Turkey: Fines for cargo shortage / overage


Published: 3 November 2014

The development

Members will be aware that in many jurisdictions there is a risk of customs and other administrative fines that can follow should a vessel be found to have delivered more or less cargo than was stated on the bill of lading.

Correspondents Omur Marine have now prepared the attached note which explains how these fines may be imposed and calculated in Turkey, which is of course a key trading and shipping nation.

One of the important things to note is that it is up to the party facing the fine to prove that the shortage / overage can be properly explained or accounted for and failing such sufficient proof, a fine will follow. Given the practical realities it may sometimes be very difficult or even impossible to fully and accurately prove why there is a certain difference between a bill of lading figure and an outturn figure. That's is particularly the case in the bulk trade, be it dry or liquid, where such discrepancies are common, but the reasons can be multiple and hard to pin down with great precision.

The changes discussed by Omur also indicate that the way the fines are calculated now may lead to an increase in the final sum.

Loss prevention recommendation

The best loss prevention against such situations is taking all possible care that cargo documents are as accurate as they can be in stating the total quantity laden on a vessel.

In practice there may be physical challenges (say swell at the harbour during draft surveys) and commercial pressures (shippers insisting on shore figures) which may impact on what figures ultimately end up on a bill of lading. Having said that, members are reminded that it is part of the terms of their P&I cover that cargo documents should not be issued with information which is not believed to be accurate.

Prudent loss prevention includes:

  1. a sound understanding of the cargo being laden
  2. local knowledge of the peculiarities of the load port
  3. an experienced and well briefed master
  4. strong shore side support for the vessel
  5. the use of surveyors for known challenging lifts or when problems arise
  6. equal care and attention during the discharge
  7. prompt recourse to club and club correspondent assistance when situations become difficult

With respect to point 7, members and masters are always encouraged to make immediate contact in case a situation arises from which cargo liabilities may follow.

The Association is grateful to correspondents Omur Marine Ltd. in Turkey for contributing to this update.