International Code of Oenological Practices

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III.6.1 Loading and unloading

6.1.1 Preparation of the wine for shipment

The wine to be transferred to tanks for transport shall conform to the specifications of the purchaser and to the legislation in the destination country concerning organoleptic and physico-chemical properties.  The microbiological quality of the wine shall be defined by agreement between the Purchaser and the Supplier.  In effect, the wine must remain of merchantable quality throughout its journey.

The correct pre-treatment, such as filtration, addition of preservatives, is the responsibility of the Supplier in agreement with the Purchaser and is normally carried out under the immediate control of the Supplier.

It is the responsibility of the Supplier and/or the Purchaser to ensure that any treatments, additions of preservatives, etc., do not infringe regulations of the country importing the wine.

It is the responsibility of those supervising the loading of tankcontainers to satisfy themselves that the overall condition of the tankcontainer reaches an acceptable standard for the transport of its cargo. If the tankcontainer is presented in a contaminated, dirty or otherwise unserviceable condition contrary to the terms on which it is hired, then the Supplier may refuse to load it. If he/she chooses to load, it is done at the Supplier’s responsibility.  If not, it is the responsibility of the Freight Forwarder to arrange effective cleaning and sanitisation of the defective tankcontainer or to provide a satisfactory alternative tankcontainer.

6.1.2 Readiness of tanks and containers for loading or unloading Ships' tanks

The vessel shall not be considered ready for loading or unloading until it has been inspected and it is confirmed that all equipment such as tanks, pumps, manifolds, hoses, fittings, are in a condition of Acceptable Cleanliness.

If the accredited surveyor / Agent at the point of loading or unloading is not satisfied with the condition of the equipment to be used, the vessel shall not be deemed ready for loading / unloading until the necessary steps have been taken by the Ship's Master / Chief Officer to bring the condition of the equipment involved up to the required standard.

The Purchaser or his accredited surveyor / Agent should undertake to carry out the inspection of the vessel and equipment as soon as possible after notification by the Ship's Master / Chief Officer that the vessel is deemed ready for loading or unloading subject only to local working practices. Tankcontainers, roadtankers and flexible containers

The unit shall not be considered ready for loading until it has been inspected and it is confirmed that all fittings (i.e. valves, man lids etc.) are in a condition of Acceptable Cleanliness.

If the Supplier at the point of loading is not satisfied with the cleanliness of the unit he/she should reject it and instruct the tank(er) operator to re-present it once it has been brought up to the required standard.

The Supplier and tank(er) operator should ensure that the tank/tanker is labelled in accordance with the regulations relevant to the journey it is to undertake.

6.1.3 Loading procedures

In order to reduce the risk of oxidation, tanks should normally be fully filled from the bottom via the outlet valve. This is particularly important when loading tankcontainers and roadtankers with wine.

If tanks have to be filled from the top through the manway door (which should be avoided whenever possible), it is the responsibility of the Supplier, Freight Forwarder or Ship's Master/Chief Officer to ensure that every care is taken during loading to prevent undue aeration and turbulence by use of a standpipe reaching to the bottom of the tank.

It is essential to ensure that tankcontainers and roadtankers are positioned on a level surface prior to loading.

After each tank has been loaded and adequate time has elapsed to allow the wine to settle, the absence of air pockets and the level of filling should be verified from the man-hole and the

temperature of the wine taken. This information should be recorded on an ullage/temperature report.

Tanks should be closed and sealed to prevent airborne contamination. Where appropriate, tamper-evident seals may be used.

6.1.4 Unloading procedures Ships' tanks

It is strongly recommended that the Purchaser or the Purchaser's Agent be present at the time of arrival of the ship for discharge. The Purchaser or the Purchaser's Agent should be satisfied that the tank has remained hermetically sealed during shipment and that the quality and characteristics of the wine and the cleanliness of the ancillary equipment to be used for discharge are of the required standard, as per the contract.

The programme and order of discharge of the wine should be mutually agreed in writing between the Ship's Master/Chief Officer and the Purchaser's Agent or his Representative. Following acceptance of the programme, the Ship's Master/Chief Officer should sign the programme, retaining one copy for himself/herself and returning one copy to the Purchaser or his Agent.

No deviation from this agreed discharge programme is permitted without consultation with the Purchaser's receiving Agent or Warehouseman. In this event, discharge should cease completely prior to the consultation with the Purchaser/Agent/ Warehouseman without prejudice to demurrage charges.

Any deviation from the agreed discharge programme made without consultation with the Purchaser/Agent/Warehouseman which subsequently is found to be the cause of delays in discharge, cargo mixing, contamination or any other problem, is the sole responsibility of the Ship's Master. In this event, a letter of protest should be drawn up immediately by the Purchaser's accredited Agent. In the presence of the Ship Owners' Agent, the letter should be given to and acknowledged in writing by the Ship's Master/Chief Officer. Copies should be retained by the Purchaser's Agent and despatched to the interested parties. This procedure should also be adopted in the event of any defect in the wine.

Where wines of different characteristics are to be discharged using the same pump, manifold or hose system, the Purchaser may require these to be cleaned between wines to avoid contamination.  This is indispensable if wines of different colours are unloaded successively.

Any claim, of whatever nature regarding the wine, must be reported immediately in writing to the interested parties.

Ship's crews should be made fully aware that mishandling of the wine can cause serious or irrevocable damage to the quality and type of the wine. Tankcontainers, roadtankers and flexible containers

Prior to unloading, the Purchaser should satisfy himself/herself that any tamper-evident tank seals are intact and that their numbers correspond with those shown on the accompanying documentation. He/She should also check that the tank fittings are in sound condition.

Where appropriate, the Purchaser should check that the headspace (ullage) does not exceed the specified volume and that the inert gas pressure (if applicable) is within specification.

The Purchaser should check that the wine is of the nature, substance and quality expected prior to discharge.

Pumps, pipelines, receipt tanks, etc., must all be confirmed as being in a state of Acceptable Cleanliness, adapted to suit the Purchaser and permitting unloading to occur.