Ship inspection in Lagos Nigeria

Vessel Condition Survey

This is a thorough survey of a vessel to report the condition- the extent and nature of defects found.

The report include the Description of Vessel and its main particulars gotten from plans and documents on board or supplied by the vessels Master.

The areas surveyed include:

The bridge navigation and communication equipment’s used, the vessel’s accommodation.

The ship’s hull which includes the plates, draught marks, type of rudder and propeller and bow thruster.

The State of the main deck areas which constitutes of the deck plating, railings, mast house structures, air vents etc.

The State of the cargo tanks, ballast tanks, chain lockers, deck store rooms.

The Safety and fire-fighting equipment’s

Then an honest report is prepared to describe the vessel’s condition from the inspection.

Bunker Survey

This is a quantitative examination of Bunker Fuel delivered to a vessel. Bunker survey is a Loss Control tool to track significant differences of cargo quantities between the supplier and receiver. Bunker survey is a critical service to make sure that the correct quantity fuel is delivered to the buyer.

Usually, delivery and transfer of bunker fuel usually takes place miles away from the offices of both buyer and seller to be able to monitor the transfer process, so any dispute is usually futile and inconclusive and they can cause problems like legal fees, demurrage, loss of management time and loss of goodwill. An impartial bunker survey can remove many of the issues involved in the buying and selling of bunker fuel.

Draft Survey – Draft Survey of Cargo, Draft Survey of Vessels

This is the measurement of the initial weight (displacement) of a vessel and the final weight (displacement) of the ship after loading, the difference plus all the weights that were taken out will be the cargo loaded.

Draft survey is used to know the weight of solid cargo, with liquid cargo the measurement of cargo quantity is simple using the density of the cargo and the volume but for cargo like coal, the weight cannot be measured like that because solid cargoes don’t take the shape of the hold unlike liquid; draft survey is the most appropriate way to calculate it.

Draft survey can also be used to measure the quantity of some liquid cargo like molasses loaded on chemical tankers because it has air in it and the density is not uniform.

Vessel Damage Survey

Vessel Damage Survey


This is the Survey done to assess the extent of the damage sustained by a vessel on the hull, rig, systems, or elsewhere on the vessel. A vessel damage survey report includes probable causes of the damage, recommendations on repairs, and estimated costs for repair. Usually surveyors are hired by insurance companies to investigate claims but Sometimes a boat owner can hire a surveyor to investigate unusual degradation or damage, especially on newer boats.

Marine Incident Investigation

  Vessel Survey

This is detailed and systematic examination and investigation of marine accidents involving ships and other marine crafts to determine the cause of the accident and to suggest measures to prevent such accidents iin future.

Marine accident investigators have both national and international professional organizations.

IMO requires all flag states of their registered ships to investigate and report serious marine accidents.

National Administration usually assign their professional investigators conduct marine accident investigation by interview of witnesses, collect evidences and data for accident analysis, the probable causes and findings of the accident are concluded and recommendation are suggested to prevent future occurrence of similar accident in the final accident investigation report for public.

Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) are now installed on most of the oceangoing vessels according to the IMO requirement, VDR have made a substantial contribution to the understanding of accident causes and the improvement of safety. Recorded data has enabled accident investigators to reconstruct events to identify precisely what went wrong and to ensure that effective, rather than convenient, more reliable recommendations can be made to prevent the same thing happening again from the correct lessons learned.

Holds Cleanliness Survey

This is a survey conducted before loading cargo on a vessel, it is done to make sure that the cargo hold condition is clean and suitable for the cargo to be loaded. This survey is conducted on every ship by an approved independent surveyor, he will require the ships particulars, details of at least three cargoes previously carried then he inspects the holds for cleanliness and materials that can contaminate goods.

There are generally 5 grades of hold cleanliness for dry cargo

Hospital Clean/Stringent Cleanliness

This requires the holds to have intact paint coatings on all surfaces, including the tank top, all ladder rungs and undersides of hatches. This cleanliness level is required for cargo like kaolin/china clay, mineral sands including zircon, bauxite, rutile sand, limonite, fluorspar, chrome ore, soda ash, rice in bulk, and high grades of wood pulp. This level of cleanliness is usually only required for ships that exclusively carry such cargo.

 Grain Clean/High Cleanliness

This is the most required level of cleanliness, ships carrying majority of bulk and break goods like grains, soya meal and soya products, sulphur, cement, bauxite etc. are required to be grain clean.

 Normal Clean

this level of requirement means the holds have been swept clean with no remnant from the previous cargo and washed down to be clean enough to take similar cargo to the previous one,.

 Shovel Clean

The previous cargo is removed with a bobcat or a rough sweep and cleaned with shovels by deckhands or crew.

 Load on Top

This is defined literally, the cargo is loaded on top of existing cargo residue. This level of cleanliness is required when the vessel trades continuously with the commodity, when a vessel is used exclusively for only one type of cargo, there is no need to clean the holds between successive cargoes.

During hold survey, the surveyor should make sure it is performed under the following conditions:

  • Inspections is done in daylight hours only
  • Cargo Hatch  is fully opened
  • Equipment to enable proper access to all areas of holds should be available.
  • High powered hand held lighting and extendable mirrors should be used to assist in inspections.
  • Free from ANY previous cargo residues

After the survey is completed, the surveyor issues a field survey report approving or disapproving the vessel’s hold conditions for loading the intended cargo. When disapproving the cargo holds, recommendations are made on how to reach the level of cleanliness required.

Pre-Purchase Survey

This is a thorough inspection of a ships condition usually done by a third party surveyor for a prospective buyer or lending institutions to asses it’s condition and determine its value before purchase.

The inspection includes checking the vessel’s structural and watertight integrity, systems installation and operating condition and performance. The survey report includes a comprehensive assessment of the equipment, specifications, detailed list of deficiencies and recommendations.

The pre-purchase survey consists of three phases under ideal circumstances- the first phase when the vessel is ashore with full access to the underwater body; all areas of the ship is inspected. The underwater body, side shells and deck/coach roof are inspected by “sounding” and testing with a moisture meter to determine the structural integrity of the vessel. The keel, rudder, hull penetrations, and propulsion components are evaluated. Electrical systems and electronics are tested

The second phase when the ship is afloat with all tanks filled and all systems operating. Propulsion machinery is operated, but in a static mode only and not under load. The integrity of sea valves and hull penetrations can be verified.

The third phase is a sea trial with all machinery and systems operating. This is done at the request of the client with the vessel operated by the owner or the owner’s authorized agent. Propulsion machinery is operated under load and all systems and components can be tested under actual sea conditions.

Discharge and loading supervision of cargo ship imports or exports.

This is inspection and survey done to make sure the intended cargo are in good condition and loaded and unloaded correctly.

The processes involved in loading and discharge supervision include:

Vessel’s holds Inspection

Stowage control

Visual inspection during loading and/or unloading

Control on reloading of merchandise toward the final destination

Tally inspections

Determination of weight by means of Draft Survey

Advice on maintenance of cargo integrity

Condition inspection

Sealing / unsealing

Prevention loss/damage to cargo, goods, products

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