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and the Charter Party Freight Retention Clause

by T.J. Gunner
for INTERTANKO May 2001


In nearly all Crude Oil tankers Charter Parties there is a provision for Charterers to deduct
from freight due an amount of money equivalent to cargo remaining onboard after
completion of a discharge programme. As examples of this provision, the relevant clause in a
Charter Party may have the following form of wording:

Exxon Mobil VOY2000 clause 18(h) provides

"In the event that any liquid cargo remains on board at completion of discharge for the final
voyage under this charter, then charterers shall have the right to deduct from freight an
amount equal to the Free On Board (FOB) port of loading value of such cargo plus freight
due with respect thereto. The quantity and quality of such liquid hydrocarbon material shall
be determined by a mutually agreeable independent cargo inspector. The quantity of
Remaining On Board (ROB) material shall be measured using the vessel's wedge tables, if
available, or otherwise by wedge formula."
Shell's clause:

If on completion of discharge any liquid cargo of a pumpable nature remains on board (the
presence and quantity of such cargo having been established, by application of the wedge
formula in respect of any tank the contents of which do not reach the forward bulkhead, by an
independent surveyor, appointed by charterers and paid jointly by owners and charterers),
charterers shall have the right to deduct from freight an amount equal to the FOB loading port
value of such cargo, cargo insurance plus freight thereon; provided, however, that any action
or lack of action hereunder shall be without prejudice to any other rights or obligations of
charterers, under this charter or otherwise, and provided further that if owners are liable to
any third party in respect of failure to discharge such pumpable cargo, or any part thereof,
charterers shall indemnify owners against such liability up to the total amount deducted under
this clause."
As can be seen from the above examples of these types of clauses, there are many different
criteria and concepts that are contained in the clause. However, due to the general form of

the clause and its consequences, the clause has to be treated as a form of penalty clause which
imposes an obligation upon the Charterer, who would claim under the terms of the clause, to
abide by and fulfil all the terms and conditions required by the clause before the clause can be
used to deduct a sum of money from the freight payment.

Given the content of the foregoing types of clauses, it is necessary to consider the various
criteria amongst which are the following:

The term Cargo

The term Liquid

The term Pumpable

The term Reachable

The term Freight

The term Insurance

The term Independent Cargo Inspector or Surveyor

The application of the term Wedge Formula

The use of the term Hydrocarbon material

In addition to the foregoing, due to the terms of the clause and its requirements, alternative
clauses in the Charter Party may impose alternative operational standards and requirements
that could be in conflict with the requirements of this clause.

Such circumstances will be

discussed in this document.

Finally, this type of clause can been seen as a "penalty" type of clause as only one party to the
contract, the Charterer, will gain from the terms contained within it. This being so, an Arbitrator
should apply a rule of English Law called the "contra proferentum" rule which means that when
only one party to a contract will benefit from the terms of a specific clause then, before such a
benefit can be given by the Arbitrator, the full terms and specific requirements of the clause have
to be strictly complied with in full.

The Cargo


What is Cargo?

The reference to cargo in this clause must refer to the cargo as loaded onboard the vessel
for the voyage referred to in the relevant Charter Party. In general terms the word cargo
could be defined as.

Any legal goods or merchandise loaded on board a vessel for transportation, as described in
the contract for freightment (the Bill of Lading) for the goods or merchandise, for which
consideration (freight) for its transportation is payable

This general definition gives rise to the first area of regular dispute with respect to the
interpretation/operation of this clause. The clause refers to the presence of any liquid cargo
remaining onboard upon completion of discharge and goes on to define the manner by
which the independent cargo inspector shall quantify the volume of liquid remaining as a
result of the tank survey (ROB survey).

The clause does not stipulate that any liquid oil

onboard the vessel prior to loading of the current cargo (OBQ) should be deducted from the
total volume calculated as being present after the discharge programme but the use of the
word cargo would require such a volume to be taken into consideration in the volumetric

Given this circumstance, when a financial statement is presented for the deduction of freight
pursuant to the terms of this type of clause then, the total calculated remaining liquid volume
is often used for the calculated sum of the deduction. When such circumstances occur then it
must be considered that the form of calculation for the deduction from freight due is not in
line with the intentions of the parties to the contract (Charter Party) at the inception of the
contract and is certainly not an equitable interpretation of the terms of the generalised type of


The Material in the Cargo Tank

The type of clauses discussed in this paper state in general terms that the Vessels Charterers
have the right to deduct from the freight due an amount equal to the FOB cargo value of the
liquid cargo volume remaining onboard upon completion of discharge.

This term of the

clause raises the question as to the identity of the material left in the cargo tank and whether it
is cargo by this it is meant hydrocarbon liquid similar to the description given in the Bill of

Pursuant to the Contract of Sale the price paid by the Cargo Receivers would be only for the
hydrocarbon volume, i.e. the Total Volume received less any water corrected to a standard

temperature (normally 60 o F or 15 o C). Thus, for the terms of the clause and equity to prevail
for the freight deduction, the same conditions should apply to the measured liquid cargo
volume found upon completion of discharge.

This circumstance immediately considers the

term within the clause relating to Hydrocarbon material and raises the question as to the
water content of the volume remaining onboard the question of temperature correction will
be discussed below when considering the survey and reporting practises followed/utilised by
the Independent Inspector/Surveyor.

Crude Oil will always contain an amount of water. Depending upon the type of crude oil it
could be generally stated that when the water content of the crude oil exceeds 500 ppm on
loading, water will separate to form its own phase beneath the oil phase.

This free water

phase will be discharged in the early stages of the discharge programme forming part of the
original cargo received onboard.

However, a significant water volume (significant in terms of Freight retention value) can
exist in cargo tanks upon completion of discharge. This can occur for two primary reasons
that are beyond the control of the vessel:


Free water precipitating from the original cargo as loaded can combine with other
hydrocarbons to form loose emulsions or sludges which due to their potential
viscosities become unpumpable.


The International SOLAS Regulations require a tanker to maintain a positive pressure

of Inert Gas in its tanks at all times especially when loaded with a volatile
hydrocarbon cargo in order to prevent Oxygen entering the vapour space.


during discharge with the ever increasing vapour space Inert Gas is produced from
Boiler Exhaust/Flue Gases in order to meet this requirement.

Prior to the Inert Gas being placed in the cargo vapour space it is cleaned by passing
the gas through a water scrubber and thereafter possibly a Wet Deck Seal (a form of
non return valve).

This process will saturate the cleaned vapours with water.

Notwithstanding the efficiency of the de-mister facilities within the scrubber unit for
the removal of water droplets from the gas stream water in the form of gas will be
carried into the cargo tanks.

As the gas cools in the cargo tanks this water will

precipitate into its liquid phase and drop to the floor of the cargo tank. It is estimated,

by reference to Figure 4.20 of the SIGTTO Manual/Publication, that the extent of

water precipitation by this circumstance for a VLCC discharge would be
approximately 12 M. Tons (90 bbls).

Given that oil floats on water and the possibility of a thin liquid oil strata floating on
top of such a precipitated water volume, then the Cargo Inspector/Surveyor could be
mislead into believing that the whole volume would be oil when examining the
sounding rod upon recovery on deck for a particular measurement. Care should be
taken to establish the actual water content of any liquid volume in a cargo tank
pursuant to the requirements of this clause.


The Characteristics of Material Remaining Onboard


Liquid and Liquidity

This term raises the first technical issue surrounding the characteristics of the type of material
remaining onboard from the cargo carried. Before discussing this issue it is necessary to set
the scene for sources of any technical guidance that may be available.

Elsewhere in a

Tankers normal Charter Party will be a clause that requires the vessel to uphold and comply
with all current International Regulations such as SOLAS and MARPOL, amongst the many.

Within the MARPOL regulations, Regulation 13B provides for the requirements necessary
for Crude Oil Washing (COW).

Regulation 13B (5) requires that the vessel has and

Operation and Equipment Manual (often termed The COW Manual) that supplies guidance
as to how COW could be undertaken, the equipment available onboard the vessel to
undertake the operation safely, and the characteristics of the wash medium for an effective
COW operation.

This later information has recently been amended and now supplies

additional guidelines for the physical characteristics of a Crude Oil cargo for the purposes of
achieving the intentions of the COW operation, namely, a reduction of a pollution threat from
the Crude Oil onboard the vessel.

On its own, the term liquid, without any supporting definition, could have many meanings.
After all, all substances can exhibit the three standard physical phases of solid, liquid and
vapour if the relevant temperature requirements are present. Thus, it could be argued that the

term liquid within the Freight Retention Clause has an implied meaning that the material
has a liquidity characteristic that is capable of being discharged and delivered to the Cargo
Receiver by the vessels standard cargo handling equipment the vessels pumps, stripping
pumps or eductor system. Such a characteristic is often taken to be the materials viscosity
for it is this criterion that impacts a vessels pumps ability to pump the material (see
INTERTANKO publication An Explanation and Guideline for Pumping Calculations).

Thus, reverting to the COW manual and in particular the new Section 9, a guideline for this
characteristic is supplied as follows:

Pumpability Criterion is determined by the oils Kinematic Viscosity at the observed

temperature of the cargo prior to its discharge. In order to attain optimum efficiency for
discharge this viscosity should not exceed 250 centistokes and never in excess of 600

From the foregoing, it could be argued that the required characteristic of material remaining
from a cargo should have a viscosity of less than 600 centistokes before it can be classified as
being liquid.

It is therefore incumbent upon the specified Cargo Inspector/Surveyor to

undertake the required determination at the time of the survey before the material remaining
from the cargo can be classified as Liquid.


Pumpable and Pumpability

The term Pumpable is, in some respects, synonymous with the term Liquid.

If the

material residues in the cargo tank have the correct physical characteristics to define them as
being Liquid for the purposes of this clause then they should be pumpable. However, such
a statement generalises the circumstances required for Pumpability.

In order for a liquid to become fully pumpable by the vessels standard cargo handling
equipment then other physical characteristics are required to be in place.

For example, a

liquid residue in a cargo tank may be unpumpable due to its volatility that impacts an
engineering criterion of the pump, namely, The Net Positive Suction Head of the pump. For









made to the

INTERTANKO publication - An Explanation and Guideline for Pumping Calculations.


It should be stated that even if the term Liquid is not included into the descriptive terms for
the material remaining in a cargo tank that is deemed dischargeable, then the term pumpable
will imply the same physical characteristics criterion as discussed above, namely, that the
residue material must have a viscosity of less than 600 centistokes for effective pumpability
to be achievable.

Pumpability can also be synonymous with the term Reachability.

The term Pumpable

implies that a defined liquid volume that is capable of being pumped (i.e. the criterion of Net
Positive Suction Head) surrounds and covers the relevant pump suction in a cargo tank. If,
however, the depth of liquid is such that it does not cover the pump suction this will result in
the pump casing being filled with Vapour or Gas and the residue liquid not being Pumpable
or Reachable by the pump.


Reachable and Reachability

As stated above, the term Reachable can be synonymous with the concept of pumpability
in so far that if a liquid volume is pumpable it must also be reachable by the vessels pumps.
However, reachability also contains other concepts for the limitation of the discharge of
residue material within a cargo tank.

Reachability of liquid material for discharge within a cargo tank can be explained by the
location of the liquid volume and the ability of that volume to become pumpable, namely, its
potential to flow to the fixed and designated pump suction position in a cargo tank. If the
volume is remote from the pump suction location then it is not Reachable.

What circumstances could be envisaged for such an event to occur?

For Pre MARPOL and

Single Hulled SBT type vessels with the extensive furniture in their cargo tanks, entrapment
of pools of liquid by sludge remote from the tank suction point is a real possibility. Thus, if
by chance the sounding of the residues in the tank were to detect such a volume then a false
impression could be gained by the surveyor as to the total residue content of the tank without
regard to the location of the sounding position in the cargo tank.

Such a circumstance as described above raises alternative issues relating the methodology of
the survey undertaken such that reachability of any liquid volume can be assessed. In this
regard, the method of survey becomes important such that this exclusion could be used for
this type of event.

Typically, a ROB survey as undertaken by a Cargo Inspector/surveyor

relies upon the findings/measurements from one sounding in each cargo tank.

The sounding

location usually selected by the Inspector/Surveyor will be as close to the aft bulkhead of the
cargo tank as is possible given the availability of access points in each tank.

Reverting to the discussion above regarding the mandatory COW Manual to be found
onboard every crude oil tanker, this Manual contains guidelines as to how to determine the
dryness of each cargo tank and establish the effectiveness of a COW operation. Paragraph
4.4.4. of this manual prescribes the location and number of the necessary sounding points for
undertaking this task and states:

Means such as level gauges, hand dipping and stripping system performance gauges as
referred to in 4.4.8. (see below for discussion) shall be provided for checking that the bottom
of every cargo tank is dry after crude oil washing. Suitable arrangements for hand dipping
must be provided at the aftermost portion of a cargo tank and in three other suitable
locations unless other approved means are fitted for efficiently ascertaining that the bottom
of every cargo tank is dry. For the purpose of this paragraph, the cargo tank bottom shall be
considered dry if there is no more than a small quantity of oil near the stripping suction
with no accumulation of oil elsewhere in the tank.

If the foregoing survey method and equipment were to be used instead of the regular one
sounding then, a better indication (statistical) of the diversity of the type of material
remaining in the cargo tank could be established and a better assessment of the reachability
of any localised liquid volumes remote from the pump suction point could be achieved.
Other benefits to be derived from such a survey practice will be discussed below in this

An example of an alternative reachability problem relates to the construction of certain

Double Hulled tankers. Certain of this type of tanker have their pump suctions located in a
well at the aft end of the cargo tank. This well could contain about 3 m3 of cargo volume. If,
however, the cargo type is paraffinic/waxy and cold ballast is taken in the double hull/bottom

space adjacent to a tank being discharged then the content of the well could start to solidify
(subject to the Pour Point temperature of the cargo) thereby obstructing liquid access to the
pump suction point. The liquid remaining in the tank, therefore, would not be reachable by
the pumps as it would be remote from the pump suction point. Such a design feature may not
be known by/to the attending Cargo Inspector/surveyor who would report that liquid volumes
were present in the tank upon completion of discharge.


The ROB Report

Having examined many hundreds of this type of report it never ceases to amase the author
that a Cargo Inspector/surveyor is able to establish that either only Liquid or Sludge (N.B. not
Sediment see below for discussion) is present in the cargo tank. Logic dictates that both
phases of the crude oil will be present in every cargo tank but in differing proportions
dependent upon the type of crude oil, the effectiveness of the COW undertaken and the
efficiency of the discharge/stripping programme.

The reason, of course, for such a clear

statement on the ROB survey document is the use of a single sounding in each cargo tank
which must produce one single finding for the nature of the material in each cargo tank.

The MARPOL Regulations supply guidance as to how the survey should be undertaken
reference paragraph 4.4.4. of the COW Manual and by use of this method a clearer
indication of the nature of the bottom material residues could be obtained.

The current

practices of Cargo Inspectors/surveyors, when only obtaining one sounding in a tank, are
contravening the best practice guidelines as provided for under MARPOL which the
Charterer requires to be observed by reference to an alternative clause in the Charter Party
that typically requires that the vessel is and will comply with all current International

This situation is further provoked by alternative terms of the typical Freight

Retention Clause which requires the recorded to volume to be calculated by use of the Wedge
Formula. This aspect will be further discussed below in this document.


Is the Material Sediment or Sludge?

Although this section discusses material that is not liquid, for which a Freight deduction may
be applicable, the use of terminology on the agreed ROB report is very important for it could
have alternative consequences for the vessel. Before providing an example of an impact for

the misuse of terminology the relevant terms should be defined.

The following definitions

can be found in the ISO TR 8338 document dealing with ROB volumes on vessels.

Sediment - "The element of non-free-flowing material left in a ship's cargo tank which is
essentially inorganic in nature, for example sand, rust articles etc. It is not
soluble in hydrocarbon oil."
Sludge -

"That element of material in a ship's cargo tank which is essentially not free
flowing. It consists of hydrocarbon waxes and may contain water/oil
emulsions and sediments"

The common description used for non-liquid and unpumpable residues in a cargo tank is
that of Sediment.

Reviewing the foregoing description it becomes clear that such a

description, in the majority of events, is not correct and inapplicable for the residues found on
the sounding rod. However, for someone reviewing the ROB report at a later time, and not
present for the survey, could construe that the depth of material left in the cargo tank was
inorganic material such as rust or sand.

Notwithstanding general impressions at the time of

an ROB survey, crude oil generally contains little or no substance such as sand, although on
some occasions it can be found in trace quantities.

Given the foregoing circumstance it could be understood therefore that the inorganic material
found on the tank bottom at the end of discharge, not associated with the crude oil cargo,
must have been present in the cargo tank prior to loading. If this material, as described as
sediment, caused an inability of the vessel to discharge some unreachable liquid (entrapped
by the sediment, as distinct from sludge which could have emanated from the cargo, in a
remote location in the cargo tank) then the vessel could be found liable for any resulting
cargo shortage.

Thus, from the foregoing, the description and terminology used on the

agreed ROB report is very important and should be precise.


The term Freight

Charter Party Freight (as distinct from Bill of Lading freight) is the monetary consideration
paid for the Charter of the vessel. Although, when a vessel is chartered generally she has to
make available the total cargo space to the Charterer, the total cargo space may not be used
by the Charterer. Thus, the reason for deadfreight terms within a Charter Party. Likewise

within a Charter Party there is generally a clause sometimes termed the Clean Seas Clause
which allows the Charterer to pay additional freight for the collected slops in a slop tank if
the Charterer wishes them transported to a discharge port for discharge to his orders.

As an aside it is questionable to the writer whether the payment of freight value alone for the
recovered volumes in the vessels slop tank could be considered adequate consideration
(payment) for the transfer of custody of the volume given the expenses incurred in the
volumes collection and the previous sums of money that may have been paid for the same
volumes by way of Freight Retention.

The Freight paid for by the Charterer to charter a vessel will depend upon the quantity of
cargo loaded as described on the cargos Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading cargo figure, in
turn, is said to represent the quantity of cargo delivered to the vessel by the shipper of the
cargo. As has been implied above in the definition for Cargo, the material already onboard
the vessel, whether it be slops or OBQ volume, does not constitute a part of the Bill of Lading
volume and therefore freight will not be paid for the volume unless the Clean Seas clause

Therefore, turning to the meaning or content of the Freight Retention Clause, freight can only
be deducted for a cargo volume remaining onboard and not for material existing onboard
prior to loading.

If the existing material onboard were to be included in the calculation for

freight retention then, not only would such an act be unequitable and not following the strict
meaning of the clause, but would expose the Owner to the retention of freight for volumes for
which compensation would have been paid pursuant to the freight retention clause in
previous Charter Parties i.e. a double or triple deduction for the same volumes.
Finally under this section it is worthwhile briefly discussing the legal principles behind the
concepts of Admixture and Comixture that, in turn, will emphasise the importance of
clear records being maintained for the OBQ and Slop measurement survey and its
quantification. In the case referring to "Ypatiania", the vessel had collected a significant volume
of slop within the vessel's slop tank. The vessel was chartered and cargo was loaded on top of
the defined and measured slop volume. At the discharge port the receivers required the vessel to
discharge total volumes on board the vessel but the Owners refused and retained on board a
volume equivalent to the originally measured slop volume. The High Court decided that such an
action was in order and that the original Bill of Lading cargo volume had been discharged.

Without discussing all the legal implications, the principles involved within the case were those
of distinguishing admixture of a cargo from co-mixture with a cargo.


The term Insurance

The term Insurance within this clause could relate to differing insurance policies. Taking
the most obvious first, namely, the main insurance policy for the cargo described and defined
within the Bill of Lading, then clearly, if a proportion of the cargo that is capable of discharge
has not been discharged then compensation for this expense could be sought for the lost
expense to the insured.

However, what happens when the Charterer pays the freight for the Slop volume and
therefore obtains an insurable interest in the volume and a proportion of this volume
remains onboard.

It is reasonable to believe that the original insurance policy for the Bill of

Lading cargo as purchased would not cover this additional volume.

Thus, which insurance

premium should be used in order to calculate the recoverable sum for the ROB volumes
remaining in the vessels slop tank particularly when load on top has been exercised by the
vessel upon authorisation from the Charterer.

In such a situation the unit value for the

diverse volumes would be different thereby attracting a differing rate of insurance premium.
An equitable remedy to such a situation would be the proportioning of the premium in
accordance with the proportions of the volumes in the slop tanks.


The term Independent Cargo Inspector or Surveyor

Reference to this term in the clause raises two issues with respect to the operation of the
clause, namely,

Arbitration decisions considering disputes relating to this clause have required that the
independent surveyor nominated to undertake the required survey for the assessment of the
nature of the material remaining in the cargo tanks and the subsequent volumetric calculation
must make the determination at the time of the survey. A statement on a subsequently
typewritten ROB report relating to the liquidity, pumpability or even possibly of reachability
would not be acceptable. Further, printed definitions on an ROB report as to the similarity
between a liquid determination and the concept of pumpability as well as similar statements

made by others the survey office manager will not be acceptable for the fulfilment of the
surveyors responsibilities as required by the clause.

In short, the assessment of the nature

and volume of ROB material relating to the cargo has to be established and recorded at the
time of the survey.

Independent what does this really mean in the context of the operation of this clause?


general terms it would imply that the surveyor used for this task is not in the direct employ of
either parties to the Charter Party contract. However, in this particular case it is believed that
the term goes beyond such a general meaning. For example, is the cargo inspector being used
as the custody transfer inspector under the requirements and terms of the Sale contract
sufficiently independent for the purposes of this Charter Party clause? In order to determine
the answer to this question it is necessary to look at each case individually together with the
commercial and corporate relationships between the contracting parties to both the Contract
of Sale and the Charter Party and the agents or servants used pursuant to requirements in
these Contracts.

Other issues arise with respect to the appointment of the Independent Inspector or Surveyor?
In certain of these types of clauses there is an allowance for each party to appoint their own
surveyor. What happens then if the two surveyors do not agree on their independent findings
at the time of the survey? Which surveyors report prevails? What happens when one party
fails to appoint a surveyor or the surveyor arrives after the ROB survey is completed? In the
event that the parties agree to a sole Surveyor and agree to pay the survey fees proportionally
does the non payment of fees by one party invalidate one of the strict requirements of the
clause and therefore the proposed deduction in the amount of freight due? The answers to all
these question would depend upon the facts in the issue but non payment of survey fees, it is
thought, would not allow the defaulting party to avoid the findings of a properly executed


The term Wedge Formula

By reference to the foregoing discussions the author has great difficulty in understanding why
a Charterer would require a vessel to undertake this type of measurement calculation when
such a calculation method implies a direct breach of the International Regulation (MARPOL)

This observation is particularly pertinent given the Charterers requirements in


an alternative clause that requires the vessel to comply with all the relevant International
Regulations throughout the period of the Charter.

By use of the Wedge Formula to calculate the final liquid volume in the cargo tank/s it
implies that the Charterer will accept the depth reported for the single sounding in each cargo
tank normally taken close to the aft bulkhead of the cargo tank. As discussed above, a
single sounding does not supply a reasonable indication of the extent and nature of residue
material left in a cargo tank.

Relying upon this one sounding in a cargo tank for such

purposes is similar to selecting one thousand people and selecting one of the persons as being
the person representing the average height of the original thousand chosen. Luck may allow
the surveyor to be correct for the volume reported but the probability is small.

The reference to the use of a wedge formula does not define which wedge formula for there
are probably as many as there are Cargo Inspectors. Some wedge formulas are derived from
first principles of geometry whereas others are developed from the original types of the
geometric wedge formulas for ease of calculation or computerisation. In this regard it should
be stressed that, although this ROB survey is probably one of the most important surveys to
be carried out for the efficient transportation of a crude oil cargo, the current culture and
procedures used for this survey are those of speed which implies potential inaccuracy. An
examination of a vessels time sheet bears witness to this fact.


The Geometric Form of the Wedge Formula

This form of the wedge formula assumes that the cargo tank is boxed shaped with no internal
deadwood or furniture (pipeline systems, heating coils etc) that would impact the accuracy of
the volume calculated from the sounding. Further the wedge formula calculation makes an
enormous assumption that any liquid found in a cargo tank is in the form of a regular wedge
shape with its base at the aft bulkhead of the cargo tank.
Clearly, such a series of assumptions can normally invalidate the absolute accuracy of the
calculation immediately given, amongst other issues, the shape of wing cargo tanks (the turn of
the bilge) and in particular those wing tanks at the fore and aft parts of the vessel No. 1 wing
tanks and slop tanks. However, this type of wedge calculation can be undertaken as follows (ref
appendix 1):


The Calculation Method for Geometric form of the Wedge Formula

Assumption:- Given the small angle involved with the trim of the vessel then the "Sine" of an
angle is the same as the "Tan" of the angle.
Therefore:Step 1 Correct the position of the sounding position with respect to the aft bulkhead of the tank
due to the trim of the vessel - distance = A
A = Tank Reference Height (Observed Height) x Tan X
Where X is the Trim angle of the vessel and,
Tan X = (Aft Draught - Forward Draught)/ Length Between Perpendiculars (L.B.P.) of
the vessel
Step 2 Determine the distance of the apex of the wedge from the aft bulkhead in order to
discover whether (1) should a wedge formula be used at all (N.B. a wedge formula is not
applicable if (a) the liquid surface covers the total tank floor or the calculated apex of the
wedge is at or beyond the forward bulkhead of the tank or (b) sludge R.O.B. volumes)
and (2) whether the wedge is a regular wedge (this can be checked by comparison with
alternative soundings)
Distance of the apex of the wedge from Sounding position is F
Observed Sounding is S
F = S Tan X
The Distance of the apex of the wedge to the aft bulkhead is E
Where E = (F - A) + B
and B is the distance on deck from the point of sounding to the aft bulkhead
Step 3 Determine the depth of the wedge at the aft bulkhead of the tank - D
D = E Tan X


Step 4 Knowing D (sounding depth at the aft bulkhead) and E (the distance from the aft
bulkhead to the apex of the wedge), then the area of the longitudinal cross section of the
wedge may be calculated. Thus:As the area of a triangle = (Base x Height) / 2 then;
(D x E) / 2 = cross sectional area of wedge
Step 5 Having obtained the cross sectional area of the wedge the volume of the wedge may be
calculated by multiplication by the breadth of the tank (N.B. The Breadth of the tank
should be measured at the bottom of the tank at the aft bulkhead position and not at deck
level or elsewhere within the tank)
Thus:Volume of Wedge = Cross sectional Area x Breadth of Tank
Throughout this calculation it is of importance that all distances are in meters. Do not therefore
use centimetres for the observed sounding.

I.S.O. 8697 Wedge Method

As an alternative to the foregoing method an I.S.O. standard method is also available. This
method depends upon the accuracy of the vessels tank calibration tables for the larger
ullages/smaller soundings in the cargo tank. If the tank calibration tables are accurate for this
region of the cargo tanks then this method will give added accuracy to the general method of
calculating tank residues after discharge. The method is as follows:Step 1 Calculate DA, the Corrected liquid sounding at the aft bulkhead position:

DA = D + [f(Y - Hf)]
Where: D is the observed liquid sounding
f is the Trim factor (Ts/Ls)
Ts is the vessel's trim
Y is the distance of the sounding point to the aft bulkhead
H is the reference height of the Tank
Ls is the vessel's Length Between Perpendiculars

Step 2 Calculate Ct , the Tank Constant:

Ct = Ls/(2 x Ts x Lt )
Where: Lt is the Length of the Tank
Step 3 Calculate the "k" coefficient:
k = DA x Ct
If k > 0.5 there is no wedge
If k 0.5 there is a wedge
Step 4 If k > 0.5; calculate the volume of the liquid contained in the tank from the tank
calibration tables using the Observed sounding, D, applying the trim corrections.
Step 5 If k 0.5; calculate DX, the wedge sounding:
DX = DA/2
Step 6 Enter the tank calibration tables with DX, without applying trim corrections to obtain the
equivalent volume VO.
Step 7 Calculate the liquid wedge volume, V1 ;
V1 = VO x 2 x k

The alternative Residue Calculation

If the procedures as specified in the COW manual are followed for the determination of the
Dryness of a cargo tank, namely, the sounding of the residues in four differing locations
within the cargo tank, then the foregoing methods of calculation can be avoided.

Such a

method will provide a clearer indication as to the type and nature of the residues on the tank
floor as well as provide clearer indications as to the profile of the residues within the cargo

Assuming the shape of the individual cargo tanks is fairly regular/constant in a fore and aft
direction and, notwithstanding the fact that the vessel will be significantly trimmed by the
stern, then the four measurements, as suggested in the COW Manual guidelines, as obtained

by sounding can be used to calculate an average sounding so as to obtain a single sounding.

The single average sounding can be used directly to obtain an equivalent volume from the
vessels tank calibration tables.



Although in the recent years the number of occasions that this clause has impacted the
payment of the full freight due on completion of the voyage are few.

However, with the

current increased value of Crude Oil it is thought that potentially the number of such issues
could rise.

Notwithstanding the foregoing and given the guidelines supplied above for both the
respective operational and survey parameters, a vessels freight account should not be
impacted by this clause if diligent operations for a discharge of cargo are observed. It is, of
course, accepted that a crude oil cargo can exhibit inherent vices (sludging) which could
impact such operations but with the use of more searching survey procedures (obtaining a
more relevant profile of residues than currently undertaken) for this important survey the
vices of the cargo should become irrelevant for the interpretation of this clause and its
defining parameters.

The foregoing discussion will hopefully supply the necessary scope of information to
Vessel/Charterers Operations as well as Independent Surveyors as to the defining parameters
involved within the general types of Freight Retention Clauses so that disputes concerning
the operation of this clause can be avoided.


Appendix 1