Upon Ship Departure: The liaison with the ship will continue throughout the ship’s stay at whatever frequency the circumstances require and a careful note of the progress of loading/discharging will be kept in the agent’s office. Such notes will particularly record any stoppages due to bad weather, machinery faults, strikes etc. When the loading/discharging is finished the agent will be in a position to complete a SOF (Statement of Facts). Ideally, if time permits, the agent should get the Captain to check his own log against the statement of facts and add his signature to the latter. The signature of the loading/discharging terminal manager should also be sought and the statement should be sent to the owner without delay. It is upon this statement of facts that a claim for demurrage (or despatch) will be based; it is not for the agent to debate the legal niceties as to whether demurrage is due or despatch earned but simply to ensure that the facts are 100% accurate. Obviously, in good time to coincide with the ship being ready to cast off, boatmen, tugs and pilots need to be called up and when the ship sails the owners and the agents at the next port of call have to be notified.
After Ship Departure: The job now is to gather together the invoices or other vouchers for all the expenditure made on the ship’s behalf; then when they are all to hand a disbursement account is produced. A voucher for every item of expenditure will accompany the account. There will be a balance in favor either of the owner or the agent. In the former case, the balance should be sent back to the owner without delay whilst an agent should lose no time in seeking any balance due to him.