Ice Clause for Voyage Charter Parties 2005

BIMCO Ice Clause for Voyage Charter Parties 2005

The Vessel shall not be obliged to force ice but, subject to the Owners’ approval having due regard to its size, construction and class, may follow ice-breakers.

(a) Port of Loading

(i) If at any time after setting out on the approach voyage the Vessel’s passage is impeded by ice, or if on arrival the loading port is inaccessible by reason of ice, the Master or Owners shall notify the Charterers thereof and request them to nominate a safe and accessible alternative port.

If the Charterers fail within 48 running hours, Sundays and holidays included, to make such nomination or agree to reckon laytime as if the port named in the contract were accessible or declare that they cancel the Charter Party, the Owners shall have the option of cancelling the Charter Party. In the event of cancellation by either party, the Charterers shall compensate the Owners for all proven loss of earnings under this Charter Party.

(ii) If at any loading port the Master considers that there is a danger of the Vessel being frozen in, and provided that the Master or Owners immediately notify the Charterers thereof, the Vessel may leave with cargo loaded on board and proceed to the nearest safe and ice free place and there await the Charterers’ nomination of a safe and accessible alternative port within 24 running hours, Sundays and holidays excluded, of the Master’s or Owners’ notification. If the Charterers fail to nominate such alternative port, the vessel may proceed to any port(s), whether or not on the customary route for the chartered voyage, to complete with cargo for the Owners’ account.*

(b) Port of Discharge

(i) If the voyage to the discharging port is impeded by ice, or if on arrival the discharging port is inaccessible by reason of ice, the Master or Owners shall notify the Charterers thereof. In such case, the Charterers shall have the option of keeping the Vessel waiting until the port is accessible against paying compensation in an amount equivalent to the rate of demurrage or of ordering the Vessel to a safe and accessible alternative port.

If the Charterers fail to make such declaration within 48 running hours, Sundays and holidays included, of the Master or Owners having given notice to the Charterers, the Master may proceed without further notice to the nearest safe and accessible port and there discharge the cargo.

(ii) If at any discharging port the Master considers that there is a danger of the Vessel being frozen in, and provided that the Master or Owners immediately notify the Charterers thereof, the Vessel may leave with cargo remaining on board and proceed to the nearest safe and ice free place and there await the Charterers’ nomination of a safe and accessible alternative port within 24 running hours, Sundays and holidays excluded, of the Master’s or Owners’ notification. If the Charterers fail to nominate such alternative port, the vessel may proceed to the nearest safe and accessible port and there discharge the remaining cargo.

(iii) On delivery of the cargo other than at the port(s) named in the contract, all conditions of the Bill of Lading shall apply and the Vessel shall receive the same freight as if discharge had been at the original port(s) of destination, except that if the distance of the substituted port(s) exceeds 100 nautical miles, the freight on the cargo delivered at the substituted port(s) shall be increased proportionately.

* Note: In trades where the terms and conditions of the charter party are not incorporated into the bill(s) of lading, such bill(s) must contain an express statement permitting the vessel to complete with cargo at alternative port(s), whether or not on the customary route for the chartered voyage.

Explanatory notes

BIMCO has recently revised its suite of stand-alone ice clauses and has distilled them into two standard clauses: the BIMCO Ice Clause for Voyage Charter Parties and the BIMCO Ice Clause for Time Charter Parties.

The amendments were made because the existing ice clauses were felt to be deficient in a number of ways, particularly because they were silent on the issues of forcing ice and following ice breakers. It was also felt that provisions were needed to protect the owners against the risk of ice being experienced on the approach voyage. Consequently a set of revised Ice Clauses has been drafted to take the above concerns into consideration. A provision common to both Clauses has been included that makes it clear that the vessel should not be obliged to force ice, but may reasonably be expected to follow ice breakers where other vessels of the same size, class and construction are doing so.

Under the BIMCO Ice Clause for Voyage Charter Parties, in the event that ice impedes the vessel from arriving at the loading port, the Clause now contains three options for the charterers: (1) nominate an alternative safe and accessible port; (2) agree to reckon laytime as if the port were accessible; or (3) declare that they cancel the charter party. The option chosen by the charterers must be declared to the owners within 48 running hours, which is deemed reasonable as the charterers must be allowed time to make arrangements either for the cargo to be transferred to or a substitute cargo made available from an alternative port of loading.

Where part of the cargo has been loaded and the master is concerned that the vessel may be frozen-in, sub-clause (a)(ii) requires the master/owners to notify the charterers that the vessel is leaving for the nearest safe place and will there await the charterers’ nomination of an alternative safe port. If the charterers fail to make the necessary nomination within 24 running hours, Sundays and holidays excluded, the vessel may leave and complete with cargo at another port, whether or not on the customary route for the chartered voyage. Since this may be considered a deviation under bill(s) of lading issued for the cargo loaded (and which may not incorporate the terms and conditions of the charter party), a note has been added highlighting that such bill(s) must contain an express statement permitting the vessel to complete with cargo at alternative port(s), whether or not on the customary route for the chartered voyage.

Sub-clause (b)(i) relating to Port of Discharge provides the charterers with an option of either keeping the vessel waiting until the port is again accessible or of ordering the vessel to an alternative port. In addition, the sub-clause has been amended to refer to “compensation in an amount equivalent to the rate of demurrage” which is considered more accurate as the vessel might not be on demurrage at the time she is kept waiting by the charterers.

Sub-clause (b)(ii) permits the vessel to leave the port if there is a danger of being frozen in. However, the charterers now have the option to nominate an alternative safe and accessible port. This option, if declared, must be communicated to the owners within 24 running hours, Sundays and holidays excluded. The charterers are given 24 running hours which is considered sufficient time to make arrangements for receiving cargo at an alternative port. This period may be extended if a Sunday or holiday falls within the running period.

Originally published in BIMCO Special Circular No. 1, 24 February 2005 - BIMCO Ice Clauses

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