The role of a Marine Warranty Surveyor (MWS) within the gamut of handling and transportation of Project cargoes is insurmountable, but often misunderstood, sometimes perceived as an “unnecessary nuisance” by many project personnel, primarily due to their lack of knowledge of the role of MWS and its purpose.

  • Category Marine Warranty Surveyor

The role of a Marine Warranty Surveyor (MWS) within the gamut of handling and transportation of Project cargoes is insurmountable, but often misunderstood, sometimes perceived as an “unnecessary nuisance” by many project personnel, primarily due to their lack of knowledge of the role of MWS and its purpose.

While there is no undermining the purpose of a MWS, it is equally important to realize that the correct MWS procedure is more important than the presence of the MWS itself.

With over 1100 project cargo MWS surveys under its belt, Constellation Marine services (CMS) are extremely well positioned to offer project cargo Marine Warranty surveys, and if need be, go beyond its primary purpose, by offering technical expertise in drawing up transport manuals, method statements and risk management for the project.

CMS is a company that deeply understands the requirement of special attention towards handling and transportation of project cargoes – simply because the costs involved in project cargo damages or loss can be very large, often running into tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars.

CMS surveyors understand that with numerous parties involved in the execution of a project, damages to project cargos result in even higher consequential costs, with claims that are often complicated, lengthy and result in costly litigation.

Understanding the scope of the Marine warranty surveyor/s

A MWS, unless hired to serve as a marine consultant, is always appointed to protect the interest of the underwriters.

It is also important to note that the Warranty imposing (Underwriter) company may not be contractually obliged with any of the assureds contractors, such as operators, riggers, shipyards, installation contractor, designers, etc., and therefore rely on the presence and observations of the MWS prior to, during and post handling and transportation of the assured’s project cargo.

In the early days, the scope of the MWS was limited to selection of ships and tugs for cargo transportation, and to an extent, overseeing the loading and sea fastening of the project cargo. But with the surge of complex Marine activities such as installation of offshore structures and the like, MWS activities have broadened considerably and adding following elements:

• Review engineering documents and calculations
• Verify equipment and related certificates
• Review Marine Operation Procedures
• Attend Marine operations
• Prepare report.

It is also worthwhile to note that MWS always act as an independent unbiased entity during the execution of their services, and do not necessarily include advising services, but the better MWS companies will also on request include these within their scope.

It is evident that client companies will usually benefit and the increase in cost for this service is usually minimal, but the returns are high because of the costs of savings by eliminating and or reducing re-work and maintaining schedule. Even when such services are not included in the scope, the better MWS play an advisory role specially in cases to break an impasse that may have been observed or have arisen due

• Not meeting original design criteria
• Non-availability of proposed equipment
• Last minute change in procedures
• Disputes between participating parties due to the above.

The Role of a Marine Warranty Surveyor

The MWS ensures that the terms of the warranty clause in the insurance policy are complied with and that the operations are carried out in accordance with the approved procedures as defined in the Transport Manual or Method Statement.

Involvement of an MWS is typically where shipment of the cargo forms a component of a larger project, including cargo comprising of relatively small cases or Cargo Transport Unit’s (CTU’s) through to complete modules for new infrastructure projects.

In the latter case the shipping procedure; transport to point of shipment, lift plans and rigging calculations, sea-fastening and routing of the ship or tow will be the subject of a series of procedures. These will have been subject to professional scrutiny, possibly by several disciplines, to ensure that calculations are proved and methods for the execution of the various aspects are approvable in line with industry guidelines.

Subject to the approval of procedures and calculations it is then normal for the Warranty Surveyor to attend and observe loading, securing and possibly discharging operations to ensure that approved procedures are adhered to and to be on hand to evaluate and approve any changes to procedures necessitated by on-site conditions.

In cases where a Warranty Surveyor attends to approve loading and securing of cargo it will be
usual for a Certificate of Approval (COA) or Letter of Approval (LOA) to be issued, on completion of operations, to confirm that the previously approved procedures have been adhered to or that he is satisfied with on-board securing arrangements agreed with the vessel’s staff or Supercargo.

The COA/LOA may have additional recommendations attached for example, specifying checks to be made on lashings, records to be noted in the vessel’s log etc.


Project cargoes require special attention during loading and transportation. Specialist knowledge and experience in the shipment of such cargoes is required to fully plan and engineer a safe project cargo shipment.

All operations need to be carefully managed with agreed responsibilities, risk assessments and tool-box talks.

A good MWS provides independent third-party technical review and approval of high-value and/or high-risk marine construction and transportation project operations, from the planning stages to the physical execution.

By appointing an independent third party MWS to review the whole operation from start to finish, including the final leg of the transportation to the site, carriers and charterers will reduce the high-risk factor associated with deck cargoes.

The attendance of an MWS will ensure that the regular areas of failure within a deck stow such as
poor lashing equipment, insufficient use of lashing equipment, noncompliance with the CSM, CSS Code and TDC Code, will be avoided. This provides added peace of mind for all involved in making the voyage a success.