The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to grant DASPA additional time to implement a new marine shipping safety rule. In efforts to reduce maritime disasters, the new rule will require shippers to vouch for the weight of their containers. It was to have taken effect in Dominica as of 1st July 2016, but the IMO has agreed to an extension of the time. DASPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Benoit Bardouille made that announcement on Thursday 25th August 2016.
Container weights have been blamed for some recent maritime disasters, including the MSC Napoli, which suffered hull damage during a storm off the U.K. coast in 2007. In accordance with the IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter 4, part A, Regulation 2, every container must have a verified weight as of October 2016.
Bardouille said, “We got some relief from the International Maritime Organization. This brought some relief in the sense that we were supposed to put this thing into effect from July 1st, and they have now moved it backwards to October. At the moment we are working to try to get a scale placed in on the port. We are working out all the details on that, and we’re hoping something can be done before that date, because there’s going to be strict enforcement of the containers”.
A container which is too heavy can crush cargo underneath, cause a stack to topple, putting a vessel in danger. The World Shipping Council estimates an average of nearly one thousand seven hundred containers were lost at sea annually between 2008 and 2013, although that’s a small fraction of over one hundred and twenty million shipped annually.
According to the new rule, where the verified weight has not been provided to the ship master and his representative or the port, the terminal representative in that case, the container shall not be loaded onto the ship.
Bardouille says DASPA has been working with the shippers, and indicated that they we are going to be stricter, when the regulation is fully implemented. He added “However, like I said, we have in fact ourselves been trying to put our house in order, in terms of getting the scales to be able to ease the burden on the truckers, and the people moving containers into the port”.
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