CARGO DOCUMENTS By Capt.J.Isbester, Bulk Carrier Practice, Nautical Institute, London, 1993 DOCUMENTS Submitted by the SHIPPERS Mate’s Receipt (prepared by the Shipper via their Agent, but signed by Chief Mate or Master)

Cargo documents list


By Capt.J.Isbester, Bulk Carrier Practice,

Nautical Institute, London, 1993


  1. Mate’s Receipt (prepared by the Shipper via their Agent, but signed by Chief Mate or Master).
  2. Bill of Lading (prepared by the Shipper or their agents, but signed by Master).
  3. Declaration by Shipper (issued by the Shippers, is made in compliance with the recommendations of the BC Code).
  4. Certificate of Transportable Moisture Limit (issued by the Shippers, is the maximum safe moisture content of the cargo when carried in a conventional bulk carrier).
  5. Certificate of Moisture Content (issued by the Shippers, is the actual moisture content of a sample of cargo to be loaded, expressed as a percentage of the total wet mass of the sample).
  6. Master’s Response Sheet (issued by some coal shippers to encourage masters to comply with recommendation 3.12 of the coal section of the BC Code. Master should be encouraged to complete and return these forms to report any unexpected experiences with coal cargoes.)
  7. Certificate of IMO Classification (issued by the Shipper before shipment of cargo which is listed in the IMDG Code).
  8. Cargo Manifest (issued by the Shippers or their agent in the loading port and is based upon the information contained in the B/L).
  9. Dangerous Cargo Manifest (issued by the Shippers or their agents in compliance with the regulations which apply at the loading port).

DOCUMENTS Submitted by the AGENTS

  1. Statement of Fact (prepared by the Ship’s agent in each loading and discharging port, to be signed by the Master).


  1. Certificate of Lashing (issued by Stevedoring Co. for cargo which requires lashing).
  2. Stowage Plan (issued by someone from the loading installation).
  3. Trimming Certificate (issued by the Stevedoring Co., to be signed by the Master that he is satisfied with the manner in which the cargo has been trimmed).
  4. Stevedores Time Sheet (issued by the Stevedoring Co., to be signed by the Master).

DOCUMENTS Submitted by the OTHERS:


  1. Phytosanitary Certificate (issued by inspector from the Ministry of Agriculture to meet a Plant Health Regulations of import state).
  2. Certificate of Compliance with Exemptions to Trade Sanctions (issued by Exporting Government for countries, which has been imposed a trade sanctions).
  3. UN Approved Certificate (issued by Exporting Government to a country which is the subject of UN sanctions).
  4. Certificate of Origin (issued by government department, states the country of origin of the cargo).
  5. Certificate of Readiness to Load (issued by the Canadian Coast Guard, the National Cargo Bureau in the USA, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, in respects of cargo of grain and concentrates and timber deck cargo, each of which has special loading requirements before their loading after satisfactory inspection of the cargo spaces and the pre-loading calculations).
  6. Certificate of Fitness to Proceed to Sea (issued by the Marine Authorities after satisfactory completion of loading of a cargo of grain or concentrates, or a timber deck cargo).
  7. Certificate of Loading (issued by the NCB in the USA to certify that a cargo of bulk grain has been loaded in accordance with the USCG regulations).
  8. Certificate of Fumigation (issued by the relevant agricultural or other responsible authority at the loading port, provides details of the fumigation of cargo, and/or cargo or other spaces).
  9. Material Safety Data Sheet (issued in the USA, provide detailed information about hazardous cargoes).
  10. Hatch Sealing Certificate (issued by shorebased organization).
  11. Clean Ballast Discharge Permit (issued by the Port Authorities/warden).
  12. Paint Compliance certificate (issued by an independent laboratory, states that all the

materials used to make the paint are approved for use on surface which are in contact

with foods. This certificate to be submitted by the Master upon request of the Shipper of



  1. Hold Inspection Certificate (issued by a Surveyor).
  2. Certificate of Weight and Quality (issued by suitable qualified surveyors and samplers, testifies to the quantity of cargo loaded and to its physical description and analytical specification).


  1. Notice of Readiness.
  2. Authorization to sign B/L (issued by the Master to the Agent).
  3. Letters of protest (The Master should write a letter of protest whenever he considers that shippers, stevedores or any other parties are responsible for an event or circumstances which will cause a loss to the ship).
  4. Empty Hold Certificate (issued by the Master when there is any doubt as to the outturn of the cargo, the stevedore supervisor will asked to sign this certificate to confirm that no cargo remains onboard).
  5. Stevedore Damage Form (issued by the Master or the Chief Officer to hold the stevedore responsible for damage to the ship or cargo, to be countersigned by the stevedore supervisor).


Bill of Lading will usually be prepared (but not signed) by the Shippers, his Agent or forwarding agent.

Master or Agent usually sign the B/L.

The Master must ensure that the information on the B/L agrees with that on the Mate’s Receipt.

Normally B/L is issued in 3 originals and numerous copies.

There are 6 main aspects to be considered before signing B/L :

  1. Quantity of cargo (a discrepancy of up to 0.5% or 0.25% is considered acceptable in some trades).
  2. Description and Condition of Cargo.
  3. Date of the B/L (should be the date on which the vessel completed the loading of the named cargo).
  4. Description of the voyage (between which ports).
  5. Terms and Conditions (correspondence between Carter Party and B/L ones).
  6. Payment of Freight ( “Freight Paid” or “Freight Prepaid”).

The B/l performs three distinct functions:

  1. as a receipt which shows what has been loaded on the ship.
  2. as a document of title which shows who can demand the goods at the discharge port,
  3. as a contract of carriage.


  1. B/L
  2. Invoice
  3. Insurance Police/Certificates

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