CARGO SUPERINTENDENCE (PRE - LOSS SURVEY)
THE ESSENCE AND NEED FOR MARINE CARGO SUPERINTENDENCE
Superintendence Service is a form of Risk management device employed by Underwriters to represent them at the time of cargo discharge, custom evacuation and delivery. As such, sometimes, superintendents are present at their duty post both day and night during Ships' discharge particularly of Bulk and Liquid cargo such as Wheat, Fertilizers, Rice and Petroleum Products; PMS, AGO, DPK, Crude Palm Oil (CPO) which usually come as single Product in full shipload. For these very products, the Surveyors are always allowed to go into the ship for pre discharge inspections and ullaging before commencement of ship discharge.
But for General Cargo and Container shipment, superintendents would most time witness discharge at the quay side. This is because sometimes they are not allowed into the vessel. Then during custom examination, they are also expected to be present, if intimated by the clearing agent and also during delivery in particular.
Their presence at every stage of goods exchanging hand at the ports, eliminate any possible controversy that may arise as to when and where discrepancy occurred; and the question of negligent party. It also enable the superintendent to raise a protest letter against negligent party within a stipulated time frame on behalf of underwriters, otherwise, their recovery right would be lost.
Their presence also acts as a check against any possible spurious claims against the Marine Insurance Policy. Experience shows that without a superintendent being present, Underwriters would pay marine claims far more than the fees paid to superintendent. This is because if the Underwriter had to wait until Marine Claim is reported to them in their office before appointing a Marine surveyor to investigate the claim, the quantity of loss would have been inflated for gain before the arrival of the marine Surveyor. Even, Sometime, non-existing incident or discrepancy are cooked up and fraudulently presented innocently as real incident that occurred just to defraud Insurance Company. They justify such measures by false reasoning that over the years they haven't had any opportunity to claim from the insurance company despite the huge amount of premiums they have paid to the underwriter. So they see such fraudulent act as a way of recouping some of the premium already paid to the underwriter as no genuine claim against their policy has been forthcoming. Therefore a prudent Marine Underwriter need to engage the services of a trusted Marine superintendent owing to these corruptions also in the system.
In conclusion, underwriters also need to exercise caution as to the choice of the superintendent they use. It should be one that will not compromise integrity and ethics of the profession.