Fuel and Liquid Cargo Services
Brookes Bell has fuel chemistry specialists who advise on fuel specification issues and provide interpretation of laboratory test and investigative analysis data.
In cases of dispute, our chemists offer advice on sampling and testing, and will formulate and arrange detailed analysis programmes designed to (i) assess compliance with routine ISO 8217 Table 2 test requirements, (ii) investigate the presence of adulterants (which may place the fuel in breach of the General Requirements of the International Standard) and (iii) explore causal damage mechanisms.
Brookes Bell has a broad range of expertise which can be called upon in connection with the investigation and handling of bunker claims and associated engine damage disputes.
We have Engineers with first-hand experience in investigating ship-board engine operating difficulties and fuel handling issues which may be linked to fuel and/or lubricant quality, who provide opinion on causation and guidance on mitigation issues.
Forensic Engineering for Machinery Failures
Brookes Bell Group has experienced Marine Engineers, Metallurgists and Fuel Chemists who investigate machinery failures of all types in the marine and offshore environment, including main propulsion and power generation systems, auxiliary machinery and cranes (ships, offshore, shore-side). These investigations are performed at a forensic level, bringing in other skill sets at Brookes Bell, such as metallurgy, tribology and Fuel Chemistry who undertake detailed examinations of engine parts, generating further evidence to link potentially with the findings of the engineering and fuel testing investigations. We deal with all types of wear processes, fatigue, overload and corrosion issues.
Our metallurgical laboratory facilities allow samples, including large items such as sections of propulsion shafting, crankshafts/bearings, crane wires, etc., to be stored following formal custody transfer procedures, so that they are available for further examination and testing jointly with other experts. These skills and facilities are frequently used during expert witness litigation cases.
Our Marine Engineers become involved with investigation of electrical power failures at a forensic level, re constructing scenarios and analysing alarm recorders. Refrigeration plant and HVAC systems are also covered by our Marine Engineers.
Liquid Cargo Contamination Claims
This type of claim will often involve our Tanker Mariners and Chemists working closely together, looking at the contamination claim from their different perspectives, based on their combined, considerable experience. Our involvement can be based on historical documents only, and may also involve a cross-over to the cargo shortage aspects as cross contamination can be revealed by analysis of quantities. We may attend in instances where contamination has been identified before operations are completed. We will work in close cooperation with local cargo inspectors to ensure evidence is preserved by way of obtaining relevant and representative samples. We can help ensure that the provenance of existing samples is properly maintained and recorded.
Our Chemists arrange and attend appropriate analysis of samples at laboratories all over the world. They will help to design the testing regime to be relevant in tracing the nature, extent and cause of contamination and to ensure the continued provenance of the samples and results throughout.
Our Mariners and Chemists form opinions based on the test results and will write expert advice and reports on the likely cause of the contamination.
Ship-To-Ship Transfer claims
Our Tanker Mariners have wide experience of ship-to-ship (STS) transfers from the navigational, command and cargo operation aspects. They attend post event investigations and carry out analyses of the history of operations that have ended in ship contacts or other mishaps. This can involve interview of crew, examination of records, interpretation of VDR recordings, the reconstruction of events through computer simulations and opining on likely causes.
Ship-to-ship transfers are often an integral part of complex cargo trading, blending and offshore storage operations. They can involve multiple transfers between mother ships and other vessels and have resulted in complicated cargo shortage or contamination claims. Our Mariners and Chemists undertake careful analysis of historical operations in order to try to pinpoint the likely reason for contamination or shortage.
Tank coating condition and suitability surveys
Our Mariners and Chemists have extensive experience of cargo tank condition and suitability issues. Disputes often arise from the cleanliness, condition or suitability of the tank coatings in respect of different cargoes. The issues involved can be extremely complex and may require the synergy of the combined experience of our mariners and chemists.
Our personnel carry out tank coating inspections and examine the cargo, coating repair and inspection histories. They can advise on remedial action, including further preparation or coating, as necessary.
Cargo Remaining on Board (ROB) can be a major contributor to oil cargo shortages. Our experienced Tanker Mariners will give opinions based on historical paper claims or can attend to investigate the cause of excessive retention.
They will look into voyage cargo heating records and heating effectiveness. They will look at stripping and, where appropriate, crude oil washing issues. Opinions can be based on historical, paper only claims or may involve attendance and intervention at the discharge operation when various ‘squeeze dry’ techniques will be encouraged.
Tank Cleaning Surveys
Our Mariners and Chemists have extensive experience of cargo tank cleanliness and suitability in respect of a wide range of different cargoes. Disputes often arise from the cleanliness as well as condition or suitability of the tanks. These can be complex and require the synergy of the combined experience of our mariners and chemists.
Our personnel carry out tank cleanliness inspections and examine the cargo and tank cleaning. They will opine upon the appropriateness and effectiveness of methods used.