From rotten bananas to contaminated cargo. Elbert Francke is a Marine Surveyor at Van Ameyde Marine and mainly conducts surveys and investigations on behalf of liability insurers into the cause, nature and extent of possible damage and loss of goods during transport. In the Havenkrant, he was given the opportunity to explain what his working week entails:
‘I’m on my way to the Europoort where a bulk carrier full of corn is under discharge. Wet damage was detected during the discharging and there is a chance that part of the corn is no longer usable, because moisture has been added. The owners P&I Club has asked us to find out what happened, how big the damage is and what needs to be done to limit that damage.’
‘I’m still working on the research on ‘wet maize’. In such a case, we pull out all the stops to find out the cause. We study the logbooks, interview the crew: How was the cargo loaded? What was the weather like while loading? How was the cargo delivered? We try to find out what happened along the way: all to find out who could possibly be responsible. Perhaps there was a problem in the port of loading or a problem on board the ship.
‘I am on my way to an importer in garlic that claims that there is damage to the garlic due to temperature problems in the container during transport. This may not immediately be what you think of in my work, but it is also part of it. I’m going there to see what the garlic actually looks like.’
‘A day at the office to draw up the reports of the first days. The insurer is anxiously waiting for it, of course they would like to hear as soon as possible whether and how much they might have to pay out. Partly because of this, it is an intensive and demanding job, the pressure from the insurer is high, especially with potentially large claims. When I have completed an initial investigation in the evening, I report the first one immediately. Then I won’t wait until the next morning.’
‘Damage cannot be planned, it turns out. I was called at 5:00 am if I could board a tanker immediately, where possibly the cargo has been contaminated by a previous cargo. You have to go straight to that, I do drink coffee when I come on board. It was hectic weeks, I often had to go to a job on the weekend, so now I take it easy for a bit. That’s the other side of the coin: it’s sometimes hectic, but nobody bothers if you start later or stop earlier.’
Besides showing the actual working week, we do see Elbert and his colleagues at RMSC events as well. We asked him about the importance of the RMSC for the surveying company:
‘ The RMSC gives good possibilities for networking and sharing knowledge. Within this sector it is importance to stay closely connected with the existing relations, like the insurers mentioned in the working week, but also the expand our network with new relations and potential clients. The knowledge and networking events organised, where you can meet the other members and members of other branch organizations, make it easy to connect with these relations.’