According to BIMCO, a BARGHIRE is defined as a bareboat charter party specifically designed for unmanned, non-self-propelled seagoing barges. It is a lease agreement whereby the charterer obtains possession and full control of the barge along with the legal and financial responsibility for it. The charterer generally pays for operating expenses such as maintenance and repairs but, unlike bareboat chartered ships, barges are often chartered with owner’s insurances made available to the charterer. Copyright in BARGEHIRE 2008 is held by BIMCO.

Dirk Kwantes (LKL Oceantrade B.V.), chairman of the subcommittee revising BARGEHIRE 2008 commented that

BARGEHIRE is by nature a bareboat contract where charterers take total control over the barge and owners are not performing any services which can be practically suspended to force charterers to pay.

Now, the Association notes that a barge fixed on BARGEHIRE operates outside the direct control and operation of the owners, who may not know the location of the barge or its current activity on a day-to-day basis. These simple facts essentially hinder any attempts by owners to “suspend” performance pending the payment of hire.

Owners can only be determined when hiring is not paid for a barge. BIMCO notes that this is the right option, seeing it from a practical and commercial point of view. In additon, a right to suspend performance provides no benefit to owners, as they are unable to exercise such a right over a chartered barge.

Mr Kwantes noted that a new edition of BARGHIRE is being developed by representatives from LKL Oceantrade B.V., Cashman Equipment Corporation, Ugland, Heerema Marine Contractors, Subsea 7 and Shipowners’ Club, in efforts to enable shipping have a clear and effective procedure to deal with non-payment of hire.