Long distance ocean towage presents numerous challenges to tugowners, not least of which is the impact of adverse weather on the performance of the tug and tow. Under the lump sum TOWCON 2008 agreement allowance is made for additional time spent. However, some users feel that disputes can easily arise due to a lack of clarity about the speed assumed for the purpose of establishing the contract price. It has been suggested that there should be an independent assessment by the Marine Warranty Surveyor before the job begins so that the parties get an objective opinion on the fairness of the assessed speed.
This is just one of several issues that will be discussed during the forthcoming revision of TOWCON and TOWHIRE 2008 which begins in November with the aim of further improving these well-known and widely used towage agreements. Drafting will be done by a group of industry professionals from Boskalis Offshore Energy, Boluda Towage, Østensjø Rederi, LKL Oceantrade, Clarksons, the Standard Club, GARD, and the International Salvage Union (ISU). This project is expected to take 12-18 months to complete.