- Do not sign the bunker receipt as presented.
- Amend the quantity shown on the bunker receipt to reflect the vessel’s own figures.
- Inform all interested parties of the outcome once the second set of soundings have been taken (eg bunker suppliers, owners, charterers, P&I correspondent, port authorities, local agents).
- If the bunker receipt was signed before the discrepancy was recognized, inform the supplier and all interested parties immediately as some bunker contracts provide for shortages to be notified within 24 or 48 hours.
- Send all relevant documentation to the owner and, where applicable, time charterers.
Although bunker disputes are not always easy to resolve, the barge may have gambled on the vessel not challenging the discrepancy due to crew fatigue, the possibility of delay, commercial pressures and the prospect of the vessel being placed off-hire. In such a situation the likelihood of success may increase the longer the vessel is prepared to wait, particularly if such action is taken with the shipowner’s full support.
It should also be remembered that if the vessel reluctantly accepts the barge figures in order to save time, time charterers may later allege that the vessel consumed more fuel than provided for in the charter party and hold the shipowner responsible for the difference once the bunker figures are reconciled at the end of the charter.
Members requiring further guidance are advised to contact the Loss Prevention department.