The revision of the SUPPLYTIME 2005 charter party, BIMCO’s specialised offshore support vessel contract, is close to completion.
The drafting team met at BIMCO House on 9 and 10 March to complete a final and thorough read-through of the contract before it’s passed on to the Documentary Committee for approval in June.
It has taken over two years to complete the update, but the drafting team believes that the industry can look forward to a much improved and more clearly written SUPPLYTIME. The main focus of the revision process has been on clarifying language and simplifying the contract. Many of the exceptions to the knock for knock provisions, which lies at the heart of SUPPLYTIME, have been removed to ensure that “pure” knock for knock applies where possible. Ambiguities in the text of certain clauses that have, in the past, created some uncertainty have been re-worded.
Although the review team acknowledges that SUPPLYTIME is used for a diverse range of tasks in the offshore sector, they have kept the contract true to its roots as a time charter for offshore support vessels. They concluded at a very early stage of the revision work that trying to create a contract that is tailor-made for all sorts of different purposes would simply produce an unnecessarily complex and unworkable contract. If the industry wants to adapt SUPPLYTIME for other purposes, then the new edition will continue to provide an excellent boiler-plate.
A vital part of the revision of SUPPLYTIME was the consultation process with end-users. A draft was circulated to a cross-industry group last summer inviting comments and suggestions. All the many pages of feedback were carefully studied by the drafting team and a number of changes and improvements made. The consultation process confirmed to the drafting team that they were on the “right track” with the scope of the amendments.
To produce a balanced charter party you need a “balanced” drafting team. BIMCO has been fortunate to have benefited from the support and expertise provided by offshore owners, charterers and brokers as well as legal and insurance expertise. Fellow trade associations IMCA and ISOA have also provided valuable assistance.
PHOTO: Ian Perrot, SUPPLYTIME subcommittee chairman
According to Ian Perrot, chairman of the SUPPLYTIME subcommittee:
The drafting team is rightly satisfied with the work they have done. It has been a long but very worthwhile process to bring SUPPLYTIME up to date. There has been a lot of discussion but it’s been done in a good and constructive spirit. I think the industry will be also be very satisfied with the new version.