Maritime Traffic Information System
The purpose of SISTRAM is to improve SAR efforts within the Brazilian maritime waters. This is accomplished by gathering navigational information from participating vessels. This information is then used during a SAR effort to route nearby vessels to the scene.
In early October 2013 the Brazilian Navy requested that all vessels calling Brazilian ports must register with the SISTRAM system and all transmission of message texts should be made through the SISTRAM IV website as from 15 October 2013. After said date it was stated that SISTRAM IV will no longer accept any messages sent to the mailbox email@example.com.
This request was subsequently postponed until 15 January 2014 and until then vessels are invited to report routes / accidents by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information regarding SISTRAM is available at www.mar.mil.br/comcontram.
Brazilian customs regulations change
The Standard Club has in May 2013 issued the below circular:
The Brazilian Customs authorities have recently authorised terminals to allow delivery of cargo upon the presentation of an Import Declaration, a copy of the Bill of Lading (front and reverse) and proof that they have paid the respective taxes, without the need for the importer / consignee to produce the original bill of lading. This is causing great concern amongst the local agents and shipping companies. Local agents have held meetings with the authorities involved and the discussions are ongoing. Shipping agents can no longer block the release of cargoes via the local Siscomex system on line. Some terminals have already delivered cargoes under this new regime.
The club is seeking legal advice from local lawyers to understand what safeguards a carrier can take in order to protect their interests. We will provide an update once we receive further advice. At present, this now confirms the invidious position in which carriers now find themselves. Release of cargo against a copy of the front/reverse of the bill of lading and confirmation of payment of taxes clearly leads to enhanced risk of mis-delivery claims against carriers, with little or no recourse against terminals as they are ‘complying’ with local law.
Restrictions to Bulk Carriers
The Directorate of Ports and Coasts (DPC) introduced with effect from 9 March 1995, new restrictions applicable to bulk carriers of over 18 years of age calling at Brazilian ports to load solid bulk cargoes with a specific gravity of 1.0 or more.
Such vessels will be required to obtain a condition survey performed by a classification society which is recognized/approved by the Brazilian government prior to commencement of loading.
The approved Societies are:
- American Bureau of Shipping
- Bureau Veritas
- Det Norsk Veritas
- Germanisher Lloyd
- Lloyd's Register
- Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
- Registri Italiano Navali
The classification society performing the survey may not be the same society which has issued the vessel's classification certificates. The DPC also has the right to appoint an additional surveyor to accompany the survey, which must include an inspection of the internal structures of all cargo holds, ballast tanks, double bottom tanks and wing tanks, with spot checks on the thickness of the internal structures, hatch covers, cleats and tightening mechanisms, hold access points and manholes to double bottom tanks.
In addition to presenting the survey, owners must also meet other requirements involving submission of documentation concerning inter alia Statutory Certificates required by International Conventions to which Brazil is a signatory;
- the vessel's Class and Register certificates.
- documentation which provides full details of the ship owner. the operator, hull underwriters, cargo owners and their underwriters and the vessel's P&I Club.
Only once the DPC is satisfied with the survey report and the documentation provided will it issue an authorization to commence loading.
On application the DPC may waive the above mentioned survey if the ship owner can demonstrate that the vessel meets all the minimum safety requirements of the International Conventions to which Brazil is a signatory. Such an application must be with the DPC at least five working days before the vessel is scheduled to be loaded and must include the documents listed above together with:
- a detailed survey report of the last docking and/or special survey, including thickness measurements.
- the last Classification Society survey report with details of any outstanding recommendations.
the general arrangement plan, shell expansion plan, midship section plan, transverse and longitudinal bulk head plans, if available and structural profile, all approved by the vessel's Classification Society.
Classification of vessels
On 30 September, 1991, the ministry of the Navy Department of Ports and Coasts, issued Ordinance No. 56 which stated:
Maritime accidents involving vessels carrying bulk cargo have increased to a great extent as per statistics published by the International Maritime Organization which pointed out structural problems of lack of water tightness as the cause of such accidents;
Existing rules suggest the taking of measures to prevent accidents which may cause damage to the maritime environment or endanger human life at sea;
Decides as follows:
Article 1 - That a foreign-flag vessel under time charter to a Brazilian company for a period equal to/over 180 days may only operate under Brazilian jurisdiction if same is classified by a Class Society with representation in our country and duly authorised by the Ministry of navy to issue on behalf of the Brazilian Government.
Sole Paragraph - For the purpose of this ordinance, a vessel is considered as classified when carrying valid Class Certificates of Hull and Engines in force, without any class condition which may jeopardize vessel's safety.
Article 2 - Any foreign-flag vessel now operating in Brazilian territorial waters and not conforming to previous Article shall have 90 days to comply with terms of present Ordinance, otherwise authorization for same to operate shall be cancelled.
Any goods or personal effects omitted from the lists may be confiscated. Brazilian Laws are strict with regard to smuggling. Alcohol, cigarettes, souvenirs etc. must be under seal during vessel's stay in port. No commercial transactions at all will be tolerated among the local employees, crew members or anyone else.
Import and Consumption of meat on board vessels in port
Reportedly (as of February, 2001) the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry, has due to suspicion of BSE contamination, with immediate effect, prohibited the import of the following meat products and the derivates: Bovines, sheep, goats and buffalo
The prohibition is in force for following countries: UK (incl. Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey), Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland.
Even products for consumption on board during the port stay in Brazil is not allowed, the provisions room will be sealed and removal of garbage containing such provisions is forbidden.
Appointment of "Financial Agents"
BIMCO has received a copy of the Central Bank of Brazil Circular letter 2297, dated 8 July 1992, which modifies the earlier regulations regarding the appointment of Brazilian "Financial Agents".
A major change to the regulations is the new possibility of companies appointing more than one Brazilian agent/representative for the purpose of disbursements of expenses incurred in Brazil and the financial transfer of funds abroad (freight payments).
The new regulations stipulate that the exchange rate to be used in settling disbursements accounts is the average rate valid between the vessel's arrival and sailing dates.
Gangway Watchmen are required on all vessels, including vessels in roads, so transport expenses can be considerable.