Ship Agent Port Operations
In some circumstances, the port agent may be funded and left entirely to operate as planned while giving periodic progress reports to the shipowner. There is a significant risk that a port agent may come to see himself as a disponent owner. Furthermore, this situation affects other parties with whom the port agent contracts to believe that the port agent is the shipowner. Therefore, the port agent should not refer to “our ship”, or “on our account” when ordering goods or services. Otherwise, the third party may believe that the ship does indeed belong to the port agent and the port agent is, therefore, the shipowner. To act as a shipowner incurs legal liabilities. The port agent must always act to protect and support the best interests of the principals. The port agent must fulfill the instructions efficiently and take care of the requirements effectively to the best commercial benefit.
The legal agency relationship arises when one person (agent) is authorized or considered by law as authorized, to represent another person (principal) in such a way as to be able to affect the principal’s legal position. Instructions are received from the principal and the agent put the instructions into effect in line with the ship’s requirements. Ship agent should not assume or act in any manner outside the particular instructions which have been given by the principal. Nevertheless, that is not to say that the ship agent should blindly follow instructions that are blatantly wrong or could be harmful to the voyage. The Ship Agent must advise the principal of conditions and procedures that may affect the port call of the ship. The Ship Agent must advise the most reliable ways of handling a ship call for the overall advantage of the principal.
The Ship Agent must willingly inform the price quotations for port services, cargo-handling costs, and berth and river data, all of which the principal can use to estimate a port call and to quote for a business opportunity. Port Information is part of the service that the Ship Agent contributes to the principal. The first duty that a Ship Agent undertakes is planning which services a ship will need and securing the essential arrangements.
- The Ship Agent must obtain the agency business. The Ship Agent must quote any terms and conditions under which the Ship Agent operates before the appointment is confirmed. In the case of a later conflict, the Ship Agent may not be able to rely on the company’s normal operating terms if they were not agreed upon in advance
- The Ship Agent must arrange for funding. If there is legitimate doubt about funding or creditworthiness, the Ship Agent should not accept the agency business
- The Ship Agent must keep tight control on expenses on both the principal’s behalf and for the agent’s protection because to detain or arrest a ship can be expensive
- The Ship Agent should treat the principal’s business with the same care as if the business was the agent’s business. The Ship Agent must never work without the Ostensible Authority which the Shipowner conveys on the Ship Agent.
Ship Agent Port Operations:
- Ship’s Company
The Ship Agent arranges the place of cargo handling where the cargo will be loaded and discharged. Charter Parties may stipulate specific berths, ports, or a range of ports like ARAG (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp-Gent). Charterers may have the right to nominate the cargo handling place, but this is not always the case. The Ship Agent should suggest cheaper berth alternatives to the Principals. Sometimes, a dilemma arises when there is no stipulation in the Charter Party for work at more than one berth, but where there are two or more cargo interests each insisting that loading or discharging operations should take place at their selection of berths. When the place for the operation has been selected, arrangements have to be confirmed with the numerous parties such as Port Authority, Terminal Operator who are involved in warranting the ship arrives and departs promptly and safely. Various arrangements need to be made depending upon where the cargo is to be handled. Cargo handling may be via barge or offshore pipeline rather than alongside a berthing facility. The Ship Agent must control the place of cargo handling. Therefore, the Ship Agent, Port Authority, and Terminal Operator need the exact description of the cargo such as cargo type, quantity, dimensions, hazardous cargo, etc. with the name, flag, and details of the ship. When the place of cargo handling has been agreed upon by all concerned parties, the Ship Agent’s primary duty is to keep cargo handling place advised regularly with the ship’s ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival).
In some cases, Principals ask the Ship Agent to get competitive rates for the work from several stevedores, riggers, heavy-lift operators. The choice on which stevedore company to use is based upon:
- Stevedore Company’s ability to manage the type of cargo
- Stevedore Company has specialized equipment and expertise to handle the cargo
- Stevedore Company has adequate labor to meet the ship’s cargo handling schedule
- Stevedore Company’s costs
- Stevedore Company’s quality accreditation
- Stevedore Company’s health and safety certificates
When discharging a ship, the Ship Agent provides the Stevedore Company with Cargo Manifest and Stowage Plan. Cargo Manifest and Stowage Plan help the Stevedore Company in planning the number of labor (gangs) and the operations. For example, the ship could be working all hatches concurrently and require labor accordingly for a multi-hatch ship. When loading a ship, the Stevedore Company needs to know the sizes of hatch covers and capacities of holds. The Ship Capacity Plan enables the Stevedore Company to handle the loading programme with the ship’s command. Ship Master has the final word as to how much is to be loaded into each hold. Cargo removal operations may fall within the Terminal Operator’s responsibility or a third party, according to the custom and practice of the port.
The Ship Agent must inform the Principals about the normal working hours and overtime options. The Ship Agent can obtain this information from the Stevedoring Company or Terminal Operator. The Stevedore Company may also be able to undertake Rigging Operations such as cargo lashing and securing. However, cargo lashing and securing may be performed by the ship’s crew members or a third-party company. When the Stevedore Company has been appointed and the operation is started, the Ship Agent liaises with the ship and the stevedores to ensure that the lashing is done to the Ship Master’s satisfaction. The Ship Agent keeps track of how fast the lashing and securing work is proceeding so that the ship is not delayed too long after the completion of cargo loading. Cargo lashing and securing is a specialist task. The cargo lashing and securing company requires authorization and supervision from the Ship Master or Superintendent concerning the type of material to be used. Ships are obliged to carry a cargo-securing manual. Cargo lashing and securing must be done per specific instructions included in the cargo-securing manual. Cargo Handling Operations encompass any lightening of cargo between ship and shore.
Generally, haulage and distribution are the duty of the Freight Forwarder. However, port agents usually give forwarding services such as the timber trades, where a port agent may offer haulage, storage, stock control, pick and pack, customs clearance, fumigation, and timber handling as extra services to the core agency services. When the cargo handlers and haulers are nominated, the Port Agent informs these companies about the ship’s ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival).
Every nation applies taxes and restrictions in sort of import and export controls. A country’s Import Control could be an Ad Valorem Duty (Value-Based Duty) to protect domestic production. On the other hand, a country’s Export Control could be an Export Licence for the sale of security-rated high-technology goods or scarce minerals. Clearing the cargo and paying the tax is a Forwarding Agent’s duty. The Ship Agent’s duty on behalf of the master incorporates the presentation of import and export Cargo Manifests to the Customs Authorities. Not every limitation on cargoes is the concern of Customs Authorities. Some countries have regulations aimed to stop the damage or disease of crops and livestock. The Ship Agent may have to report the transportation of cargoes likely to contain contaminating pests or diseases to appropriate Agricultural or National Authorities. Special Certificates may be obliged to be attached to such cargoes confirming that they are free from contaminants. Furthermore, special arrangements are needed for livestock.
Cargo shippers or receivers may have invested funds into the berth resulting in its sole utilization of the berth, in which case it will probably be known as a Terminal Operator. The shipper requiring to transfer its cargo by railway may wish to know the Safe Working Load (SWL) and radius of the ship’s cranes to ensure that they can reach the railway tracks. In tanker terminals, the Terminal Operator is interested in quantities, capacities, ranking of cargo operations, and, if loading, such items as tank cleaning and ballast or slop quantities to be discharged ashore before loading. In every situation, information on ships and positions is important for a fully integrated and coordinated cargo operation.
The shipowner is fully liable for ensuring that no illegal immigration from the ship arises. Furthermore, the Ship Agent can be held financially liable by the Immigration Authority for people who arrive illegally on a ship. If any illegal people come ashore, the Ship Agent should liaise closely with the Ship’s Master. The Ship Agent should make certain that guarantees are collected from the shipowner to avoid the cost falling on the agent in the future. Usually, the shipowner’s P&I Club (Protection and Indemnity Club) provides the necessary guarantees. Prudent Ship Operators have procedures to prevent unauthorized people from boarding and to search for stowaways before departing the port. Beyond the aforementioned, the Port Authorities cannot do much more to stop stowaways from entering the harbor. Illegal immigrants and refugees are a critical problem for ships and ship agents alike. If a ship arrives with stowaways or rescued people at sea, the immigration officers may levy penalties on the ship. Almost all countries hold the ship agent equally liable with the shipowner. If the shipowner does not pay the penalties for illegal immigrants, authorities pursue the ship agent. Furthermore, smuggling and drug trafficking have similar regulations and penalties.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, the ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) was introduced. ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) is a set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities. The ship agents have to keep themselves fully up to date about the ISPS Code. The ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) involves ships and ports working both individually and together to ensure security. Each port has to have its tailored security systems which affect ships. The Ship agents must explain the tailored security systems to the shipowners. This is especially critical if security passes are obligated to allow crew members to leave the ships and pass through port gates. Additionally, the ship agents are subject to the security systems in their ports.
Ship Reporting and Ship Clearing
Getting official permission for the ship to enter the port and then to sail after completion of cargo operations is commonly called Ship Reporting and Ship Clearing. This procedure incorporates various official bodies:
- Port Health
- Safety Agency
The precise procedures may differ between ports and nations. However, generally, the Ship Agent has to verify the specifications of the ship by presenting Ship Registration Certificate and Tonnage Certificate.
The IMO (International Maritime Organization) introduced standard documents under the Convention on Facilitation of International Marine Traffic (FAL Convention) in other words the IMO FAL Forms for the report and clearance of ships. IMO FAL Forms involve:
- General Declaration
- Store Declaration
- Crew Effects Declaration
- Crew Member List
- Passenger List
Furthermore, there is a Cargo Declaration Standard Form. Many nations have favored using their documents for this purpose. Most ports need to check that the Ship’s Safety Documents are valid. Crew Member List and Passenger List may be required to be placed or approved by the authorities for immigration purposes. Some maritime nations ask some foreign nationals to have visas which are required to be prepared at consular offices in a previous port. The ship is granted permission to enter, load, or discharge, and leave the port when all the documents have been approved. IMO (International Maritime Organization) has made a remarkable attempt to standardize all forms and declarations with the IMO FAL Forms. The loading or discharge port must be physically suitable to the ship.
Generally, port entry permission is most unlikely to be rejected without a valid reason, however, there might be reasons such as:
- Ship Dimensions
- Dangerous Cargo
- Political Conflicts
When permission is given, it is the Port Agent’s responsibility to advise the Port Authority of a ship’s planned arrival and to ensure that the Harbor Master under the Port Authority’s control is informed of the ship’s ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) and agrees the ship’s Berthing Arrangements. Harbor Master can advise whether tidal movements are anticipated to cause draught limitations, enabling discussion with the appropriate Berth Operators on prospects for the ship’s arrival. Port Agent must advise the Harbor Master and the Port Authority about the ship’s ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) so that agreed berthing arrangements can be regularly updated.
Usually, Port Authorities levy charges per a published tariff, however, steadily ascending global competition among ports is boosting flexibility, with an accelerating trend towards a package consolidating harbor dues and cargo-handling fees. Combined port charging may conflict with the charter party terms. If the cargo is carried under FIO (Free In Out) conditions, the shipper or receiver may perceive that for them to absorb all the harbor dues is unfair. Therefore, the shipper or receiver practically tries to allocate some part of the cost to the shipowner. The Port Agent should assure that any division of the costs is equitable and the shipowner is not being requested to contribute an unreasonable proportion of the costs.
The Port Agent must fully inform the Harbor Authority about the specifications of the ship. There are several ships of a similar name, and confirmation that the ship can safely enter the port and move to the berth can only be given after ascertaining that its LOA (Length Over All), Draught, Air Draught, and Beam enable the Harbor Authority to accept the ship.
There might be limitations on ship movements when transporting Dangerous Cargoes or for certain traffic, other enforced requirements for passage within a river. Usually, these restrictions are defined by the Harbor Master. Port Agent is fully responsible to be aware of these restrictions and put them into operation, which may comprise appropriate instructions to pilots and tugs. In tanker port operations, the Port Authority is interested not just in overall ship dimensions but also in specifications about the manifold and hose connections. In Ro-Ro ship port operations, specifications such as ramp hinge angles and the mean distance from the waterline to the top of the quay wall are of essential importance to ship and shore, as is the position of the ramp. In cruise ship port operations, Port Agent must inform exact specifications of the lengths of gangways available, and liaison will take place pre-arrival about which deck the gangways will be arranged on to permit passengers to arrive and depart carefully.
Bunkering: usually, bunkers are provided by international oil companies. But, in some ports, independent bunker contractors arrange purchases from the refiners and offer the bunkers at competitive rates. Regularly, Port Agents are asked to arrange the supply of bunkers. Usually, the ship bunkering instructions come from the Shipowner or Ship Manager. These ship bunkering instructions incorporate the name of the Bunker Supplier. Infrequently, the Port Agent is commanded to inquire about competitive bunker prices. In this case, the Port Agent asks the type of bunkers required. There are standard specifications for bunker fuels. If the Port Agent is given a specific description of the bunker, the Port Agent should not expect that an alternative recommended by the Bunker Supplier will be acceptable. When an alternative bunker is submitted, the Port Agent should check with the Shipowner or Ship Manager before approving the Bunker Order. The Bunker Quantity to be supplied will dictate the organization of delivery. Usually, the small amounts of the bunker is be delivered directly alongside the ship by road tanker. However, the larger amounts of the bunker is delivered by bunker barge. The Port Agent should assure that the bunker delivery suits the cargo operations. Furthermore, the bunker delivery is by the port’s rules and regulations. In some ports, bunker barge is not allowed alongside a ship moored during cargo operations for risk of combustion or explosion. Therefore, the bunker delivery may have to be organized either before the commencement of cargo operations or upon completion of cargo operations. In dry bulk carriers, the bunker delivery to the quayside by a road tanker may suspend cargo operations or pose a danger of tainting sensitive cargoes, so the bunker delivery should be arranged with a non-working time. The ship must be kept thoroughly informed for bunker delivery arrangements so that seafarers are prepared to handle bunker hoses. The Ship Master should be advised when a bunker instruction has been received from the Shipowner or Ship Manager to assure that the bunker quantities to be delivered match with the ship’s capacity. Some maritime nations require ships to limit the output of specific pollutants. The ship must burn low-sulphur bunkers in these ports. Port Agent should advise the Shipowner or Ship Manager of any such restrictions in the port.
Pilotage: numerous ports have made pilotage compulsory due to security, preserving environmentally sensitive regions, and ship traffic control. Some ports offer a pilotage service but have kept pilotage optional, and other ports again make pilotage compulsory only for specific cargoes and ship types and sizes. The pilot’s scope of duties is wide, from deepsea pilots, river pilots, to dock pilots. Pilots are never responsible for their actions but only act in an advisory role to the shipmaster. Large ships always employ a pilot irrespective of the optional or compulsory type of pilotage. However, a coaster size shipmaster may wish to pilot the ship if laws allow. In some ports, shipmasters who call regularly may obtain a license to pilot the ship. Port Agent must be fully aware of such matters. Port Agent should also check that the holder of the pilot license is really on board, as ships change crews regularly and the new shipmaster may not have the appropriate license. Port Agent must support and protect the shipmaster’s requirements. The Shipowner or Ship Manager may ask the Port Agent to arrange pilotage exemption examinations for their ships that call frequently at the same port. Port Agent may also have to keep a copy of Pilotage Exemption Certificates in the office. In some instances, the Ship Pilot may also affect the decision about whether the ship should hire tugs. However, first, the Port Agent should check with the shipmaster before arrival and examine this with the Ship Pilot’s report about tug requirements. The Ship Pilot may recommend the number and power of tugs to be employed with the size of the ship and the challenge in navigating and berthing. If a conflict between the Ship Pilot’s recommendations and the Ship Manager’s preferences arises, the Port Agent may be able to request a verdict from the Port Authority to resolve the conflict.
Towage: employment of tugs may cost as much as harbor dues in the shipowner’s Disbursement Account (DA). Modern ships are now outfitted with bow and stern thrusters that enable the modern ships to minimize the number of tugs needed. At a port where tugs are commissioned, there are rules about the ordering and cancellation of the tug service. Furthermore, there are advantageous rates to shipowners who enter into contractual agreements with the towage company. If a ship requires tug service, this should be ordered per the local rules. Furthermore, the tug company should be informed of the ship’s ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) and the instructions for berthing. Commonly, the number and power of tugs required will be recommended by either the Harbor Master or the Ship Pilot in consultation with the Ship Master. Normally, the tug company is not left to decide the strength of tug attendance required. It is vital to confirm in advance whether the ship or the tugs are to provide the towing bridle.
Linesmen and Boatmen: Linesmen quickly catch, fast, and release the lines from bollards or rings on the quay. In the port operations of large ships, the berthing operation is supported by the lines being passed to a boat that carries the lines to the linesmen on the quay. Boatmen are used for making a ship fast to buoys, pontoons, or mooring points that cannot be directly reached from the shore. Usually, the linesmen and boatmen are employed by the same company. In the old days, a ship’s mooring line was received by whoever appeared onshore or crew members either rowed ashore. Today, port health and safety regulations are continuously making the use of authorized linesmen compulsory. Linesmen and Boatmen require updated information on ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). Linesmen and Boatmen attend by the Port Agent’s instructions at the first line-handling location at the time of the ship’s arrival and undertake their tasks by the Ship Master’s and Pilot’s instructions. The number of Linesmen and Boatmen to be hired will be determined by the size of the ship, the number of lines to be conducted ashore and the workers required to handle the size of the mooring ropes. Customarily, the judgment about the number of Linesmen and Boatmen to be hired is left to the Linesmen Company but in some ports is subject to local negotiation. Usually, the Linesmen Company transport personnel to and from the ship if it is anchored or moored away from the shore. It is common for the Port Agency company to have its motorboat.
Fendermen: give a service that is frequently used only by larger ships passing into and through confined areas where banks are not guarded by fixed or floating fenders. Fendermen service is almost always optional and may be requested by a Ship Master to shield the ship’s shell plating when seafarers are otherwise engaged.
Miscellaneous Services: there are various other requirements of a ship. The ship may require to replenish and make good at the end of a voyage and to prepare for the next employment. For instance, the ship may ask for a service or repair. Certain additional services may be categorized under the general heading of care, maintenance, and replacement. The Port Agent should keep contacts for all the services a ship may ask.
3- Ship’s Company
The party who attends to the domestic requirements of a ship is referred to as the Ship’s Husband. If the Port Agent can immediately establish a bond of mutual trust and respect with the Ship Master then the port operation can be completed efficiently and in a pleasant and friendly way. The Port Agent should get suppliers’ invoices endorsed with the Ship Master’s signature and the ship’s stamp, before the ship’s departure. However, this is not always possible. The Ship Master’s endorsements perform the dual role of providing an order for the service and authority for the Port Agent to pay the invoice on behalf of the Shipowner or Ship Manager. The Port Agent must keep an exact record of the services given to the ship. So that the Shipowner’s and Time Charterer’s expenses are accurately documented. Some of the major requirements of a ship’s company:
Stores: Many Shipowners or Ship Managers have agreements with Ship Chandlers for the supply of provisions and stores. Therefore, the Port Agent passes the Ship Master’s orders to the nominated Ship Chandler. If there is a large amount of storage operation, the Ship Chandler should be given precise instructions, so that the delivery does not prevent cargo operations. Bonded Stores, such as alcohol and cigarettes, require the permission of the Customs Authority to load on board. Bonded Stores should be classified and the Port Agent should assure that the Bonded Stores Supplying Company makes arrangements for precise delivery. If the selection of a Ship Chandler is left to the Port Agent, an account should be taken as to whether the orders meet the qualifications and at a price acceptable to the Shipowner or Ship Manager. Furthermore, the store orders must have the approval of the Ship Master or in the case of engine-room stores, the Chief Engineer.
Cash to Master (CTM): considerably large sums of money may be needed for crew wages and to enable the Ship Master to pay some of the local suppliers’ invoices. The Port Agent has to be cautious where cash is involved. Upon receiving a demand for a Cash to Master (CTM) from the Ship Master, the Port Agent should ask written authority from the Shipowner or Ship Manager. The Port Agent should not tender the Cash to Master (CTM) until the permission and funds have been received. Cash to Master (CTM) should be delivered only to the Ship Master or Superintendent in return for a signed, dated receipt. The Ship Master may return the remaining cash to the Port Agent. In this case, a receipt must be delivered to the Ship Master and an identical credit recorded in the port Disbursement Account (DA). When carrying substantial sums of cash to the ship, the Port Agent should employ a security company. Extraordinary care must be exercised in managing returned cash. Port Agents may also have provisions placed upon them by the insurance companies that specify that extra representatives need to be present when Cash to Master (CTM) is delivered to the Ship Master.
Freshwater: uncontaminated freshwater is vital for both drinking and washing purposes onboard. The Port Health Inspector takes a sample of the delivered freshwater. The Port Health Authorities have the authority to order the draining of drinking water tanks, lime-washed, and sanitized. Freshwater may be provided from a dock hydrant, by road transport or barge, with the price based upon quantity, transportation method, and timing. Modern ships have their water-makers on board, however, modern ships take on freshwater to use for crew members’ consumption.
Medical-Dental: Ports usually have approved doctors, dentists, and pharmacists who specialize in meeting crew members’ regular requirements. Furthermore, clinics and hospitals can give specialist treatment. The Port Agent should know where and how to arrange out-of-hours treatment in clinics and hospitals. Customarily, Shipowners are covered for crew members’ medical treatment by their P&I Club (Protection and Indemnity Club), which requests separate bills and medical reports incorporating all aspects of the treatment, including transportation. Normally, Medical-Dental bills are included in the port Disbursement Account (DA). Later on, the Shipowner collects compensation from the P&I Club (Protection and Indemnity Club). A crew member should be able to express the symptoms precisely to the doctor or dentist. Therefore, the Port Agent arranges a translator. If the crew member is hospitalized, the Port Agent should keep constant contact with the crew member in the hospital and assure that the crew member’s requirements are met in line with the Shipowner’s or Ship Manager’s instructions. The Port Agent should send frequent reports to the Shipowner or Ship Manager. A crew member who rests in hospital after the ship sails must have in their possession a passport, seaman’s book, and personal belongings so that the crew member can be repatriated on release. The Port Agent should learn the religion of the crew member if they need religious support, or in the case of death, to ensure that peculiar organizations are made. Some maritime nations apply strict regulations for the movement of a deceased person and funeral arrangements.
Mail: modern ships have an internet connection and mailing will become obsolete soon. However, not all crew members possess a telephone, and seldom a letter is a sailor’s only link with home. The Port Agent must deliver mail on board immediately and quickly despatch all outgoing mail. The Port Agent must keep the mails received after the ship’s departure and redirect them. It is considered a crime against the maritime community not to accord crew mails its justified importance.
Crew Repatriation: it is extremely important to obtain Immigration and Customs Authorities’ permission before any crew permanently departs the ship. The Port Agent asks the permission of Immigration and Customs Authorities for repatriating crew members who are about to leave the ship. Failure to comply with Immigration and Customs Authorities’ regulations may result in penalties and other charges to the Port Agent. Furthermore, these penalties and charges may not be recoverable from the insurance. The Immigration and Customs Authorities should also be presented with full information on incoming crew members planning to embark on the ship. Embarkation and Disembarkation of a ship’s crew is a routine duty of the Port Agent. This duty involves the arrangements for travel per the Ship Master’s instructions and is in line with the Shipowner’s or Ship Manager’s practices about cost relative to the type of journey and mode of transportation. The Port Agent should check the airline discounts and present the required documentation. The Port Agent should give the full travel itineraries to the crew member. In some maritime nations, visas are required for any crew arriving to embark on a ship. These visas can be arranged at the place of entry into the country. Some nations require the embarking crew member to apply for a visa at the consulate before departing their home country. The Port Agent must ensure that the Shipowner is informed of any visa requirements before dispatching the crew member to embark on the ship.
Desertion: sometimes crew members desert a ship and are left behind after sailing. In numerous maritime nations, the Port Agent is held ultimately responsible for the crew member’s repatriation when they are found. The Port Agent should ensure that before the ship sails, any passport or seaman’s book left on board the ship is removed and presented to the local Immigration and Customs Authorities and that the Shipowner or Ship Manager is notified immediately. If the deserter is found, the police, Immigration and Customs Authorities will look to the Port Agent to cover all the costs associated. To cover these charges, the Port Agents need to ensure that they receive funds or a guarantee from the Shipowner’s P&I Club (Protection and Indemnity Club) well in advance. Fortunately, the aforementioned risk is insurable.