The contracts can be negotiated very quickly, sometimes just in a matter of minutes, and they aim to be the spill response counterpart to Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) for salvage.
A specialist drafting committee met last week in London to round off drafting work.
There are two versions of the contracts: an international contract for use outside the US and another for use only in the US. Both contracts are suitable for emergency application, but the US version can also form part of pre-agreed response contracts.
The US contract will also be useful in cases where US regulations apply but no pre-agreed response contracts are in place. This would be the case if a spill occurs from a ship redirected to the US, but not originally intended to transit the area, and if a spill outside US boarders later leaks into US waters.
The next step will be to scrutinise the individual provisions before the contracts are presented for approval by ISCO and BIMCO. The contracts conform with the response guidelines of the International Group of P&I Clubs and are expected to be available for industry use by summer 2017.
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