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India - Goods & Service Tax

  

Members trading to ports in India will be aware of the service tax on freight as outlined in the Club’s previous news alert (click here). Harsh Pratap of HP Law firm, Mumbai, advises that the service tax was repealed on 1 July 2017 and replaced with a more comprehensive Goods & Service Tax (GST) that came into force on the same day. The new GST replaces a number of indirect taxes including excise and customs duties, and other taxes and surcharges relating to the supply of goods and services.

There are 4 different rates of GST and the lowest 5% rate applies to the transport of goods on-board a vessel, which should be paid by the recipient of the goods/importer who can apply for tax credits. The good news is that the new GST does not apply directly to non-Indian domiciled shipping companies.

Further details can be found in HP Law’s note which can be accessed by clicking here.

06 Jul 2017

International Group - Annual Review - 2016/17

 

The International Group Annual Review 2016/17 is available and can be accessed by clicking here.The Review covers many of the key activities undertaken by the Group during the last P&I policy year and includes summaries of the work carried out by a number of its Sub-Committees and Working Groups on a range of issues,including the Large Casualty Outreach Programme, the Maritime Labour Convention and the next P&I Club Correspondents’ Conference.

08 Jun 2017

Qatar – Trading Prohibition

 

Members will be aware from international news reports that various Gulf nations -  including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt - announced on 5 June 2017 that they will halt diplomatic and trading ties with Qatar. This includes the suspension of land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, and with Qatari citizens and diplomats given two weeks’ notice to leave.

The Club has received updates from our local correspondents in the Gulf, which can be summarised as follows:

UAE

The Club Correspondent in Dubai, Gulf Agency Company (Dubai) LLC, reports that:“Jebel Ali immigration has announced that no vessels that are coming from Qatar will be permitted into the port and no clearance will be given to any port calling Qatar from Jebel Ali.”

The Port of Fujairah issued a Notice to Mariners no. 224 dated 5 June 2017 advising that vessels flying flags of Qatar or vessels destined to or arrival from Qatar ports are not allowed to call Port of Fujairah and Fujairah Offshore Anchorage regardless their nature of call till further notice.

Additional information has been provided by One Maritime, including more detailed UAE port information from 5/6/2017 (click here to access a copy) and updated information on Ports in UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as of 6/6/2017 (click here to access a copy).

SAUDI ARABIA

The General Organization of Saudi Sea Ports Authority announced this evening to all shipping agents not to receive any vessels hosting Qatari flag or owned by Qatari companies or individuals as well as to unload any goods of Qatari origin in Saudi ports.

BAHRAIN

The Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications has issued a notice advising that marine navigation from Bahrain Ports and territorial waters to State of Qatar shall be suspended from 6th June 2017. Click here to access a copy of the Notice.

EGYPT

The correspondent in Alexandria, Middle East Survey & Control Office, has provided the following information:

There has been no action taken concerning the ports till this moment. However, it is expected that any vessels flying the Qatari flag will not be permitted to enter Egyptian PORTS.

There has been no indication that any vessel calling from/ to Qatar after Egypt will be problematic.

We are also advised that flights between the two countries will be temporarily suspended.

There will be difficulties for any Qatari Nationals entering Egypt – but this has yet to be made clearer.

In regards to the crossing of the Suez Canal please note that as Egypt & Qatar are not at war then all canal crossing vessels will not be affected in any way; but Qatari crew may be affected if requiring to change in Egypt while crossing the canal. Please refer to:

http://www.suezcanal.gov.eg/English/About/CanalTreatiesAndDecrees/Pages/ConstantinopleConvention.aspx

Members who already have existing contracts which require a call at Qatari ports should give careful consideration as to whether they will be able to fulfill the contract and/or whether they are legally obligated to proceed, if possible before loading any cargo. Further, whilst the current prohibitions are directed towards blocking Qatari flagged vessels from entering the Middle Eastern ports, there is a concern that the UAE may block foreign flagged vessels that have/will call in Qatar. Should this be implemented and/or if other states follow suit the trading pattern of the ship could be a potential problem. Hence, those considering calling at Qatari ports in the future are recommended to fully analyse the implications of calling Qatar before agreeing to do so and should be duly diligent in implementing suitable contractual provisions in charterparties and other contracts to try to either avoid such a call or deal with the consequences
 

06 Jun 2017

Argentina – Parana River new channel groundings

 

Members transiting the very recently established main channel “Paso Cortada Isla Nueva” of the Parana River should note that the local Correspondent, Pandi Liquidadores SRL, Buenos Aires, reports that there have been a number of recent grounding incidents in the area. Whilst the cause of the groundings is still being investigated, the Correspondent speculates that local inexperience and/or lack of knowledge concerning certain navigational issues for this newly established channel, opened on 18 April 2017, are likely to be factors. Although local river and pilot authorities last week agreed to increase the number of buoys in the channel to assist safer navigation, it is unclear how quickly this will be implemented.

Further information is available in two Circulars that have been issued by the Correspondent, both of which can be accessed by clicking here. They have also provided a copy of the electronic chart showing the old/new channel for information purposes only (click here), the electronic vector chart (click here) and a table of the waypoints are in the Circular.  

Members should take note of the above and ensure that they exercise due diligence and appropriate caution when using the new channel.

05 May 2017

New Zealand – Biofouling risk management

 

Members who call at ports in New Zealand should note that the New Zealand Authorities have recently introduced new Biofouling Guidelines to augment their existing 1993 legislation to prevent harmful aquatic species being introduced into the local ecosystem. These are defined in the 1993 legislation as organisms which “can or are potentially capable of causing unwanted harm to any natural and physical resources or human health”. 

The new Guidelines are currently voluntary and the requirement for international vessels arriving in New Zealand to have a “clean hull” only comes into force in May 2018. However, the New Zealand Authorities have powers to and will take action in cases of severe biofouling in the interim period. There have been two recent instances where the Authorities have ordered vessels from New Zealand waters because the hull fouling on the vessels was found to be excessive and/or contain what the New Zealand Authorities classified as ‘high risk organisms’ that may be harmful to the environment (eg. non-native plants and animals). In the most recent case, the vessel DL Marigold was declined permission to enter other South Pacific islands for cleaning purposes, and only allowed to return to Tauranga to complete discharge after the hull had been cleaned by divers in international waters. This was three weeks later and at considerable cost! 

Members are therefore recommended to be duly diligent in complying with the guidelines and legislation. Click here to view the New Zealand Authorities’ summary of the biofouling threshold for intervention.

For further information from the Correspondent, P&I Services, Auckland, including links to the new Biofouling Guidelines and other related information, click here.

For further information on biofouling on the International Maritime Organisation website, click here.
 

20 Apr 2017

US – Fish causing loss of vessel propulsion off Galveston

 

Members transiting Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) should note that the US Coast Guard has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin warning of an increased seasonal threat of small fish called Menhaden becoming caught in sea strainers. The fish are reportedly attracted to the sea chest of transiting ships and causes clogging of sea strainers. This restricts the flow of cooling water and causes engines to overheat, resulting in reduced or loss of propulsion. Further details and practical recommendations can be found in the US Coast Guard’s Bulletin, a copy of which can be accessed by clicking here.

13 Apr 2017

Liquefaction - Reducing risk of bulk cargo liquefaction

 

Despite an improvement in the awareness of the risks associated with the carriage of cargoes such as iron ore fines, coal, manganese ore fines and nickel ore, incidents involving liquefaction continue to occur, sometimes with catastrophic and tragic results. The main, mandatory requirements for the safe carriage of solid bulk cargoes are stipulated in the IMSBC Code. 

However, to assist with safe carriage, the London P&I Club, working in co-operation with leading classification society Bureau Veritas and its casualty and salvage subsidiary TMC Marine, has produced an operational guide, ‘Reducing the Risk of Liquefaction’. This guide provides general guidance and practical advice to masters, ship owners, shippers and charterers on the loading and carriage of bulk cargoes which may liquefy, the risks associated with liquefaction, and the precautions which should be taken to minimise those risks, both before acceptance of the cargo and during carriage. 

An electronic copy of the guide can be obtained by clicking here but should Members or Assureds involved in the carriage of cargo prone to liquefaction require a hard copy, please contact publications@londonpandi.com.

04 Apr 2017

Vietnam – Sand Exports

 

Members should note that the Correspondent in Ho Chi Minh City, Spica Services, advises that sand from Vietnamese waters is reportedly being dredged illegally to the detriment of the local environment and residents. Consequently Members loading sand from Vietnamese waters (and charterers considering entering such contracts) should note the Correspondent’s advice. In particular, to ensure that the appropriate export licence has been issued by the Vietnamese Authorities in respect of sand cargoes to be loaded and that it is provided to the shipowners for checking in advance of loading, in order to avoid potential delays to the vessel.

To access a copy of the correspondent’s notice, click here.

20 Mar 2017

United States – New Executive Order on Immigration

 

Members who call at ports in the US should note that President Trump has now issued a new Executive Order (EO), on 6 March 2017, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. This revokes and replaces the previously suspended EO on the subject (click here to access the Club’s News Alert of 16 February 2017).

The new EO directs that entry into the US for nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen shall be suspended for 90 days from 16 March 2017, whilst a worldwide review is carried out by the US Secretary of Homeland Security. US law firm Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP report that crew members from these countries will not be able to enter the US unless they hold a valid visa. Those without a valid visa will not be able to obtain one until after 14 June 2017. Whilst vessels with crew from these countries are unlikely to be denied entry to the US, it is probable that these crew members will be denied shore leave whilst the vessel is at a US port and Owners may well have to employ security guards to ensure they do not leave the vessel.

A copy of the US lawyer’s update with further details can be accessed by clicking here.

07 Mar 2017

News Alerts Archive

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