Solid Bulk Cargo Charterparty Clause
17 August 2011
Further to the various Circulars and Alerts issued by the London Club in respect of cargoes that are prone to liquefy, the International Group of P&I Clubs (“IG”) has produced a standard charterparty clause that seeks to provide Owners with added contractual protection when carrying such cargoes.
The Club has seen numerous charterparty clauses that attempt to circumvent or lessen the precautions contained within the IMSBC Code (which, as a part of SOLAS, ought not to be compromised) and it is hoped that the production of an IG recommended wording will assist Members in resisting commercial pressure to compromise its provisions. We attach a copy of the clause from which it will be noted that:
- the IMSBC Code and all other applicable international regulations applying to the carriage of such cargoes are to be fully observed by Charterers,
- prior to loading, Charterers are to provide a certificate evidencing the FMP (Flow Moisture Point), TML (Transportable Moisture Limit) and moisture content of the cargo from a laboratory approved in advance by Owners,
- the Master is entitled to refuse to load any cargo (or to discharge any cargo already loaded) which, in his reasonable opinion, represents a danger to the safety of the vessel and crew,
- Owners are to be given a specific right of access to the cargo prior to loading so as to enable them to undertake their own independent analysis of the cargo in order to establish whether in their opinion the cargo is safe to carry (this has sometimes proved to be problematic),
- all time and expense incurred in complying with the Code or as a result of any non-compliance shall be for Charterers' account. This includes any expense Owners may incur in independently sampling and testing the cargo prior to loading.
Prior to the loading of any cargo that may be prone to liquefy (Class A cargoes under the IMSBC Code) it is the recommendation of all Clubs in the International Group that Members should either contact the Club or appoint an independent and suitably experienced survey firm to assess the suitability of the cargo for carriage.