Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2020 Sulphur Cap Prompts New Bunker Clauses to Guide Charterers and Ship Owners

Global Shipping Association Outlines Agreement Parameters
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the organisation which brings together the common interests of around 2,000 members in more than 120 countries and sets out the standards required by the shipping industry by publishing contracts and clauses together with information on ports worldwide, has outlined two bunker clauses for 2020 in light of the rapidly approaching mandatory sulphur in marine fuel limitations.

The two clauses deal with general compliance and the transitional period for an early December release. The first, the Global Marine Fuel Sulphur Clause for Time Charter Parties, was approved by the Documentary Committee at its meeting in Copenhagen on 13 November. BIMCO and others have expressed concerns about the incoming sulphur cap previously, and there have already been some serious cases of ships engines damaged due to fuel problems.

The clause states that charterers are obliged to provide fuel that complies with MARPOL requirements, grades and specifications set out in the charter party, and it is a general compliance clause. It also states that charterers must use suppliers and bunker barge operators who comply with MARPOL and that ship owners will remain responsible for the fuel management.

The second clause discussed at the Committee meeting in Copenhagen deals with the transitional period from the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020. The two clauses will be published as one package. The clause focuses on cooperation between owners and charterers to minimise quantities of non-compliant fuel on board by 31 December 2019.

It states that any remaining non-compliant fuel on board after 1 January 2020 has to be removed no later than re-delivery or 1 March 2020, whichever comes first. It also states that removal of non-compliant fuel must be done at the charterers’ cost, while tank cleaning must be done at the cost of the ship owner. Peter Eckhardt, chairperson of the drafting committee and Head of Chartering and Operations at Reederei F. Laeisz, commented:

“It is very important that the new sulphur clauses are ready well in advance to allow the parties to prepare ahead of 1 January 2020. The Global Marine Fuel Sulphur Clause for Time Charter Parties will help them do exactly that, as it sets out the obligations and responsibilities of owners and charterers to comply with MARPOL Annex VI sulphur content requirements.”