With shipping agents found not following Verified Gross Mass (VGM) rules properly, the port officials fear that boxes are loaded improperly which may cause instability of vessels leading to incidents.
The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) once again this week pushed the shipping agents to follow the VGM rules in line with the SOLAS Convention to properly maintain stability of vessels.
At the same time, the shipping agents have been asked to monitor and provide required directives to the chief officer and captain of vessels for loading export containers according to their weight.
The CPA early this year had requested the shipping agents to properly follow the VGM rules after the Mercantile Marine Office (MMO) had issued a directive in this regard. In that directive, the ship registrar of Bangladesh had ordered port state control officers to verify box loading conditions in three stages.
“In some cases, it was noticed that shipping agents are not flowing directives on VGM certificate submission properly which is in no way expected,” the CPA said.
A senior port official noted that unless VGM rules are followed properly vessels may meet incidents in the mid-sea, especially when they chase storms. "Recurrence of such incidents may result in great loss," he highlighted.
Due to the mismatch in container loading, the 1,700TEU OEL Hind, in August last year, developed a list just before starting voyage. The vessel had to wait three days at the jetty for rearrangement of container stacks to bring the required balance and get permission for departure.
A Chittagong-based shipping agent acknowledged that shipping agents are reluctant to provide VGM certificates to the berth operators and captains.
“The drivers of container carrying lorries do not bring VGM certificate with them while coming out from depot. Thus in most cases, unless there is an emergency, VGM certificates are not being submitted,” he said.