Ship surveyors Fujairah

Blog | Ship Surveyors Fujairah


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Marine Cargo Pre-loading Survey and Inspection

Marine Cargo Pre-loading Survey and Inspection – Pre-loading Cargo Inspection Procedure

Marine Cargo Pre-loading Survey and Inspection:Constellation Marine Services as ship and cargo surveyors would like to bring to the attention of the shipping community the benefits of appointing the survey Company M/s. Constellation Marine Services to carry out a pre-loading inspection of the cargo /container during loading the cargo into an export container. Constellation Marine Services  have extensively  trained their staff surveyors  to prepare them to carry out the job they are assigned by protecting the interest of the party they are representing and ensuring safety of the cargo during transit.

Upon receiving an enquiry from a customer by Constellation Marine Services, the scope of the job is discussed and confirmed before sending the quotation. Once the quotation is approved and nomination is confirmed. The job is assigned to a competent surveyor from the staff with detailed briefing on the scope and requirements to smoothly carry out the nominated job.

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The objective of the towage inspection is to ensure safety of life at sea, prevention of human injury and loss of valuable cargo that is being towed. To make sure the cargo loaded from safe berth at port “A” is safely transported to safe berth “B” in the same or another country, a towing inspection is required to be carried out onboard. The client or charterer will appoint an approved (Gov.) marine survey company to issue the fitness certificate for Safe Ocean towage according to the IMO guideline resolution A. 765(18).

In the region of UAE. Who can carry out an ocean towage inspection?

We, Constellation Marine Services are one of the Federal Transport Authority’s leading marine survey company utilizing the expertise Naval Architects, Master Mariners, Chartered Engineers and consultant surveyors who are ready to deliver professional service which complies with marine standards while still striving to exceed the client’s expectation.

A typical towage approval inspection will start with a Surveyor from Constellation Marine Services appointed to carry out towing inspection in, for example, Mina Saqr port or port of Fujairah.

The below is an enumeration of the sequence of events associated with this activity:

In our attendance, the loading was completed, barge and the towing tug was alongside double banked (Stbd. side to Stbd. side). The barge was loaded with cargo, as per draft survey report onboard the total loaded cargo was 15,580 MT. and the designated port of discharge at a foreign port with GCC state executing an international voyage.
The appointed surveyor inspected the condition of barge this inspection included: navigation lights, summer load line mark (plimsol line), towing gears such as smith bracket, shackles, chaffing chain etc., water tight integrity and emergency towing arrangement or barge towing arrangement.

Upon boarding the towing tug the following documents for barge and towing tug are checked onboard for their validity amongst other things.

1. certificate of registry
2. International load line,
3. International tonnage certificate,
4. P & I certificate,
5. H & M certificate,
6. Proof/ through load test certificate of towing arrangement (barge & tug).
7. Loose gear certificate of barge (Main & Emergency towing assembly).
8. Loos gear certificate for tug towing gears.
9. Towing winch manufacture certificate.

As per the instruction of attending surveyor, to the towing tug master connected the pennant wire of the main tow line of winch and heave up the delta plate for visual inspection. During this operation it was a challenging job for a master of the tug for heaving the delta plate and place it on the main deck of the tug, therefore, the master noticed that at an maximum haul of towing winch the delta plate and its corresponding lines got stuck and the master informed the attending surveyor, that he needed to board, Thereafter, the attending surveyor from Constellation Marine explained the reason why it may have been stuck and instructed the matter in professional way to resolve matter & assisted in all ways.

The reason why the main towing delta plate was stuck? And the master refused to heave up the delta plate because the master is aware of there will be pressure building on the towing connections (chaffing chain, bridle wire and pennant wire) and there is a chance for breakage of lines.

Therefore, the attending surveyor explained, the difficulties for heaving up delta plate is because the tug in double banked which is paralleling moored. In such case, the chaffing chain, bridle wire on the other end (port side of barge) will get stuck, since the EWL was 5X15 Mtrs. If Breadth of the barge is more than 22Mtrs.


The attending surveyor instructed the master of the tug to make an angle of 90 degree corresponding to the barge bow and slack the forward mooring lines to keep the tug in contact with barge and then heave up. Eventually the delta plate came out of the water and placed on the main deck for our complete inspection.

Once the delta plate was on the main deck, it had been noted that the barge port side bridle wire was disconnected with delta plate and eventually other shackle pins were loose. Thereafter the ship crew heaved the port side bridle wire with the help of tugger winch and reconnected with delta plate.

Delta Plate appeared without bridle wire

Pic # 1. Delta Plate appeared without bridle wire

After reconnecting the bridle wire with new split pins.

Pic # 2. After reconnecting the bridle wire with new split pins.

Thereafter, informed the chief officer to make other shackle pins tight and change with new split pins and inspected the main and emergency towing assembly arrangement and tug bollard pull adequacy to tow the fully loaded barge even in the rough se condition (swell height >2M).

Hence, towing inspections are important to save the client’s valuable cargo.


Prepared by
Engr. Syed Yasir Ahmed
Naval Architect /Marine Design Engineer

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Containers carrying samples and the effect on Product Integrity


Disputes relating to “off-spec” or contaminated liquid cargoes are a recurring problem and contamination claims often result in large sums of money being at stake.

Often, the cause and/or location of the contamination can be quickly identified if the appropriate samples are drawn and retained in suitable containers.

While sufficient and current information is available on sampling procedures and techniques, circulation and quantification for testing blends, instrumentation and calibration, there is little formal documentation at hand for the type of sample container utilized in sampling and retention, and this is required to be questioned.
The composition and the construction of the sample container has a significant impact on quality of the sample it contains, and any deviation from standard recommendations may lead to testing laboratory producing “false negative” results.

Cargo surveyors – representing the interests of the cargo owners or the carriers are reminded that improper sampling containers used (often an overlooked aspect) may result in the samples being rejected and not being considered as evidence for a claim.


SHIPOWNERS P&I reports an increase in the number of contamination incidents. The defense of claims of this nature relies heavily on the samples taken during loading and discharging operations. However, the club reports an increase in cases of poor labelling, incorrect sealing, the use of dirty sample bottles or the incorrect bottle type for the product.

In a recently concluded cargo contamination survey, cargo surveyors were appointed by the shippers of the cargo to investigate a potential contamination issue of a parcel of Jet AI being loaded on board a vessel.
Initial independent samples for first foot were taken, basis customary agreement between the shipper and the carrier, from the loaded tanks, however sample tested was a composite, with equal volume from each tank.
The sample tested “off-spec” for particulate contamination.

The cargo surveyor on board recommended a further joint sampling and testing with the carrier’s surveyor, for individual tank sample to be tested, to determine per tank particulate contamination.

The carrier and the shipper were, during the joint sampling, placed under considerable pressure from the terminal on resumption or vacating the berth, in view of the idle occupancy of the berth by the vessel during the sampling process.

In order to expedite the sampling and testing process in the circumstances experienced, the cargo surveyor thought it prudent to use plastic bottles for cargo sample retention, those readily available on board, instead of the acceptable clear or opaque glass bottles.

The samples were drawn and dispatched to the laboratory, thereafter tested expeditiously, and the results were again “off-spec” for particulate contamination, however, carriers raised a concern on the container used.
The results of these samples were thus challenged, which caused further delay to the vessel, subsequently, the vessel was asked and instructed to vacate the berth.


Sample containers come in varying sizes, materials, designs and colors. The most common of these are glass, plastic and metal.

The decision as to which type of sample container would be most appropriate to use will depend very much on the nature of the product being sampled and the analyst’s intentions regarding analysis and storage.

The API manual – Sampling section recommends being able to select the right container for a given application, one must have knowledge of the material to be sampled to ensure that there will be no interaction between the sampled material and the material of the container that would affect the integrity of either.

Additional considerations in the selection of sample containers are the type mixing required to remix the contents before transferring a sample from the container and the type of laboratory analysis that are to be conducted on the sample.

Regardless of the type of sample container used, the sample container should be large enough to contain the required sample volume and enough ullage space for thermal expansion and mixing of the sample.
Plastic bottles made of suitable material may be used for handling and storage of gas oil, diesel oil, fuel oil, and lubricating oil. Bottles of this type should not be used for gasoline, aviation jet fuel, kerosene, crude oil white spirit, medicinal white oil, and special boiling point products unless testing indicates there is no problem with solubility, contamination, or loss of light components.

In no circumstances shall nonlinear (conventional) polyethylene containers be used to store samples of liquid hydrocarbons. This is to avoid sample contamination or sample bottle failure. Used engine oil samples that may have been subject to fuel dilution should not be stored in plastic containers.
Clear glass bottles may be examined visually for cleanliness, and they allow for visual inspection of the sample for free water cloudiness and solid impurities. The brown glass bottle affords some protection to the samples when light may affect the test results.

When cans are to be used, they must have seams that have been soldered on the exterior surfaces with a flux of resin in a suitable solvent. Such a flux is easily removed with gasoline, whereas many others are very difficult to remove. Minute traces of flux may contaminate the sample so that results obtained on tests such as dielectric strength, oxidation resistance, and sludge formation may be erroneous. Internal epoxy lined cans may have residual contamination and precautions should be taken to ensure its removal.


Liquid cargoes are inherently vulnerable to changes in composition through interactions with their surroundings as they have the potential to become damaged or absorb contaminants.

This is fundamental to the choice of containers being used for retention of liquid samples, ensuring testing do not lead to false negative.

It is extremely important for ship owners and carriers to understand that when it comes to liquid cargo disputes, it is easy for cargo interests to have the upper hand due to their access to shore tank samples from loading and discharge ports. It is therefor evident that ships crew should not only be able to take correct and sufficient samples of the cargo being loaded / discharged, they should insure these are stored in correct receptacles capable of long term storage without them altering the inherent property of the sample.

If we assume that a sampling was representative and detrimental to the qualification of a particular cargo / commodity, then we may say that testing is the most important tool in judging a dispute (if it arises) objectively.
For this reason, it is imperative that containers used for retaining samples do not taint or alter the properties of the liquid it contains.

The Swedish Club in consultation with TCI scientific state it is primarily the environment around the cargo that decides if changes occur, and consideration in maintaining ideal conditions must include the use of correct sampling containers being given equal importance, in addition to the normal inserting procedures, strict observance of epoxy curing protocols, meticulous tank cleaning, due diligence for cargo compatibility, and other precautions help to prevent incidences.

Blog by Capt.Vispy Rusi Dadimaster- Master Mariner


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We constellation Marine often carry’s out the pre-vetting SIRE inspection preparation (ship inspection report programmed) for our clients. Sire output and credentials plays a Very important role for tankers and chemical tanker’s when getting approved by several oil majors. Let’s have some brief idea about it and key elements for same.
Process used by oil & chemical companies to assess acceptability of 3rd party vessels to carry their cargoes and/or call at their terminals.

The SIRE inspections are based on industry best practices developed by the industry itself. Of course, each oil major might have their own specific requirements for clearing vessels.

The basic operating principles of SIRE:

 How reports are accessed by recipients
 What the delivered reports look like
 Using the VIQs for SIRE self-inspections
 Reporting defects and corrective actions – The defect management system

SIRE inspections – key issues:

 Overall safety
 Conduct of the inspection
 The SIRE report editor – The inspector’s reporting tool
 Inspector observations
 Other comments, additional comments
 The new officer qualification matrix
 Getting ready and staying ready for inspection
 Oil Record Book

Analysis of parts I and II of an oil record book. How to review the excerpts and record where the entries may reveal problems or irregularities.

The inspection preparation:

Below mentioned sectors requires high attention and if we maintain same all the time then vessel is ready for inspection at given point of time.

 Remember first impressions is the last impression.
 Gangway boarding and safety briefing
 The opening meeting
 Important certificates and documentation
 ESP documentation.
 Officers’ licences
 Hours of rest records
 Wheelhouse and navigation
 Communications
 External areas
 Maindeck, and foc’s’le
 Oil spill protection
 Cargo and crude oil washing piping
 Fire lines and other piping
 Manifold area, gangways
 IG distribution system
 Deck water seal, non-return valve
 PV breaker, IG branch piping
 Cargo tank venting and secondary venting systems
 Assessment of tank condition
 Ballast water sampling
 Mooring systems
 Pump room
 Cargo operations and cargo control room, engine room
 PPE, documentation
 Engine control room
 The walk round, oily water separator
 Steering gear
 Accommodation – internal
 De-briefing with the master
 Dealing with SIRE inspectors
 Dealing with inspection reports
 How it is and how it can be done

The Inspection Process:

The Vetting inspection is simply an inspection ie. a “snap shot in time”.
For vetting purposes doesn’t declare that vessel has passed or failed an inspection, but the inspection forms part of overall screening process.

Vetting inspection preparation may be under taken by:

i. Individual oil/chemical companies or terminals
ii. Accredited SIRE inspectors under the SIRE system
iii. Accredited CDI inspectors under the CDI system

As per Intertanko:” The SIRE system is a very large database of up- to-date information about tankers and barges. Essentially, SIRE has focused tanker industry awareness on the importance of meeting satisfactory tanker quality and ship safety standards. Since its introduction, the SIRE Programme has received industry-wide acceptance and participation by both OCIMF Members, Programme recipients and by ship Operators. The expansion of Barges and small vessels into SIRE was inaugurated in late 2004.”

In many cases, an “acceptable SIRE result” is often less of a measure of risk and more of a raw count of the number of observations contained in one or more SIRE reports. Two observations in

Chapters 4 (Navigation),
5 (Safety) or
6 (Pollution Prevention) are likely to result in rejection, regardless of the nature of those observations.

SIRE is the “Higher Authority”

  • The ship’s owner/operator doesn’t have to follow the SIRE requirements. But the oil companies don’t have to hire the ship either.In other words, OCIMF, through the SIRE program. has made safety an economic priority.
    Hence last but not the least sire inspection has increased the safety level and bound to follow the safety awareness culture in industry. It has reduced the number of incident drastically caused due to human error and equipment failure.

pre-vetting sire inspection

Blog Written by Capt. Manish Kumar- Master Mariner

                                                                                                                                                     Download Full Blog here (pdf)

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Break bulk cargos are goods that must be loaded individually on a ship and was the most common form of cargo for most of the history of shipping. The term break bulk derives from the phrase breaking bulk—the extraction of a portion of the cargo of a machinery, plant etc. Break bulk cargo is transported commonly in containers, crates etc or individually.

Qualified Surveyors from Constellation Marine Services attend un loading operations of break bulk cargo from container ships all over the world. The cargo arrived in a secured/lashed condition on one or more Flat Rack containers and containers were locked to the ship’s structure/holds by twist locks.

On arrival of the vessel at discharge port, Constellation Marine’s surveyor boarded the vessel and inspected the break bulk cargo which was secured on the Flat Rack containers along with ship’s responsible person. It was noted that the cargoes were properly secured/lashed on the Flat Rack containers by means of lashing belts. After pre-discharge inspection of the break bulk cargo and the condition of lifting gears & its certificates, the cargo was discharged by using shore gantry crane with the help of wire slings / shackles, which were connected to the lashing hooks of the cargo.


1) A tool box meeting to be conducted with all concerned (representative from ship, shore & stevedores) and to be discussed about the sequence of unloading & safety precautions to be followed.

2) To be inspected the condition of the cargo which was loaded/secured on board the vessel along with ship’s staff.
Pre-discharge inspection by a surveyor includes to check the condition of the cargo for any damages (existing or fresh), condition of lashing straps/wires along with associated gears & its suitability.

3) To inspect the condition of gears (straps/wires & cranes) using for lifting/hoisting the cargo and by the stevedores – physical condition, safe working load & to check the validity of third party inspection certificate.

4) To assist and co ordinating with stevedore’s Forman for a smooth un loading operation.

damage survey

During our qualified surveyor’s continuous supervision of cargo pre-discharge/loading inspection or discharging/loading of break bulk cargos, we have never experienced any breakages falling of cargo nor any shifting while sea passage in the 17000+ nominations so far executed by Constellation Marine’s qualified surveyors and naval architects.

Re working and verification of lashing arrangements prior sailing out upon loading of heavy lifts, break bulk units by our qualified & experienced naval architects is one of the key strengths of Constellation Marine Service’s deliverance to this segment of Maritime transportation industry.

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It can be said with a degree of certainty, that when disputes arise over bunker quantity, any ‘post-delivery’ investigation on quantity shortages are often inconclusive especially if the shipboard personnel involved in bunkering operation have neglected the basic principles of safeguarding its owners/charterers’ rights in way of collecting and preserving evidence.

A success of any bunker dispute claim will largely depend on the detailed contemporaneous written evidence by the shipboard personnel at the time the supply is made.

To that end Constellation Marine services strongly recommend the use of a bunker quantity surveyor.
Considering the present bunker fuel prices, we opine “bunker stem survey” is necessary, to make sure that the quantities as mentioned on the Bunker Delivery Note (BDN) are true and correct and matching with quantity received by the ship.

However, there are many ship operators who leave the above procedure to the Chief Engineer to save on survey cost with the vessel often ending up with incorrect supplied quantity and a commercial loss of thousands of dollars for the operators.

Loss prevention during bunker stemming largely depends on the hands-on approach and practical experience of the bunker surveyors and Constellation Marine Services having in-depth experience is able to offer these ‘Bunker Stem Surveys’ to ship owners and charterers regionally.

The importance of this service cannot be over emphasized, and the following story will highlight this:
The owners and Chief engineer of a super Yatch located in Dubai dry docks made a call for an independent bunker sounding exercise to Constellation Marine services.

Upon attendance it was observed that the bunker delivery was already completed, a BDN was signed by the Chief Engineer on the agreed amount of 300 MT.

During the bunkering operations, no ship tank sounding was taken, the Chief Engineer relying on a sophisticated electronic tank gauge system located within the engine control room. On completion of bunkers, the Chief engineer signed off the BDN provided by the Supplier for the delivered quantity.

After a certain period, post 6 to 8 hours after completion of the bunker operation, the chief engineer decided to gauge his nominated tanks and discovered 34MT short supply.

Surveyors from constellation Marine were engaged thereafter for an independent sounding, and it came as no surprise that our attending surveyor discovered 36MT short supply and the reason.

The Chief engineer was now left exposed with no recourse to defend the short fall, having signed the BDN already. In short, he “was had” by the tricks of the supplier and was left nursing the typical “morning after” syndrome.
Constellation Marine Services over the years have carefully analyzed and assimilated the “tricks of the trade” employed by typical bunker suppliers and are in a very good position to offer advice, consultancy and loss prevention to its clients – shipowners and charterers and any party that are stemming bunkers.

The extent to which bunker suppliers will go to, and the knowledge and experience of Constellation Marine surveyors to counter this, is highlighted below. Trust this will assist potential owners and charterers to make the right choice for their bunker surveyor requirements


Marine fuel is always sold by weight (mass) and delivered by volume. Hence for this reason bunker receipts must always be signed “For Volume Only” and adding the words “weight to be determined after testing of the representative sample”. Never sign for weight if uncertain about the density.

What many do not realize is that the density given in the supplier’s bunker delivery note (BDN) may not be true and thus the weight determined by calculation should be considered as the ‘preliminary’ weight of the fuel transferred to the vessel. The actual weight is only determined after the density is verified by an independent fuel testing authority and then factored into the final recalculation of the actual weight of the fuel delivered onboard.

That is why we always stress the importance of accurately obtaining bunker samples both onboard the vessel and the barge. If the density of fuel cannot be verified onboard or independently verified at the time of bunkering, the BDN should be signed only for ‘volume’ and not for weight

Remember whenever in doubt or have concerns always issue a letter of protest.


In view of the several thousand tons of marine fuel sold and purchased each day, the high rate of thermal expansion of Marine fuels must be considered.

Suppliers, specially through bunker barges will often try to under-declare the temperature during the opening gauge and over-declare during the closing.

This malpractice is quite common in day to day bunkering and therefore its extremely important to check all bunker tanks during the opening gauge and thereafter periodically check and record the temperature of the fuel as it is pumped onboard.

Always check and record the temperatures of the fuel tanks before and after and periodically during bunkering operation

Remember whenever in doubt or have concerns always issue a letter of protest


So much has been mentioned about the cappuccino effect yet there is so little ordinary bunkers surveyor can do to find this out. At constellation marine services, our experienced bunker surveyors have a keen eye and ear to ascertain the this is being done.
Our surveyors can easily identify if the following signs are an indication of a cappuccino effect or otherwise:
Signs of froth/foam on the surface of the fuel in the barge tanks during opening gauge
Excessive bubbles on the sounding tape prior to, during and after bunkering
Bunker hose jerking or whipping around
Slow delivery rates then what has been agreed
Gurgling sound in vicinity of bunker manifold
Fluctuations of pressure on manifold pressure gauge.
Unusual noises from the bunker barge


Water can originate from number of sources like heating coil damage causing leakages and tank condensation; however deliberate injection cannot be ruled out.

In case large quantity is found then a letter of protest should be issued immediately. However, the exact quantity of water can only be determined after the settlement phase where the water would have settled down at the bottom of the bunker tank.

Fuel samples provided by the barge may not have any traces of water as the samples may have been taken prior to bunkering and mixing of water.

Our bunker surveyors will ensure that the fuel samples are collected during bunkering and not before or after. For these reasons never sign labels in advance or sign for samples of unknown origin. Samples should only be signed for those witnessed.


It is not uncommon for bunker supplier barges to transfer fuel cargo from a high-level tank to a low-level tank by gravity. Essentially what this achieves is a measurement of the same quantity of fuel twice.

This method is still in use and if not detected the barge can claim that full quantity was delivered to the vessel, but the vessel will have a substantial shortfall.

Our bunker surveyors are aware of this practice and they will always re-gauge the tanks in the following sequence:
If the initial gauging was forward to aft, then after gauging the last aft tank; our surveyor will re-gauge all tanks from aft to forward. The readings must be the same.

As an additional precaution, our surveyor will re-gauge the first tank(s) used to transfer oil to the vessel to ensure the reading matches that taken during the initial gauging.

The only effective way of dealing with this dubious practice is re-sounding the tanks as above before bunkering commences. There is no other preventive measure available for this.


NEVER agree to go by the flow meter reading alone for fuel delivered quantity. Modern flow meters are extremely capable devices designed for an accurate measurement of what they are designed to measure, and highly difficult to tamper with BUT – There may also be unauthorized piping (by-pass lines) fitted to the flow meter running into the pump suction side and thus this unauthorized contraption will register the throughput of fuel twice through the flow meter.

Keep a bunker surveyor handy and on board in-spite of barges claims of a fully functional Flow Meter.


Having more than one set of sounding book is not uncommon and having the tables modified to the supplier’s advantage is always a possibility.

Inserted pages, corrections, different print/paper type are all indications of tampering. Sometimes the barge may have a new calibration table (with the old one being obsolete). This could be following modification of the tanks internal structure during a dry dock repair or simply because the original calibration tables would have been incorrect.

The same could be said for the list / trim correction tables which could be easily modified again to the supplier’s advantage.

Our attending surveyors have experience to call this out and will always be there to engage the barge supplier to provide ONLY class approved clean tables.


Our attending surveyors will NEVER TAKE THE SUPPLIER’S WORD FOR IT, EVER on a tank being empty. They will always verify that the tanks claimed to be empty are indeed empty.
Our bunker surveyor will notify the barge representative that the zero-dip volume of the tank(s) shall be included in the bunker tanker calculations.
Our bunker surveyors will insure liquid cargo can only be trim and/or list corrected if the liquid is in contact with all bulkheads. When the liquid is not in contact with all bulkheads, a wedge correction will be applied.
The only way thus to ensure Empty Tank is indeed empty is
Do not assume any tanks to be empty even when reaching stripping level
Check tank calibration tables to verify the un-pumpable
Apply correct list / trim corrections during calculations


This is indeed a contention that is hard to digest by the vessels owners and operators. It is therefore extremely important for owners and charterers to employ bunker surveyors to ascertain the exact fuel quantity onboard prior stemming bunkers.

The malpractices during bunkering operations which we see and hear about are quite prevalent with bunker suppliers; but on many occasions we have come across situations where the receiving vessel will be as much involved as the supplier in these dubious practices. Often, we have found that the vessel would under-declare fuel quantity which is then either sold back to the barge supplier or simply kept hidden on the vessel until an opportunity comes along to profit from this.

To end, we request ship owner, charterers and any party stemming bunkers to make use of an independent bunker quantity surveyor, not just any but one that has the relevant experience, acumen and intelligence to call out and counter the “tricks of the trade” employed by bunker suppliers.

Do not thus fall for the morning after Syndrome.

Also, visit for famous bunkers surveyors uae.

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Vessel Hold Cleaning Survey

Vessel Hold Cleaning Services and Survey

The design of modern dry bulk carriers is centered on their holds and has over time evolved to be as efficient as possible in terms of volume of cargo carried.

But what happens when the voyage is completed and the cargo holds are empty? What comes next is a process that can make the difference between securing the ship’s next employment and losing a charter by failing to meet regulatory requirements.

Good cargo hold cleaning is vital for dry cargo ship owners and operators. This is where Constellation Marine Services can offer valuable support to ship owners, with a hold cleaning product that is extremely efficient, economical and consistent in application and end result.

Constellation offers Hold cleaning and hold inspection survey services that can demystify various and rigorous requirements, with predictable supply of manpower, material and proprietary knowledge so that owners can keep vessels to the correct standards between voyages no matter where they are in the region.

But what is hold cleaning – Preparation of a cargo hold prior loading is not just sweeping, cleaning or washing down the hold. There are a number of matters to consider, and failing to adhere to good practice can result in a failure to pass cargo hold inspection.

In the dry bulk trades, and with reference to West of England loss prevention bulletin there are essentially five grades of hold cleanliness as may be specified in the shippers / charterers contractual agreements:

• Hospital clean, or ‘stringent’ cleanliness
• Grain clean, or high cleanliness
• Normal clean
• Shovel clean
• Load on top

Hospital clean is the most stringent, requiring the holds to have 100% intact paint coatings on all surfaces, including the tank top, all ladder rungs and undersides of hatches. The standard of hospital clean is a requirement for certain cargoes, for example kaolin/china clay, mineral sands including zircon, barites, rutile sand, ilmenite, fluorspar, chrome ore, soda ash, rice in bulk, and high grades of wood pulp. Generally, these high standards of cleanliness will only be met by vessels trading exclusively with such cargoes. It will rarely be required in the tramp trades.
Grain clean is the most common requirement. A ship will be required to be grain clean for the majority of bulk cargoes, such as all grains, soya meal and soya products, alumina, Sulphur, bulk cement, bauxite, concentrates, and bulk fertilizers.

Normal clean means that the holds are swept clean, with no residues of the previous cargo, and washed down (or not, depending on charterer’s requirements), that is, cleaned sufficiently for taking cargoes similar to or compatible with the previous cargo.

Load on top means exactly what it says – the cargo is loaded on top of existing cargo residues. This standard will commonly be required where a ship is trading continuously with the same commodity and grade of that commodity. With load on top, guidance may be necessary for the master on any cleaning requirements, including the use of bulldozers, shovels and cleaning gangs.

Now what is Grain Clean, the most commonly used standard of cleanliness?

The usual instructions a master of a bulk carrier may receive, particularly if his ship is unfixed for next employment, is clean to grain clean on completion of discharge. There is very little information provided to the Master beyond the word Grain, and hence a complexity on the exact standards required, the resources to be deployed and the time available for the evolution, exists.

By definition Grain clean is “clean, swept, washed down by fresh water and free from insects, odors, residue of previous cargo /loose rust scale/paint flakes etc. dried up, and ready to receive charterers’ intended cargo subject to shippers’/relevant surveyors’ inspection”

It is also important to differentiate loose scale from scale from oxidation rust.

Loose scale will break away when struck with a fist or when light pressure is applied with a knife blade or scraper under the edge of the scale. Oxidation rust will typically form on bare metal surfaces but will not flake off when struck or when light pressure from a knife is applied. Generally, the presence of hard-adhering scale within a hold is acceptable in a grain clean hold. The scale should not fall off during the voyage or during normal cargo operations.

Different countries also apply different standards to what constitutes an acceptable amount of loose scale or loose paint. While in some countries, no such material is permitted, for example the United States Department of Agriculture (reference) permits a single area of loose paint or loose scale of 2.32 sq. m, or several patches that in total do not exceed 9.26 sq. m, before a hold is deemed to be unfit.

In practice, the hold should be free of loose scale as each surveyor’s interpretation of the required ‘standard’ may vary.

But irrespective of the standards to which a particular vessels holds are to be cleaned, the single biggest issue faced by the crew for hold cleaning is the size of the spaces that are to be cleaned. In typical Panamax Bulk Carriers, it is not unusual to have a hold space of around 17,000 CBM to be cleaned, and imagine this being multiplied by 5 or 7 holds. In ideal conditions, the crew may start cleaning during the discharge process itself, but in real world scenarios, the time available is much more limited.

To make matters worse, current hold wash discharge restrictions have increased 10 folds, and adherence (or lack of) to MARPOL Annex V has led to severe imposition of fines and penalties.

It is thus imperative that ship owners and operators consider the RIGHT SOLUTION, as it is likely that the consequences of not meeting the charterer’s requirements can be extreme.

We invite ship owners and operators to experience Constellation Marine services hold survey and cleaning bespoke solutions, from the beginning of the Hold cleaning process, to avoid situations where “one piece of coal left behind” can get the hold failed.

Constellation’s policy prioritizes the importance of hold cleaning to exacting standards and above, and our consultancy and advice is aimed to remove any misunderstanding that could potentially led to non-compliance, or worst, financial harm.

Cargo hold cleaning expenses initially may not seem as a payoff for ship owners or operators, but with the right partner and procedures that keep the ship moving and trading, will surely reflect on their bottom line.

To end; in the words of Asmyhr Dagfinn, Operation Manager AS Klaveness – “There are two places that a ship owner needs to invest; the holds and the engine. A good engine can help you to save on fuel, but the income comes from the holds,” adds Asmyhr. “If your holds are dirty and your ship is refused a charter, then you still have all the costs but no income. At that point you will understand there is no point trying to save on items which make a difference between making money and losing it”.

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Procedure of sampling of fuel oil during bunkering

Taking bunker fuel oil sample is utmost an important process during any bunkering as equal to calculation of transfer quantity. The Bunker fuel sampling includes the method of taking the sample, the location of sampling and witnessing it. Marine fuel deliveries are usually measured by volume but paid for by weight, so bunker sample testing allows ships owners to measure density & thus to calculate the weight of fuel oil delivered and to ensure the parameters were meeting with requested or suitable for engines. Bunker fuel oil samples are also to be maintained on board for Port State Inspection under MARPOL 73/78 annex VI.

Location of Sampling

According to IMO Guidelines & MARPOL Annex VI, the bunker sampling to be collected at the receiving ship’s inlet bunker manifold if there is no prior instruction from the concerned.

If the vessel’s manifold is not fitted with a proper line sampler and the bunker tanker is unable to provide a proper custody transfer sampler, the sample should be taken at the bunker tanker manifold, provided the bunker tanker manifold is fitted with accepted type of sampling device.

If both the vessel and bunker tanker do not have any proper sampling device at the manifold, use of sampling valve on the bunker line or tank sampling may be considered with agreement from all parties concerned. If there is no sample flow at vessel’s manifold sampling device (eg. due to vacuum effect), representative sample shall be taken at the best possible alternative location.


Bunker fuel oil samples

Sampling Device

Commonly used sampling devices during fuel oil bunker transfer through pipeline are one of the followings

Manual drip sampler
Flow proportional automatic sampler
Time proportional automatic sampler

During Bunkering

Vessel representative shall ensure that the sampling device and receptacle for sample collection. The receptacle used shall be a clean and transparent container, which is to be fixed and sealed securely to the sampling device. Sample collection shall be started immediately upon the commencement of bunkering. During the process of sampling, should be monitored the sampling at regular intervals. The continuous sampling shall be stopped only upon completion of bunkering. If it vital that the tanks allocated on board are clean, free of sludge or previous bunker residues.

Vessel’s Chief Engineer to be ensured that the sample collected is properly mixed before pouring into the sample bottles. The sample bottles shall be sealed & labelled immediately after pouring and taken ashore to a reputed lab for testing & report to send to the vessel promptly. Typical time taken is 4 days. Until such time Chief Engineer is not expected to star using the bunker received in the main or auxiliary engines.

Click for more Services Bunker and conditional survey

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Cargo Damaged Surveys

Cargo Damage Surveys, for investigating claims

At Constellation Marine services, we know that cargo claims are inevitable. The essence of our services for claims made to you or to bring against someone brings us to take you step by step through the services we render to you. For all types of claims, we provide you with the best quality and proficiency with any type or any scenario of claims.

As mentioned above cargo claims can be brought in with different scenarios. This usually happens when there is unreasonable delay, damage, loss of the cargo at ports and terminal storages. Such cargo claims incur to mostly all carriers or their authorized handlers at some point in time.

Cargo Damage Surveys – Accountability for no physical damage, delay or loss

Cargo claims can be brought even when there is no such damage, loss or delay in the physicality of the cargo. This happens when all the recorded evidence which are in form of documents, have some aspect of the cargo i.e. weight, quantity, condition etc. different from the actual state of it. In such situations, confusion or misconstruction is caused by error in understanding the right description of the cargo. This in turn results in cargo claims, caused by monetary loss suffered by the receiver. We make sure from the first notice of a claim up until the finalization of it, provide you with complete evidence of the damages undergone by the receiver.

Cargo Damage Surveys – Inherent state of Cargo and its liabilities

In certain circumstances, the carrier cannot be held accountable for some cargo losses. Some cargo loss occurs due to the inherit state of the cargo, which is in no control of the carriers. Therefore, such circumstances as mentioned above cant be proven liable and they can take recourse of the common law or The Hague- Visby or Hamburg rules, whichever will be a defense applicable to the concerned carrier subject to terms and conditions of carriages. We make sure such damages caused by the understanding of the cargo are well understood by our client to further understand the nature of procedure it requires.

Cargo Damage Surveys –Collision (Damaged goods by third party vessel)

In event of a collision, Consisting of highly qualified team of individuals help you with the process of claims against a third party vessel. Claims can be made against another ship if the loss or damage can be recognized to the negligence of the other ship. In such an event, the ship that suffered the loss of cargos due to the third party liabilityMarine cargo claims Fujariah initiated by the insurance of formal noted protest to the ship that caused them that loss negligently will make a claim. If a ship has to bring a claim against other vessels or third party vessel and If the ship-owner and ship, i.e the commanding manager or long term charters do not have a direct link and is not the carrier then, the ship-owner can be made him liable in tort. This is because the non- carrying ship has no contract with the goods affected by the collision.

Before a lawyer is initiated, the member should always contact us in order to obtain an approval to the important evidence or to provide other assistance on the scene of an incident. Usually P&I clubs have inhouse lawyers or experience to maneuver the claim in certain courts.

We believe in being transparent in our work to our clients. Involving them in the decision-making is extremely valuable to our firm. The more the client is aware, the more they are comfortable with our services, of fact finding and prompt professional reporting.

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Marine inspection

world’s first ever ethane carrier capable of using ethane liquid for propulsion -inspected by Capt. Delzin Irani

Marine inspection -Ethane Carrier inspection

Marine inspection: Having sailed on gas carriers for majority of his sea going carrier, Our gas carrier expert Capt Delzin Irani of Constellation Marine Services had never come across any dedicated ethane carrier capable of carrying pure Ethane cargo at -104 deg C and using the same liquid ethane as fuel (liquid injection) for the main engines. She is the prototype ethane carrier built in the fourth quarter of 2016 from Dayang Shipbuilding Co., LTD, China. She is Liberian flagged and Monrovian registered vessel, who is classed by DNV-GL and owned by EcoStar36 Chartering 2 GmbH & Co. KG, Germany. Another aspect by which the inspected vessel is unique than all other gas tankers in the world, is that she has the accommodation forward which has never been seen or heard of in the gas tanker industry.

Marine inspection-Cargo Suitability inspection

Constellation Marine Services were approached by the leading marine risks underwriters for the charterers, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, to carry out the cargo suitability inspection of the Ethane Carrier during her second ever voyage from Houston, USA to Europe. We attended onboard the vessel LPG/c “Ethane Carrier”, whilst she lay safely afloat made fast starboard side along to Dock No 7, Enterprise terminal, Morgan’s point, La porte, Texas, USA on 01st Feb 2017 to carry out assessment of the cargo worthiness and to determine if the risk involved in cargo operations are mitigated.

After boarding the first of its kind and highly unique LPG carrier we noticed that she was capable of carrying out her entire loading in 24 hours and maintaining Liquid Ethane at its boiling point of -104 Deg C with the aid of 3 highly sophisticated cargo compressors, each of which has 2 condensing units (i.e Traditional sea water cooled condenser and Mycom condenser using Propylene as coolant) for condensing the compressed Ethane gas into liquid prior sending it back to the cargo tanks in liquid form. The cargo containment system is similar in functionality to the standard LPG semi pressurized ship, however is of a different shape such as tri lobe independent Type C tanks which is exclusive compared to the bi lobe independent Type C tanks of standard LPG vessel

She is a prototype to the LPG industry with a maximum ethane cargo carrying capacity of approx. 36000 cbm which has the capability to use liquid ethane as fuel in the main engine apart from the conventional LNG carriers which use Methane vapors, and not liquid, as fuel for the main engine. The liquid Ethane is stowed in two Independent Fuel Gas Tanks, aft of No 3 Cargo tank which has its 2 independent deep well pumps capable of transferring liquid directly to the engine room fuel supply line to the Main engine. Double wall segregation is available in the fuel supply line and dry air is continuously being circulated in the surrounding space of the pipeline. There is also a fixed gas detector fitted between the two layers of the double walled pipeline. The gas detector continuously monitors the atmosphere in the double wall segregation for any presence of HC content greater than 1% LEL and if it does, the automatic switches will

cut the supply of ethane cargo and change over the mode of fuel supply of the Main engine to Heavy fuel oil or Marine Gas oil depending upon the SECA area which the vessel is trading in. This new arrangement is fitted just forward of the cargo control room (CCR) on the main deck and can be witnessed from the CCR.

Marine inspection-Procedures and requirements for Safe Cargo Operations.

The vessel’s SMS had covered all the procedures and requirements for safe cargo operations onboard the vessel and safe care of cargo during transit. All the possible risks were identified in the risk assessment sheets which were incorporated in the Lloyds register mariner software. We identified 14 risks onboard during the loading operations, all of which had mitigation measures in place. The ship officers were highly experienced in the LPG trade sailing mostly on Ethylene carriers which are similar to this vessel. Loading operations were going on smoothly with the cargo pumps regularly, every 30 mins, being turned by hand and kick started with the electrical motor to ensure smooth functionality. Another unique feature on the inspected Ethane Carrier was that the High High level alarm was set at 98% which when activated would not allow further loading of cargo in the tanks. This is an inbuilt safety feature preventing the cargo tanks from the overfilling hazard associated with cargo operations.

To summarize, Our Capt Delzin endeavor was to see the vessel’s cargo worthiness and mitigation of risks involved with cargo operations were being complied with as per international standards of SIGTTO (Standard institute of gas tankers and terminal operators) and IGC (International Gas carrier) code.