A sub group of IBIA’s Operations working group was set up to investigate a problem raised by a member who operates a large tanker fleet and is also a supplier of bunkers.
Whilst the member had comprehensive controls covering the quality of the barges and associated equipment (hoses, fenders etc.) used by them as a supplier, they were concerned that when they bought bunkers for their own fleet from others, the sales terms gave them no guarantees or warranties that the barges and equipment used would be “fit for purpose” and would meet general standards with regards to safety and pollution prevention.
As reported previously, the approach to this project was three pronged. We tried to identify how often problems were experienced with incompatibility of the hoses and connections used, we explored the practicality of using a reporting system for barge suitability and we examined the possibility of developing a “model” clause on suitability of barges, hoses, connections and fenders for incorporation into a purchase contract.
The results were instructive but not conclusive.
The data received from a number of members operating ships and other members operating barges revealed that issues over connecting barge to ship were very rare and felt that there was no need to formalise the standardisation of the connections at this time.
The uses of the SIRE barge report database was considered but there were issues over the access and cost of this especially for non OCIMF members. This issue has been raised with OCIMF/SIRE and there may be some further developments to come in the medium term.
The use of a model clause, after some initial research, was passed to IBIA’s legal working group for comment and development. They found that among the clauses we found, one was seen as the best candidate for adoption:
“Sellers warrant that all equipment including transfer hoses are fit for the intended purpose and free from all defects. Sellers will produce on demand certificates for transfer hoses including last independent pressure test and date thereof. Sellers warrant delivery vessel and transfer hoses are capable of safely delivering at vessel’s maximum safe bunkering rates”
There was some concern that although the clause was deemed generally acceptable, the promotion of such a clause by IBIA might have legal implications which the legal working group would need to consider further.
At this time the Sub group has stood down but any member with specific issues to raise on barge standards, hoses fenders and connections or with the use of a standard warranty clause or a member with comments on the above can contact the sub group Chair (Nigel Draffin firstname.lastname@example.org ) or the secretariat in the usual way.
Report by Nigel Draffin