Survey vessel companies take instructions from various clients, undertaking various tasks. Clients include owners, brokers, financiers, insurance companies and charterers.
Surveying is a risk management process, whether it’s a condition and suitability survey, a valuation report for a bank providing finance for a purchase or an estimate of salvage and repair costs for an insurance company.
Condition and Valuation
This survey advises clients of the current condition of the vessel, compliance with relevant regulations, market valuation and areas requiring repair.
The report is used by the client to assess the value of a potential purchase and cost of necessary works to ensure safety and regulatory compliance. Survey vessel companies have a responsibility to advise on issues that impact vessel safety.
A bank or other financier may require a survey report to decide whether to offer finance and how much. This forms part of the risk management procedures of the client.
Salvage and Repair
Surveyors can be instructed to assess whether a damaged vessel can be salvaged or repaired. The evidence given could be used to determine whether to write the vessel off or assess the cost of repairs and advise on the extent of the damage.
The report might also be used to lead the owner to plan a programme of repair work to ensure all defects and damage are rectified fully to ensure the vessel is restored to a standard meeting safety legislation and therefore ensuring its continued use.
Surveyors may also be utilised to supervise the specified works and ensure that they are fully completed to a satisfactory standard. This assures the owner and insurance body that the standard of work is appropriate and that the vessel can then be signed off at the end of the programme as fit to return to sea.
Damage to cargo can be caused by various events. The operator, insurer and receiver will each have an interest in understanding the extent of the damage and, crucially, the cause of the damage. This information is especially important to the cargo underwriter. Any payout on a claim will require an assessment of operations to ensure that the damage was not due to negligence to verify the claim. Significant sums of money can be at stake, therefore reliable information is important.
Take in Tow
Sometimes it becomes necessary to tow a vessel to port. It is important to understand the reasons for towing, the condition of the vessel to be towed, the towing vessel’s capability and environmental conditions. The final report will be used to decide whether to and when to tow and the necessary precautions. Towing a vessel has a level of risk, so understanding and planning are crucial to the safety of the towing and towed vessels.
In summary, understanding the condition and value of a vessel is crucial in the risk management process and important for a variety of interested parties. The marine surveyor is responsible for making accurate assessments and reports to support this process.