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PostWho Pays for Oil Tanker Delays? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 02/26/19 10:25 am)
Before trying to answer Gary Moore's questions of February 25th, let me first make it clear that most of my expertise about hydrocarbons has to do with the moment oils flows in and then out of the ship's manifolds. Yet here is what I know with regards to Gary's questions.
For each hour or day of delay in discharging the cargo due to the fault of the receiver, there is a penalty according to the contract and/or the international rates of freight. So it may indeed be $50,000/day more or less. Perhaps this figure is an average for all the waiting ships or just an approximate number written by a journalist.
This penalty is applied both ways, as the vessel/owner has to pay for any delay during the loading/ transportation/discharge. This fact places a lot of pressure on the captain. However, I personally never violated any safety or antipollution rules to speed up the process, even at the risk of quarrels with some supervisors from headquarters. I had a strong advantage, however, as the president of the company was a former captain who understood the realities and did not like monkey business. Be always suspicious of presidents of shipping companies who come from the finance departments, as they may demand "shortcuts" of the captains and then shift the blame to them if something goes wrong.
Once I was speaking with my company's president, informing him that I had an insurance on my license. Due to the power of the company I believed the insurance was unnecessary, but the honest president told me: "Captain, you should always keep your insurance, as the interests of the company may not always coincide with yours."
With the reference to the flow of gasoline/oil/gas inside the pipelines I have no exact knowledge of the Mexican system, but theoretically, to determine the real quantity flowing in the lines and eventually detecting any loss should be a rather easy task.
Of course finding the exact place of a perforation by thieves cannot be so easy, but with modern technology it should not be difficult to determine where the loss is. Consider that the places where the theft is possible should be in a spot easily reachable by people. Therefore, it would not occur in a place where the pipe is one meter underground in the middle of the desert. Furthermore there are pumping stations every few kilometers, so the area to be inspected by footwork can be considerably restricted.
JE comments: Eugenio Battaglia teaches me so much about life at sea. Regarding Mexico's pipeline losses, I would assume many of the gasoline "pirates" pay off the pipeline employees--or they (pirates and employees) are the selfsame individuals.