Bulkers carrying containers; operational, contractual andinsurance considerations
7th October, 2021
Increasing demand for the shipment of containers has generated interest in,and the utilisation of, non-cellular or specifically designed ships for theirtransportation: whilst modern safety and loss management techniques canbe applied to reduce associated operational risks, there are a multitude ofconcerns and considerations related to the subsequent change of userequired for the carriage of containers by these ships, which include bulkcarriers and general cargo ships.
We will address the three main categories of such considerations below:
The adaptions required to convert non-cellular ships to load, carry anddischarge containers effectively, safely and legally are complex and there isno one exhaustive check list to be referred to, however we hope that this mayconstitute a starting point for anyone with interest in the requirements andprovide a launch pad for the required conversations with the interested andnecessary parties.
The main operational considerations include the following:
The risks associated with shipping containers are high, even when a ship isspecifically designed to service the needs of their carriage (understanding ofthese risks and how to mitigate them for non-cellular ships is therefore of utmost importance - the recall of several large incidents involving cellularcontainer ships will be easy for most readers of this newsletter).
Some specific considerations and the related regulations and requirementsare briefly below discussed:
- Owners should check if container carriage is excluded under theterms of the charter party as usually a standard c/p form is unlikelyto be suitable without substantial amendments.
The complexity of the arrangements required to effectively carry containerson non-cellular container ships generate the possibility of prejudicingOwners’ P&I cover, primarily through the material change of risk that may begenerated through such arrangements. It is therefore important that we arenotified well in advance so that we may discuss with the Club anyrequirements to avoid prejudicing cover (in some circumstances, anadditional cover may be necessary).
It is of fundamental importance that the updating, approval and revision of alldocumentation and requirements is completed prior to loading for a multitudeof reasons, including those that have above been mentioned.
It should be noted that if the containers are to be carried for a single voyage,as opposed to on a more regular or permanent basis, the impact on therequirements varies, such as an exemption letter being available from Class,rather than the requirement for reclassification.
Whilst the above list of considerations is not exhaustive, it should form astarting point from which the relevant requirements can be discussed withP.L. Ferrari, Class society and flag state.
This newsletter, and our information archive, can also be accessed atwww.plferrari.com
P.L. FERRARI & Co. S.r.l.