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CJA Marine Services
General Cargo damaged surveys

General Cargo damaged surveys


The most frequent instructions for a CJA’a cargo surveyor is to inspect and assess the extent of loss/damage to all kind of bulk, break-bulk or general cargo transported by sea, road or air. Contamination, particular   and general average. Investigation  into the cause of damage. Loss control surveys


Attending to a cargo survey does not mean that a surveyor may just simply equip himself with a camera, click a few photographs and easily reach a mutual agreement with the opposite party in respect to liability and quantum of claim. Indeed, it is often of dire consequences for the instructing party should he be unfortunate enough to encounter such a surveyor to represent his interest. By the time claim handlers receive the survey report, which could be a mere regurgitation of the opposite party’s findings or worse yet, investigations not thoroughly carried out which then result in unfounded / incorrect or baseless findings, the damage done has already reached its peak of malignancy. Claim handlers who are usually desk bound are dependent on the appointed surveyors to not only be their eyes and ears, but, knowledgeable in the task defined as well as the mouthpiece of the Principals’ interest.


At CJA, we view our Principal’s interest to be of paramount importance. Minimizing the loss and scaling down the value of claim is what we do best and through our concerted efforts, our Principal has been spared hefty sums of money on many occasions. Indeed, this is certainly one of the most gratifying part of our job.


The General Procedure Adopted By CJA is outlined below.

Evidence and cargo sampling

It is cardinal that  no evidence is to be destroyed, tampered with or disposed of. Photographs can be extremely valuable evidence so the appointed surveyor should make sure that these are accompanied by a proper description of the subject matter, location, date and time.

  • If cargo sampling is required and cargo interests/their surveyors wish to take samples, the appointed surveyor should ensure that these are taken on a joint basis and are representative of the cargo in the space being sampled. The samples should be taken with proper equipment, using the proper procedure (or best available) and should be properly signed, sealed and labeled (including ship name & location, cargo & sample description, eg whether sound or damaged sample, sample device, sample source, date and time and seal number). Sufficient samples should be taken so that each party has their own (identical) sample.
  • A cargo sample list should be drawn up and signed by all the parties taking samples. The appointed surveyor should seek the  Principal’s instructions on the storage/retention of samples and in the meantime should not dispose of any samples taken.
  • If cargo sample analysis is proposed or requested by cargo interests/their surveyors, the appointed surveyor should ask for their proposals (preferably in writing) on the tests, test facility and test methods to be used. If the appointed surveyor does not agree with any of these proposals or with the reliability of the testing facility the Principal should be advised immediately.
  • If the appointed surveyor has his own proposals with regard to sample analysis, these should be reported to the Principal before communicating these to cargo interests/their surveyors.


Analysis results should not be agreed without the Principal’s approval.


Survey findings & mitigation

At CJA  our appointed surveyor do  not  generally share his survey findings with cargo interests/their surveyors or agree to cargo interests/their surveyors’ findings unless approved by the Principal. In very general terms, this includes nature, cause & extent of damage/loss, sound values, depreciations, losses, costs/expenses. This does not mean however that all relevant interests/surveyors should not work together to identify cargo that is damaged. It may therefore be communicated to cargo interests/their surveyors that the appointed surveyor is prepared to recommend a joint determination of the nature and extent of damage.  If cargo interests/their surveyors propose a course of action to mitigate a loss/damage, the appointed surveyor may agree to that course of action if urgent action is necessary and instructions cannot be obtained from the Principal. If the appointed surveyor has his own proposals to mitigate loss/damage these may be shared with cargo interests/their surveyors on an entirely without prejudice basis. If the appointed surveyor is uncertain that a course of mitigation is the correct one, this should be reported to the Principal before agreeing such action. Needless to say we have a wealth of experience in this area.