African Surveys, a problematic Story
Africa Marine Surveys (Overseas) cvba was created at the request of some major recovery agents and / or Cargo Underwriters who received unsatisfactory reports from Africa, preventing them from getting a clear and / or reliable picture of the loss and its causes.

Our principals received :

Incomplete reports
The reports contained no description of the nature of the damage but only a vague mention such as e.g. “shortage”, in stead of “empty bags on board prior to discharge”, “lost overboard during discharge”, “pilferage” (and at which stage of the voyage), “torn during discharge”, “spillage out of broken bags” etc. This information is badly needed by Cargo Underwriters to establish whether the loss claimed for is covered or not under their Insurance Policy.

The reports contained no description of the cause of the damage but only a vague mention such as “wet bags are due to ingress of water and / or condensation during the voyage”.


This made these reports totally useless for the purpose of a recovery action, because it does not specify whether it concerns salt or fresh water damage, and e.g. assuming it concerns fresh water damage, whether it was due to unavoidable condensation due to heavy weather (making ventilation impossible) or due to inherent vice of the cargo (excessive moisture at time of loading) or due to wrong ventilation by the vessel during the voyage.

the daily tally sheets were not jointly signed with the vessel / stevedores / receivers, and there were no official letters of protest making it impossible to oppose the surveyors’ findings into court.

Incorrect reports

  • contained wrong / incomplete figures, e.g. :
  • contained “entry warehouse” figures whereas the cover went only until “under tackle”;
  • did not mention the “on board” tally figures which under Free Out deliveries are the only binding figures towards the vessel;
  • were inflated to match the demands of the receivers : this is FRAUD towards Cargo Underwriters
  • Were deflated to match the demands of the P&I Clubs : we often come across situations where the P&I surveyor simply runs away when water damage is noted inside the holds of the vessel !!!
  • were performed by surveyors also acting for stevedores and / or the P & I Club (representing shipowners) on the same vessel.
  • This is not only a serious conflict of interest, but made RECOVERY ACTIONS IMPOSSIBLE
    Incorrect reports = incorrect Claims Handling

    These manipulations of the reports by the surveyors make a proper handling of the claims by their Principals impossible, whether P&I Clubs or Cargo Underwriters.

    We strongly believe that as surveyors our Principals should be properly informed about the true situation on the ground. We are the ears and eyes of our Principals on the ground. Without reliable information, our Principals cannot properly evaluate the merits of the claim, and may consequently embark in court actions which they would never have commenced or defended had they received correct reports from their surveyors.


    Incorrect reports = incorrect Risk Assessment

    Furthermore, manipulated reports prevent our Principals from correctly assessing the true risks involved with these shipments. This is important for a proper calculation of the premium (whether cargo or P&I) and for working out Loss Prevention Recommendations towards the future to avoid recurrence of the damage.

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