Bunker Contract and Raft of new clauses on top of Documentary Committee's busy agenda
On Friday 7 November, BIMCO's Documentary Committee, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Karel Stes, met in Copenhagen to review and approve a number of current documentary-related projects. Two contracts and a number of standard clauses were approved for publication. Agreement was given to fast-track work on a new fevers and epidemics clause that will address ebola. Work will also begin on a number of other new clauses covering issues such as fumigation and late redelivery under a time charter. The committee also gave the go-ahead to develop a standard novation agreement.
Standard Bunker Contract
With fuel costs representing the largest cost for any shipping company today, the importance of the terms and conditions for purchasing fuels cannot be overestimated. BIMCO's Standard Bunker Contract has, during the past year, undergone a thorough development process with valuable input provided by suppliers, traders and purchasers. The end result is an internationally applicable contract containing clearly worded terms and conditions that are fair to both parties. The Standard Bunker Contract 2015 will be published, together with explanatory notes, by the end of this year.
Qatar Fertiliser Charter Party
The sale and distribution of chemical and petrochemical products out of Qatar is now handled by QAFCO's new operational and marketing company, Muntajat. At the request of Muntajat, the existing QAFCOCHARTER has been re-branded and updated. The revised voyage charter party, MUNTAJATCHARTER, and accompanying bill of lading, MUNTAJATBILL, will be published shortly.
Asian Gypsy Moth clause
A generic clause to deal with the prevention and certification in relation to the Asian Gypsy Moth pest was approved at the DC meeting and will be available to download shortly from the clauses section on BIMCO's website. The clause avoids making reference to specific ports and geographical areas, since this may preclude any new countries that may take measures to combat AGM in the future. A Special Circular explaining the reasoning behind the clause will also be published in due course.
Bunker Non-Lien and Ship to Ship transfer Clauses
In an attempt to create a more secure position for owners against the risk of their vessel being arrested by bunker suppliers due to non-payment for bunkers by time charterers, a new clause has been developed. The Bunker Non-Lien Clause builds upon non-lien provisions commonly found in standard time charters such as NYPE by making a specific requirement for charterers to put their bunker suppliers on notice that the owners are not a party to the bunker contract. The notice is to be given to suppliersprior to ordering bunkers. This will remove any implied authority that charterers may have under, for example, US law to bind owners to a bunker contract and thereby remove the possibility for suppliers to claim a maritime lien on the vessel.
To complement BIMCO's standard ship to ship transfer clause for time charters, a voyage charter party version has been developed and approved for publication. As tanker charters normally include ship to ship operations as standard provisions, this clause is aimed specifically at the dry bulk trades. Ship to ship operations under the clause covers all cargo activities to or from any other vessel and includes floating cranes and barges.
International Group of P&I Clubs/BIMCO Himalaya Clause for Bills of Lading
In response to US case law where managers were held not to fall within the scope of a so-called "Himalaya" clause, the International Group, together with BIMCO, has revised and updated its own Himalaya Clause for Bills of Lading. The aim of the clause is to protect those acting on behalf of the owners from direct action. The revised Clause will be published on BIMCO's website and is to be incorporated into all BIMCO Bills of Lading in due course.
The revision of NYPE is now at a very advanced stage. At last week's DC meeting it was decided to defer approval of the contract in order to provide a little more time to further review this important and significant update. Over the Summer, three well-attended consultation seminars took place in London, Stamford and Singapore to discuss and invite comment on the revised NYPE before industry audiences. These seminars generated a large number of comments and suggestions which have been processed by the revision sub committee. The response to the revised NYPE from those who have reviewed it has, on the whole, been very positive and supportive and it is hoped that the revised edition will be ready for publication shortly.
Work will also continue on the development of a clause to set a standard of compliance with applicable anti-corruption legislation and to deal with corrupt behavior, such as facilitation payments demanded by port officials before they complete a task they are required to do. The clause, which can be used in both voyage and time charter parties, will serve as a clear and balanced alternative to market-drafted and often very harsh, anti-bribery clauses that are already in circulation. The committee believes that the draft Anti-Bribery Clause marks a considerable improvement over existing clauses and gave the mandate to fast track this clause so that it may be published as soon as the last outstanding points have been solved.
Project updates were given on the development of a standard contract for the Ro/Ro passenger ferry trade, the transportation of LNG cargo on a voyage basis, and a supervision contract for newbuildings, vessel constructions and repairs.