We resolve all disputes
involving the sea. 
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General and Dry Cargo

We act on behalf of ship owners defending all forms of cargo claims, whether it is general cargo, dry bulk (geared and ungeared), containers, heavy lift, livestock, or reefer produce. The preponderance of cargo claims we see result from bad stowage, contamination or seawater ingress. Claims involving bad stowage and contamination will turn upon the wording of the appropriate contract of carriage whilst seawater ingress is only acceptable with a heavy weather defence that has to be proved. 

Bulk Liquid Cargoes

This firm has a particular penchant for vessels carrying bulk liquid cargoes, from the rarefied air of the chemical gases through to ethylene LNG and LPG, Chemical parcel tankers, acid carriers and other specialised trades resting with product carriers and crude oil carriers.

Bulk Liquid - Shortage Claims

Firstly it is important to emphasise that there is no such thing as Trade Ullage. If there were it would amount to the Owner having a license to steal cargo. Secondly, whilst there will be a slight loss of hydrocarbon cargoes due to evaporation on the voyage (light ends only) this should be nominal. Thirdly, with the advent of crude oil washing (COW) there should not be any ROB. In the absence of a fortuity any shortage in bulk liquid cargo is a paper loss.

The vast majority of shortages that we handle result from documentary errors, they are primarily overstated bills or based upon improperly calibrated shore tanks at load and disport. Given that a comparison of shore tanks at load and disport is a comparison of apples with pears, as opposed to a comparison of ships tanks after load and before discharge which is far more likely to be accurate.


The largest volume of claims that we see are caused by previous cargo remains. The tank/hold cleaning record (including the Cargo Record Book/Oil Record Book) must be checked against the declaration made to the next load port surveyor. The Tank Cleaning Guide of Dr Verwey is becoming increasingly obsolete. The best TCG currently on the market is the ChemServe 'Miracle' guide, which is far superior to Verwey.  Also the 'Milbros' software is now commercially available and can supplant the proprietary Stolt Nielson Commodity Handbook which individuals may have found difficult to secure.  

In addition the Energy Institute (formerly the Institute of Petroleum) has published 'HM50' a Tank Cleaning Guide for clean petroleum products. This is a good document as it deals, amongst other things, with ultra-low sulphur products (e.g., regular diesel oil can now be a contamination source for ULS diesel and require cleaning. Hitherto none was necessary between middle distillates until the advent of ULS grades) and the thorny issues of biofuels, which nowadays add complexity to tank cleaning requirements.

Bio-diesel, for example, is a no-no as a previous cargo for jet fuel, in contrast regular diesel is an acceptable previous cargo - and with only minimal drain/strip change-over. The advent of FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) addition to diesel fuel has given rise to a new type of contamination claim i.e. FAME in jet fuel.


We have resolves incidents involving:


Acids - Phosphoric Acid (WPA/GPac/Wet-process Phos. Acid), Sulphuric Acid, Nitric Acid, Citric Acid, Caustic Soda (NaOH), Stearic Acid, Acroleic Acid, Acrylic Acid, Ammonium Sulphate, Bichromate of Soda, Butanoic Acid, and others


Process Liquors & Misc. - Mother Liquor (Bayer Process Liquor), Coal Tar Oil, Colamine, Cresol, Detergents, Juices, Fruit, Nitrogen Fertilizers, Octanoic Acid, Norval Amine, Tall Oil, Tallow, Tar Acid, Valeraldehyde, Vinegar, Spent Sulphuric Acid, Base Oils (EHC 110), Biofuels, Drilling Brines, Bromides, etc.

CPP (Clean Petroleum Products)

Gasoline, Jet Fuel, Naphta and Clean Condensates. Carried primarily on clean petroleum tankers, which include MR, LR1 and LR2 tankers.

DPP (Dirty Petroleum Products)

Crude Oil, Fuel Oil and Diesel Oil.

Defeating contamination claims

The starting point for defeating contamination claims is to ensure that the vessel has good sample storage facilities and sample management regime. Thereafter record samples. Cross-contaminations / inter-tank leakage will require good maintenance records of tank / pump / line inspections and regular tank pressure test records, a consideration of the heating medium of the heating coils is also necessary. 

Trace contamination claims (ppb) may simply be based upon bad science. We can assist in the drafting of the appropriate protection clauses such as commingling clauses.

Aside from the stainless steel and the standard zinc and epoxy coatings MarineLine coatings are proving to be reliable and durable, always providing that they have been applied correctly in the first instance. Some coatings, particularly some brands of epoxy have high absorption properties and slow de-absorption times and may be impossible to clean to water-white standard in the time allowed by Charterers and may amount to Charterers misuse of the vessel.


We have extensive knowledge in resolving quickly contamination and off specification matters involving:


Aromatics - Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, Para-Xylene (PX), Orthoxylene, Pygas, Methyl Diisocyanate (MDI), Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI), Azabenzene (Pyridine), Benzene Carboxylic Acid, B-Methacrylic Acid (MAA), and others.

Monomers - Styrene Monomer (SM), Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM), Butyl Acrylate (BA), Acrylonitrile (AN), Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) and others.

Others - Phenol (Carbolic Acid), Acetone, Methanol, Cumene, Ethanolamine (MEA, DEA, TEA), Ethanol, Ethylene Dichloride (EDC), MTBE (Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether), Ethylene Glycol (MEG, DEG, TEG), Acetic Acid, Paraffin Wax, Butyric Aldehyde, Calcium Hydroxide, Calcium Hypochlorite, Caustic Potash and others.


Palm Oil - Crude Palm Oil (CPO), RBD Palm Oil, RBD Palm Stearin, RBD Palm Olein, RBD Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD), Palm Acid Oil, Fatty Alcohol, FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) and others.

Other Oils - Coconut Oil, Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil, Groundnut Oil, Safflower Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Corn Oil, Fish Oils, Molasses and other FOSFA (Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations) cargoes.


A Full Service Maritime Law Firm