Vancouver, British Columbia: Damage to fenders at berth

FFO claims

Published: 12 May 2014

The Association is grateful to Messrs. AVA Marine Surveyors and Consultants for contributing to this update.

Key advice

Wherever possible, a vessel should seek to ascertain the condition of the berth before final coming along side and making fast.

If the berth appears unsuitable or unsafe, particularly when fenders appear loose (in case of fixed structures), broken or otherwise unsuitable, it may be necessary to quickly assess whether berthing can be safely completed.

In case of doubt or concern, the Master should not hesitate to contact the Club's Correspondents for immediate help.

Damage to fenders at berth

Port damage claims continue to produce frequent incidents for Members, be they small fender damage matters or large scale casualty cases.

In the attached Loss Prevention Bulletin, AVA Marine illustrate typical fender damage incidents that can occur during the berthing of a vessel.

The Association has also previously addressed this issue in an earlier circular this year, and would like to repeat our earlier advices and recommendations.

Charterer's liability

If a berth is not safe, and that could be as the result of damaged, missing or inadequate fendering, then the Owner may (depending on charter terms) have right of recourse against Charterers for damage, delay and costs that can follow an incident.

The advice to Charterers is that they need to be aware of the contractual promises they may have made to the Owner in the charterparty, and seek to check the condition of proposed berths prior to arrival of the vessel. This can normally be done by the local Shipping Agent.

The alternative is to find that a vessel may refuse to berth, basis that it considers the place unsafe, and even if the vessel does proceed to come along side (whether under protest or not) it is very likely that an Owner would seek recourse against Charterers for possible hull damage and indeed possible exposure to the port for any shore side damage.