On container vessels the most common and expensive claims are wet damage, temperature damage and physical damage to the cargo.
Damage to reefer cargo
Damage to reefer container cargo is both frequent and costly when it happens. If reefer cargo is not transported in the right environment with regard to temperature and ventilation, loss of the entire cargo stowed in the container generally results. Not only is reefer cargo by definition heavily dependent on ideal conditions being maintained throughout the voyage, but the cargo is also intended for human consumption and, therefore, subject to strict regulations from the market and from governmental health authorities. Even minor changes in the quality may cause authorities to order the complete destruction of the cargo.
Other evidence of importance from the time of loading is any carrying instructions received from shippers and/or charterers. Members should request such instructions to be in writing for future reference. The instructions should be followed unless they appear inadequate, based on the experience and expertise available. If in doubt, the officers should contact the owner or the Club for advice.
If the temperature of reefer cargo received for shipment is different from that in the carrying instructions or from what experience indicates it should be, the bill of lading should be claused accordingly. Otherwise the carrier will be responsible for damage inherent in the cargo or caused during a time when the cargo was not in his possession.
There is important evidence to be collected and maintained in respect of the carrying conditions during the voyage. The reefer log is a fundamental piece of evidence and should be stored carefully.
• Ships carrying reefer containers should have sufficient expertise, tools, spare parts and a supply ofappropriate cooling medium to effect basic emergency repairs on board.
• All steps taken and observations made on the cargo condition should be recorded continuously in the reefer and deck logs.
• Contact The Swedish Club should problems arise.
Auxiliary Engine Damage
An investigation by The Swedish Club into auxiliary engine damage has revealed that container vessels have a significantly higher claims frequency due to the larger number of installed engines on these vessels. In addition these engines have considerable output, leading to higher repair costs compared with other vessels. The report also finds that the majority of all damage takes place immediately after maintenance work.