Guidance to Masters
Whenever accidents or incidents occur which may involve Insured’s liability, the Master
should immediately inform the owners and obtain instructions. A detailed, written report on
the incident should always be submitted to the owners as soon as possible.
As a rule the Master should also inform Ingosstrakh. When reporting an accident or
requesting assistance, it is important that the Master should provide precise information
about the incident and the type of assistance that is required.
In the event of any such accident or incident, the Master should assume that claims will be
made in due course. It is therefore necessary to secure the best possible evidence of the
nature, cause and extent of any loss or damage, for example by:
arranging for a survey through Ingosstrakh’s local correspondent;
retaining all relevant documentation;
retaining parts of damaged equipment;
retaining cargo samples where appropriate;
taking the names and addresses of any eye-witnesses;
issuing sea protests and letters of protest where necessary.
The Master should be careful in allowing access and/or assistance to third parties
representatives attending on board for survey/investigation purposes. The scope of such
access/assistance shall be of general, limited nature to be subject to prior agreement with
Owners/Ingosstrakh. On the contrary underwriters` representatives must be provided with
full possible assistance and support. Before making any statements however or providing any
information to such persons claiming to be “underwriters’ representatives”, or allowing them
access on board the ship, the Master must make sure that proof is produced that they are
properly authorized to act on behalf of the owners or Ingosstrakh.
The Master must never admit liability on behalf of the owners before being expressly
authorized to do so, either by the owners, or by Ingosstrakh or its correspondent.
2. Maintenance of the ship
The Master should ensure that at all times the ship is kept in a fully seaworthy condition for
the safety of the crew, passengers, stevedores and other persons, as well as the safe carriage
The Master should be able to prove that he has, prior to the commencement of any voyage,
exercised sufficient care in inspecting the ship to confirm her seaworthiness and
cargoworthiness. The ship and her equipment should therefore be regularly and carefully
inspected, and any defect should be repaired immediately. In particular, before the
commencement of each voyage a special check should be made of the following items:
standing and running rigging with fixture, lashing points and all other loading and
It is recommended that the hatch covers are hose-tested at regular intervals and always
before loading sensitive cargo, such as cement, grain or sugar, which are particularly
susceptible to moisture damage. Hose-testing should also be carried out after repair or
adjustments have been carried out to the hatch covers.
Rubber packing on hatch covers should be regularly inspected to check for wear or
compression damage. Drainpipes and gutters on hatch covers and panels should also be
regularly inspected and kept clean at all times.
Pressure tests of the tank tops should be undertaken whenever a manhole cover has been
removed, e.g. in connection with a tank inspection.
If repairs have been carried out to the cargo lines on a tanker vessel, these should also be
The engine and pump rooms should always be kept clean and free from oil spillage, as
should the bilge under the engine floor. Leakage must be rectified immediately.
Details of all inspections and repairs should be entered in the relevant log.
3. Precautions at the loading port
a) Dry cargo ships
The Master must ensure that the cargo is loaded and stowed carefully to maintain the safety,
trim and stability of the ship. The cargo must be stowed in such a manner that it can be
carried without being damaged and without causing damage to other cargo. The Master
should make a special check of the ship’s holds to ensure that they are clean, dry, free from
smell and in every respect suitable for the cargo to be loaded.
Where bulk cargo is to be loaded, the holds should be free of all loose rust , paint or traces
of previous cargoes. It is recommended that the master obtain a “Clean Hold Certificate”,
signed by a representative of the shippers and/or charterers, prior to loading any bulk cargo.
The Master/cargo officer shall supervise loading of bulk cargo to ensure that cargo is free
from any foreign substances subject to cargo specification. After loading a bulk cargo, it is
also advisable to arrange for a draft survey of the ship.
The condition and suitability of refrigeration machinery and reefer compartments should be
confirmed by obtaining a certificate from a class surveyor or another competent expert prior
When refrigerated cargo is to be loaded, the Master should obtain written instructions from
the shippers in respect of the carrying temperature for the cargo and ventilation. Should the
Master have any doubt about the correctness of such instructions, he should query them in
writing and ask for specific confirmation that they are correct.
The Master should be alerted to any particular requirements contained in the charter party
regarding the carriage of the cargo prior to loading, a special check should be made of the
heating coils, crude oil washing system;
inert gas system;
packing and securing of all butterworth hatches and tank entry hatches.
Cargo samples should be drawn at regular intervals during loading. Such samples should
preferably be drawn at the manifold. They should be labeled showing where, when and by
whom the samples were drawn. The sample bottles should be sealed and kept in a specially
designated place on board. Samples should be retained for at least one year after completion
The Master should never provide, or sign any receipt for, a cargo sample which may be
interpreted as an acceptance or a guarantee by the master of the accuracy of the details stated
on the label.
After completion of loading, ullage and temperature measurements should be taken carefully,
to enable an accurate calculation of the loaded quantity to be made. For guidance regarding
the issue of the bill of lading, see section 6 (b) below.
4. Precautions during the voyage
The Master must not only ensure that the cargo is properly carried and cared for during the
voyage, but should also try to document the steps that are taken to care for the goods. For
example, log entries should be made as carefully as possible, and should contain all relevant
Weather forecasts should be checked daily or more frequently if conditions demand, and the
voyage should be planned accordingly. Whenever a ship encounters heavy weather during a
voyage, and the Master considers it necessary to reduce speed and/or to make course
corrections, these details should be entered in the log.
b. Dry cargo ships
During transit, all lashing and shoring should be regularly inspected and tightened as
necessary. Appropriate remarks should be entered in the log book.
In respect of refrigerated cargoes, temperature records should be kept throughout the entire
period of transit. Temperature recorders should be checked daily to ensure that the correct
temperature is being maintained and that a proper visible record is being produced. The
ventilation of cargo carried at sea is a complex and difficult subject. However, the master
should try to ensure that the correct steps are taken in respect of the ventilation of the cargo
during the voyage.
The principal purpose of ventilation is three-fold, namely:
to regulate the temperature of the cargo to prevent large differences arising between the
temperature of the cargo and the temperature of the atmosphere;
to prevent the accumulation of moisture in the holds, thereby restricting the built-up of
to remove flammable or noxious gas.
The cargo must be heated or cooled in accordance with the charter party requirements. In the
event of any abnormal occurrences, the necessary steps should be taken immediately, and the
owners must be informed.
Transfers between cargo tanks and/or slop tanks should not be carried out unless cargo
interests have given their prior approval. Whenever possible, the pressure-vacuum valves
should be regularly checked to ensure that they function correctly.
5. Precautions at the discharging port
a. Dry cargo ships
If the master is aware of or suspects that the cargo has suffered any damage on the voyage,
he should notify the owners and Ingosstrakh as soon as possible, so that a survey can be
arranged if necessary. If Letter of Protest is decided to be issued to protect vessel`s interests
iro cargo damage and/or shortage, Master shall ensure that wording of such letter is agreed
with Owners/Ingosstrakh. Local P&I correspondent shall render Master all required
assistance to legalize Letter of Sea Protest according to applicable legislation. Prior to the
discharge of bulk cargo, it is advisable to arrange for draft survey. After completion of
discharge, an “Empty Hold Certificate” signed by the representatives of the
Charterers/receivers should be obtained.
Ullage and temperature measurements should be taken before the commencement of
discharge. Cargo samples should be drawn both before and during discharge.
After the completion of discharge, dry tank certificates should be obtained. If the shore
surveyor refuses to sign a dry tank certificate, Ingosstrakh’s local correspondent should be
contacted and asked to arrange for a surveyor to attend the ship.
Heating coils and other equipment that has been used in connection with the carriage of the
cargo should be inspected as soon as practically possible after discharge.
All observations of no matter how routine a nature should be entered in a log.
6. Bills of Lading
The issue and use of bills of lading often give rise to difficult questions of law and practice.
In any case of doubt or uncertainty, the master should always consult with and take
instructions from the owners even if he is well educated on the subject of bills of lading.
b. Issue of the bill of lading
The description of the cargo contained in the bill of lading is treated as evidence of the
condition and quantity or weight of the goods at the time that they were received, loaded or
shipped by the carrier. Accordingly it is critically important to ensure that this description is
1) Dry cargoes
The master should ensure that the description of the cargo stated in the bill of lading is in
accordance with the mate’s receipts, both with respect to apparent condition and quantity. If
there is any damage or defect or quantity discrepancy, a corresponding remark should be
made on the face of the bill of lading. If the cargo is damaged in any way, the master must
never sign a clean bill of lading describing the cargo is shipped in “apparent good order and
In practice, shippers may be reluctant to accept bills of lading which do not describe the
cargo as being “clean on board, in apparent good order and condition”. Certain shippers may
even offer masters a letter of indemnity in exchange for the issue of clean bills of lading.
However, as a matter of law, the issue of a clean bill of lading for damaged cargo constitutes
as a fraud. In such circumstances, any letter of indemnity is legally unenforceable and
effectively of no value. Accordingly, the master should insist that the bills of lading are
properly claused with remarks reflecting the true condition of the cargo.
In many cases, it may be preferable for the master to exclude damaged goods from the ship,
until the shippers confirm that they will accept bills of lading claused with a description of
the true condition of the cargo. If the shippers refuse to accept properly claused bills of
lading, the master should request that the defective goods are replaced by undamaged goods
of a similar quantity and quality.
When loading large consignments of steels, a competent surveyor should invariably be
instructed to assist the master in recording the apparent condition of the cargo, so that the
mate’s receipts and bills of lading can, if necessary, be claused accordingly.
If the master suspects that the packing of any cargo is insufficient to withstand the voyage, or
that the marking of the goods is insufficient, this should be also be marked on the bill of
lading. As well as ensuring that the bill of lading accurately reflects the condition of the
cargo, the master must also ensure that the stated quantity or weight is correct. In respect of
bulk cargoes which cannot be precisely measured, the fact of the bill should be clearly
marked with an appropriate comment such as “weight, measure, quality, quantity, condition,
contents and value unknown”.
2) Liquid cargoes
After completion of loading, ullage and temperature measurements should be taken carefully
to enable the calculation of the cargo received on board to be made as accurately as possible.
However, if view of the inherent difficulties in precisely measuring bulk liquid cargoes, it is
important to ensure that the face of the bill of lading is clearly marked with an appropriate
comment, such as “weight, measure, quality, quantity, condition, contents and value
unknown, but said to be...”
If there is an abnormal difference between the ship’s figures of the loaded quantity and the
bill of lading figure, the master should send a letter of protest to the shipper/terminal. In such
cases, the master should also require a further set of measurements and calculations to be
If it is not possible for the master to sign the bills of lading at the loading port without
delaying the ship, authority may be given to an agent (nominated by the owners for this
purpose) to issue the bills on behalf of the master in conformity with mates` receipts. If such
authority is given to an agent, the mater must immediately advise the owners of the terms of
the agent’s authority. The agent should only be allowed to sign bills of lading on behalf of the
master if the master is aware of, and has agreed, all bill of lading details including the loaded
quantity or weight.
c. Delivery of cargo against a bill of lading
A bill of lading is traditionally issued in a set of three originals. When one original bill of
lading has been accomplished, in most cases the remaining originals become null and void.
Accordingly, the master is bound to deliver the cargo to the holder of the first original bill of
lading duly presented at the port of discharge, unless the master is aware or put on reasonable
suspicion that the ownership of the cargo is in dispute.
If the master is aware of dispute as to the ownership of the cargo, he should take further
precautions, such as requesting the surrender of all original bills of lading.
If all of the originals cannot be produced, the owners subject to local legislation should make
an application to the appropriate court to determine the ownership of the cargo.
d. Delivery of cargo without a bill of lading
The master should never release a cargo to the consignee without the production of the bill of
lading, unless he has received the owners’ explicit permission to do so prior to the
commencement of discharge. As liability arising out of the delivery of cargo without the
production of the bill of lading is not covered by the Association, it is important for the
master to comply strictly with the owners’ instructions.
Where owners wish to deliver cargo without the production of the bill of lading, it is
recommended that they obtain a letter of indemnity from charterer and receiver
countersigned by a first-class bank, prior to delivering the cargo. If the letter of indemnity is
to be subject to a limit of liability, it is recommended that this limit should be no less than
two hundred per cent of the C.I.F. value of the cargo.
When cargo is to be delivered against a letter of indemnity countersigned by a bank or
backed by a bank guarantee, it is also advisable to ask the bank to confirm the validity of the
guarantee before the cargo is delivered.
The International Chamber of Shipping defines a stowaway as “.. a person who is secreted
on a ship, or in cargo which is subsequently loaded on the ship, without the consent of the
Shipowner or the Master or any other responsible person and who is detected on board after
the ship has departed from a port or during its stay in port, and is reported as a stowaway by
the Master to the appropriate authorities”.
Stowaways are an ever-present problem in certain areas of the world, most notably Africa,
Central America, Colombia, Dominican Republic, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and East
During a call at any port in such areas, it is recommended that the following steps be taken:
while in port, the accommodation doors should be locked or guarded;
a crewmember must always be on duty on the gangway, tallying all persons boarding and
in African countries, this gangway should, if possible, be shared with African
crewmembers who may be able to recognize the nationality of persons trying to board by
stevedore companies should be asked before operations begin how many stevedores will
be working and stevedores should be required to access the ship only by the gangway;
watchman should be vigilant for boarders climbing the fore and aft mooring ropes, and
over the rails from the quayside at low water or by small boat, especially during the
specific instructions should be given to watchmen to allow on board only people required
for the ship’s business, such as stevedores and officials. Hawkers should not be
before departure, the vessel should be searched thoroughly with particular attention to
dark and unlikely places, including areas apparently locked;
on container ships, searches of empty spaces and deck vigilance is as necessary as with
other types of vessels;
containers should be sealed before arrival at the port by the shippers and details of the
seal numbers given to the master;
all containers provided for loading without seals should be opened, inspected as far as
possible, and then sealed prior to loading.
Whenever a stowaway is discovered on board after the ship has sailed, arrangements must be
made to repatriate the stowaway as soon as possible. Ingosstrakh’s local correspondent can
provide assistance in obtaining travel documents and arranging for the stowaway to be
repatriated to his country of origin.
In order to assist this process the following details should be obtained from each stowaway
prior to the ship’s arrival at her next port of call and sent via fax or telex to Ingosstrakh, the
owners, the agents at the next port, and agents at the port where the stowaway(s) entered the
ship as soon as possible:
a) the port and the date the stowaway(s) entered the ship;
b) name of the stowaway(s);
c) stowaway’s date and place of birth;
d) date and place of birth of either of the stowaway’s parents;
e) postal and residential address of both stowaway and either parent;
f) stowaway’s passport or seaman’s book number, together with date and place of issuance;
g) stowaway’s occupation and education;
h) any birth marks, scars, etc.;
If the stowaway has no identification documents when discovered, a thorough search should
be carried out, as some stowaways hide documents on board. If the stowaway has no means
of identification, the following documents are also required:
i) a full set of fingerprints;
j) passport-size photographs of the stowaway;
k) a statement by the stowaway explaining how he came to be on board the ship. His
motives of stowing away must be included;
l) an extract from the ship’s logbook explaining how, when and where the stowaway was
discovered on board.
Ingosstrakh’s local correspondents can assist in obtaining the documents listed (i-l) above.
8. Collision with another vessel
When an accident occurs, it is important for the master to contact as swiftly as possible
Ingosstrakh and the owners accordingly. If Ingosstrakh covers collision liability for the ship
and the collision occurred in a port area, or the ship has to enter a port, the master should also
notify Ingosstrakh. When contacting owners or Ingosstrakh, the master should report on:
the extent of the damage sustained by each ship;
circumstances of the accident;
the other vessel’s name and nationality;
the prevailing weather conditions at the time of the collision.
The text of official Master’s report/protest to be disclosed to third parties should be prior
agreed with Owners/Ingosstrakh and should confine to the facts only avoiding commenting
on the question of fault.
In addition it is critically important for the master to make a contemporaneous note of the
a) the exact time of the collision and any discrepancy between the time noted by the bridge
and the engine room;
b) the position, course, speed and propeller revolutions of one’s own ship at the moment of
c) any alterations to course and speed immediately before the collision, including the exact
time of such alterations;
d) visibility and other weather conditions;
e) any signals given by one’s own ship and any signals given by the other vessel, including
any V.H.F. communication between the two ships;
f) the bearing of and distances between the ships prior to the collision;
g) the helm and engine manoeuvres before and after the collision and the times of such
The time of the collision should be noted on the engine and course recorder.
When the officers and crew have had an opportunity to report their observations concerning
the collision, a factual description of the incident should be entered in the logs. The entry
should be made by the officer who was on watch when the collision occurred and should be
endorsed by the master. In serious collision cases, lawyers will usually be appointed to take
statements from those persons who witnessed the collision. Those on board should not
discuss the collision with anyone other than the lawyer appointed by the owners or their
9. Damage to fixed or floating objects
Whenever the ship causes damage to such fixed or floating object, the owners and
Ingosstrakh should be notified as soon as possible, so that a survey can be arranged without
delay. If however the damaged object is expected to be removed before arrival of
Ingosstrakh`s surveyor, the photos of the damages shall be made by the Master/crew in the
first place to preserve photographic evidence accordingly.
Whenever pollution occurs the following steps should be taken as a minimum:
Notify the nearest coast state. Be aware that very often a State’s legislation is extended to
apply to any occurrence within the State’s Economic Zone which might be 200 miles
(particularly the USA). Notification should be made in concurrence with the procedure
set out in a vessel’s contingency plan.
Notify Ingosstrakh and/or their nearest correspondent.
In port - In the USA
your Qualified Individual (tankers) and
the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center, or
the nearest U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office.
Please note that a delayed notification or a failure to give notice can have far-reaching
In port - Worldwide
Notify local ship’s agent.
Notify Ingosstrakh’s local correspondent and Ingosstrakh.
In all circumstances the vessel’s designated Spill Officer or Safety officer, together with
his strike team, shall immediately evaluate the situation and determine how best to limit
the pollution and contain the spill.
A major part of all oil spills occur during bunkering and is a result of poor communication
between those involved in the bunkering operations. It is of utmost importance to maintain
good communications between the bunkering barge, deck watch, pump room and engine
control room during the entire operation. Furthermore, it is not sufficient to rely on the meter
readings when it comes to toping-up the tanks, but soundings should be taken at regular
If another vessel is noticed to be involved into the pollution incident close to our vessel, the
Master shall immediately report of the matter to the local authorities.
The master should ensure that the ship’s medical chest is properly maintained at all times.
In the event of any illness or injury to any person on board, the best possible medical care
must be provided until the person can be taken ashore and hospitalized if necessary.
If illness or injury is such that the person’s life in danger, the master should consider
diverting the ship to the nearest suitable port to obtain proper medical treatment.
In cases of emergency, the master should seek medical advice over the ship’s radio. In such
circumstances, the master should keep a careful note of the radio messages in the radio log.
In cases of personal injuries occurring while the vessel is in US.waters, the master should as
soon as possible notify Ingosstrakh and their local correspondent in order to obtain assistance
and advice, enabling the correspondent to take statements of witnesses, photos (if
appropriate), retain parts of damaged equipment, etc., prior to the ship’s departure. The
master should always prepare a detailed report describing the incident both in injury and