Dunnage. Materials such as timber battens, boards, mats, plastic sheets, paper and even inflatable bags may be necessary to prevent cargo from shifting, to prevent sweat damage to the cargo and to separate different lots of cargo.

A charterparty may contain clauses specifying the responsibility and expenses of the parties for supplying and using dunnage, if this is essential. For example, a clause in a charterparty for loading 5,000 tonnes of steel plate as cargo, may state: “Owners to supply sufficient dunnage/mats and other separations necessary, . . . all materials for owners’ account . . .” A clause in another charterparty may state: “If cargo in units or packages is loaded, the ship shall be fully wooden cargo-batten fitted. Any missing battens shall be replaced by any suitable material to protect the cargo from the ship’s steel plating at Owners’ expense and in their time. Any other dunnage required shall be provided, laid and paid for by the Charterer . . .”

Dunnage. The term includes various materials such as timber boards, matting, burlap, rattans, “Kraft paper”, synthetic sheeting or also inflatable nylon bags filled with compressed air.

The use of sufficient dunnage is one of the principal precautions against damage to cargo. Dunnage is laid on the ceiling and along the permanent wood cargo battens, in all places were necessary. The main object of dunnaging is to prevent or limit damage by sweat, breakage, chafing, crushing, moisture and contact with parts of the vessel’s steel structure. It is also used to separate different parcels of cargo and to construct ventilation paths, e.g., in a hygroscopic cargo such as rice.


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Due diligence

Duty to provide a seaworthy vessel