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Supervisory / overseeing surveys


Cargo Surveyors may sometimes be called in to advise shipowners, charterers and shippers with regard to certain types of cargo handling and stowage. More often than not, however, they will be instructed to actually oversee or supervise its handling in which case they will be acting clearly as an agent of their principal.

Pre Shipment Inspection

Pre Shipment Inspection - Inspection of cargo or the compartment where it will be stowed before loading. Shipowners and charterers sometimes call for a survey to be carried out at a shipper's premises so as to gain a better understanding of some unusual commodity offered for shipment.

Occasionally surveyors may be called upon by shippers to advise on packaging and handling where shippers are unfamiliar with a new trade.

But the most usual situation is for a surveyor to be retained for this purpose by the shippers' underwriters. P&I Clubs often call for pre-shipment inspection for cargoes that commonly give rise to claims on shipowners. Steel is commodity which presents problems with regard to rust and care is needed in making sure that bills of lading are appropriately claused.

Pre shipment inspection is also known as Pre-loading survey.


Loading survey

This activity includes compiling preliminary stowage plan and final cargo plan, monitoring of all stages of loading, control for stowage and securing of cargo in holds. Both ship's surveyors and underwriters' surveyors may be involved with these surveys. Loading surveys may be required as an extension to service provided above or may stand alone.


Cargo Securing Survey

Surveyors are often called upon to inspect cargo securing, both in a ship and in a container.

In a conventional ship this is usually the function of the ship's surveyor who certifies that the shipowner or charterer has taken all reasonable precautions to cargo stowage and securing for the forthcoming voyage.

In a container, unless packed by the ship's representatives, it is more likely that cargo securing survey to be carried out by the shipper's or underwriter's surveyor. Its purpose is then to endeavour to establish that, if movement damage occurs in transit, it has been caused by actions of the carrier and not by the shipper's inadequate securing.


Discharge survey / Out-turn survey

Cargo surveyor may be called in to report on the condition of the cargo, when it arrives at destination. This may involve no more than an inspection of a particular commodity, perhaps a consignment of machinery or other goods, which may be susceptible to damage or which has suffered known damage in stow. If there is known to be a problem of damage from heavy weather on a voyage, or any other causes, cargo surveyors will often be instructed to attend a discharge survey on behalf of the ship and possibly also for the receivers.

Even if there is no known damage receivers, or more probably their underwriters, knowing that a cargo susceptible to damage, will often commission a discharge survey as this may later make it easier to pin-point liability for any damage.