of discharge conditions at Indian Ports falls prey and this results in cargo shortage claims against vessel/owners.
We shall be able to avoid cargo disputes by following measures:


Accurate calculation of constant

First step on arrival load port has to be accurate calculation of vessel’s constant. For this accurate draft survey to be carried out.
Vessel must not go by previous constants records. We come across many cases where bunkers have been wrongly declared . Vessel declares constant from its previous record and which finally result in cargo disputes at discharge port.


Density of DW/Hydrometer

Vessel must use accurate & certified hydrometers and carry out exact draft survey calculations to determine cargo quantity loaded.

Shore Scale Loading

Agriculture products are usually loaded at ports like Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil by shore scale. Though in Australian ports the shore scales are very accurate but even then shore scale must be compared by vessel’s draft survey.
In case of shortage of cargo from shore scale, draft survey quantity to be mentioned on mates receipt.

In case Clean MR/Bill of lading is to be issued , owners must ask charterers to provide LOI for difference in shore scale and draft survey quantity.

Arranging P&I

P&I attendance must be arranged at load port to ascertain cargo quantity and hatch sealing. There opinion must be taken in case of ship/shore discrepancy of cargo.For example West of England P&I club shall allows for a cargo discrepancy of 0.3% .Different clubs have different regulations in this matter.

Remarks in cargo documents

To safeguard owner’s interests.SOF /MR/BL to be properly remarked at port of loading .LOP to be issued for fumigation.

Multi port discharge

In case of multiple port discharge vessels must issue a protest letter for multiple port discharge stating that vessel shall be responsible for total discharged quantity only. Vessel shall not be responsible for individual port quantities/any overlanding/short landing at any of disport.

Charterers must be asked to issue LOI to owners in this matter.

U tubes

U tubes must be used  especially at load ports to check accurate drafts.



Record of cargo parameters to be carried out. Fumigation precautions to be taken. Ventilation to be carried out based on parameters to avoid cargo damage.


Port Captain Attendance

EDIN Maritime start attending vessels at first discharge port itself till her final discharge port and guide ship staff with our expertise and experience of Indian Ports. We continuously monitor her discharge operations at all discharge ports to ensure that she discharges her nominated quantity at every disport.

Anchorage discharge

Swell conditions- Vessels must fabricate and use wave dampers on board especially at anchorage port in-order to avoid errors in draft survey.

Wave damper

This will assist minimise errors in draft reading. Also vessel should put remarks regarding swell height in draft survey report.

P&I attendance

This to be arranged for draft survey/hatch unsealing.

Frequent draft surveys must be carried out while discharging & care need to be taken to avoid any over-discharging.


Ballast must be properly handled at load/discharge ports. A discrepancy in ballast calculation result in cargo discrepancy.

Theft of cargo

Theft of cargo is common in many ports. Ship staff must be vigilant.

Photographic evidence of any cargo spillage must be taken and LOP issued stating that vessel shall not be responsible for any cargo short landing.

Remarks in cargo documents

To safeguard owner’s interests.SOF /MR/BL to be properly remarked at port of loading .

With the above stated precautions, we shall be able to avoid cargo disputes.

EDIN Maritime are experts in taking care of interests of concerned parties .

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Capt Chander Vart

About Capt Chander Vart

Capt Chander Vart is Director of Edin Maritime Limited and has vast experience of sailing on tankers and dry bulk carriers. He also worked as Marine Superintendent with a ship management company before being appointed as the Director of Edin Maritime limited. Capt Chander Vart can be reached at chandervart@edinmaritime.co.uk, +91-9996068120 or through www.edinmaritime.com

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May 27, 2016

nice and much needed article i was searching for. gud initiative capt.:)

ankit raja
ankit raja
Aug 27, 2016

nicely explained sir

Dec 7, 2016

Captain nicely expressed. However it is pro owner and protects only the vessel captain and owners. There are ample cases where the claim against a vessel is genuine and shortages delivered. Obviously due to wrong load port calculations. In a controlled environment inside an impounded dock it is seldom possible that you lose more than 500 Mt cargo and with no pilferages in discharge port we still get shortages in still water readings. Worst is the case when master even tries to change draft readings by taking water in hold before final survey and keeps all hold covers shut so that it is not visible. This is a clear case of forgery. It has happened in front of us in one of our dry bulk shipments. P&I have been called up but the master is buying out time to adjust figures and as well as take out water from cargo hold. What will the steps taken in such cases by receivers. a they fine some shortage of over 4 to 5 hundred tons clearly visible.

Capt. Chander Vart
Capt. Chander Vart
Jun 4, 2017

Dear Sir, Aim of all concerned in maritime industry should be to avoid loss to industry it self. Only that can help protect interests all stake holders.We need to understand that ship is just a carrier and by all means vessel staff neither intends to load short cargo or to discharge short. A draft reading can be read differently by different people/angles thereby making different cargo calculations.As far as receivers are concerned they can appoint their draft surveyors both at load port and discharge ports to take care of their interests.Shipping being a international business it do get affected by different cultures around the world.Different people in various ports in different countries have different mind sets when they look upon a vessel.But so long as we strive to create excellence in industry itself Industry shall take care of us.

May 18, 2017

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May 18, 2017


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