Provided that it can be accomplished at ports of call, without hindrance to the working or operation of or delay to the Vessel, and subject to prior consent, which shall not be unreasonably withheld, the Owners shall allow the Charterers to bunker for their account prior to delivery and the Charterers shall allow the Owners to bunker for their account prior to redelivery. If consent is given, the party ordering the bunkering shall indemnify the other party for any delays, losses, costs and expenses arising therefrom.
In October 2009 BIMCO initiated a project to develop a suite of standard bunker clauses for use in time charter parties. The rationale behind developing the suite is simply to address the ever increasing importance of bunker issues in time charter parties and the need to ensure that the risk of bunker disputes is minimised by clearly worded clauses that reflect legislative developments. The Suite of Clauses was adopted by BIMCO’s Documentary Committee at its meeting in Vancouver in June 2011.
The Suite provides clauses covering matters relating to delivery/redelivery bunkers; bunkering operations; sampling; fuel testing programmes; and ECA trading, all of which are matters that are frequently absent from or insufficient in many standard time charter parties. Many older time charter forms contain bunker clauses covering the fundamental principles under the charter, but simply do not contemplate today’s situation where vessels are required to carry and use several grades of fuel and where sampling and testing regimes are an integral part of the process.
It is not the intention that BIMCO’s Suite of Bunker Clauses should be a direct replacement for the existing bunker clauses in a time charter - there is, for example, no intention to deal with the actual pricing or quantities of bunkers, as this will already be dealt with. What the Suite offers is a means of supplementing standard time charters with bunker provisions that are missing or poorly worded. Each clause within the Suite is designed to be self-standing and independent of the other clauses in the Suite. As always, users should be careful when incorporating any additional clauses so that the new clauses do not conflict with existing provisions.
The current suite of standard bunker clauses for use in time charter parties consists of:
The following explanatory notes provide some background to the thinking behind the Bunkering Prior to Delivery/Redelivery clause.
This Clause provides for the bunkering of the vessel by the charterers immediately prior to delivery or by the owners prior to redelivery – provided the bunkering operation does not in any way interfere with or cause delay under the current charter (particularly in the case of bunkering prior to delivery). Each party is to bunker for their own account and indemnify the other for any delays, losses, costs and expenses that occur as a result of the bunkering.
It should be noted that this is a mutual provision – each party consenting to the other party to allow bunkering prior to delivery/redelivery. Although the prior consent of the other party to bunkering before delivery needs to be obtained, this consent is “not to be unreasonably withheld” – i.e. it should reflect common commercial practice – so any refusal by either party must be on “reasonable” grounds.
Originally published in BIMCO Special Circular No. 4, 4 November 2011 (Updated 25 June 2014) - BIMCO Suite of Bunker Clauses for Time Charter Parties
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