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Shipping line punished for lying about draught

22 January 2014
The Three Gorges Administration of Navigational Affairs has handed its biggest punishment so far to Chongqing Qiaotai Shipping: a suspension of the company’s application for passing the shiplocks in the Three Gorges and Gezhouba dams.

‘Qiaotain 16’, a vessel owned by the company, was carrying 3,800 tons of sand and gravel upstream from Zhijiang, Yichang to Chongqing when maritime safety authorities found that the vessel was taking an unusual route in the approach channel of the Gezhouba Dam. Officials were dispatched to carry out an onsite inspection. It turned out that the draught was stated as 3 metres on its departure permit and 2.8 metres on its application for passing the shiplocks, while in reality it was 4.2 metres.

Officials believe that, had they not intercepted the vessel, it would have become stranded, causing severe delays in the area and exacerbating the already difficult shipping conditions in the dry season. Currently, shiplocks in Gezhouba are operated according to vessel size. Large vessels such as ‘Qiaotai’ with a draught of up to 4.3 metres are meant to go via No.1 shiplock, where a number of vessels have been queuing. If the Qiaotai had given correct information about its draught, it would have meant a one-day delay passing the shiplock, according to officials from the Three Gorges Dam Administration.

Chongqing Port Authorities have been authorised to make sure that the shipping company complies with the necessary changes before the suspension is lifted.

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