This article explains what is boat note and where it is used. In some ports of the world, all the ships that arrive from high seas cannot berth alongside due to certain restrictions (such as draft restrictions etc) or the port itself can be an anchorage port (i.e it does not have any berth/jetty/pier). Another case could be that the vessel on arrival to a port doesn’t get any berth and is required to work cargo at anchorage. In all situations, the Cargo is mostly worked using boats (barges to be specific)
Above document is from Navlakhi Anchorage port in Gujarat.
Frankly speaking, I have seen these being signed in Indian Ports only. I have not come across this document anywhere else in the world.
The Indian Custom Act states that no goods (that are imported) be water borne from a vessel, unless a Boat Note is issued for the same. This is applicable in case when a Vessel is discharging cargo to barges (i.e. import of cargo to mainland is happening).
In case of export of cargo, which means loading of a vessel through barges, something called as a Shipping Bill is required.
Key features of a Boat Note are –
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