Despite the fact that travel restrictions are beginning to ease, there are still restrictions in many countries impacting crew changes.

The new clause aims to give owners the liberty to deviate for crew changes under tightly defined circumstances. It also provides an option for charterers to contribute to the crew change in recognition of the potentially high cost of making a COVID-19 related crew change.

Although the cost of crew changes is usually for owners’ account under a charter party, the extraordinary and unusual circumstances created by COVID-19 have left some owners unable to conduct crew changes on the ship’s trade route

says Soren Larsen, Deputy Secretary General, BIMCO.

He added that with crew now on board for periods extending beyond their contracts of employment, owners need to have the flexibility to deviate to an alternative place if crew changes can’t be done at the places where the ship is ordered by charterers.

Below you may see the recent clause in full:

  • (a) In addition to any other right to deviate under this contract, the Vessel shall have liberty to deviate for crew changes if COVID-19-related restrictions prevent crew changes from being conducted at the ports or places to which the Vessel has been ordered or within the scheduled period of call. Any deviation under this clause shall not be deemed to be an infringement or breach of this contract, and Owners shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting therefrom.
  • (b) Owners shall exercise the right under subclause (a) above with due regard to Charterers’ interests and shall notify Charterers in writing as soon as reasonably possible of any intended deviation for crew changes purposes.
  • (c) Charterers shall procure that subclause (a) shall be incorporated into any and all sub-charter parties, bills of lading, waybills or other documents evidencing contracts of carriage issued pursuant to this Charter Party.
  • (d) During the period of such deviation the Vessel shall: 1. remain on hire, but at a reduced rate of hire of USD ……….. per day. In the absence of an agreed amount, fifty per cent (50%) of the hire rate shall apply. The cost of bunkers consumed shall be shared equally between Owners and Charterers; 2. be off-hire and the cost of bunkers consumed shall be for Owners’ account.
  • (e) While the Vessel is at the port of deviation all port charges, pilotage and other expenses arising out of such crew changes shall be for the Owners’ account.