While the marine and technical teams at Intertanko have responded with practical advice and assistance to the piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia, Intertanko’s documentary committee has responded quickly to the need for a model piracy clause. The clause was produced in December, 2008 for both voyage and time charters and is being used by brokers and charterers.
Many current charterparties will not have anticipated the possibility of the vessel being hijacked. Owners should therefore check the terms of their existing charters and bills of lading before, for example, taking any decision to re-route the ship. Re-routing may expose an owner to claims for breach of charter - for example a failure to prosecute the voyage with ‘due’ or ‘utmost despatch’, and also to claims under the bill of lading – for example for deviation and late delivery. Owners should also check their war risk clauses, some of which permit a deviation in appropriate circumstances.
For new fixtures, Intertanko’s documentary committee has produced the following clauses which address the main issues involved in transiting the Gulf of Aden and/or re-routing the ship. These clauses are not comprehensive and will need to be amended to suit the particular factors affecting each ship and voyage. The need for these clauses must also be assessed in the context of the charterparty as a whole. Owners should ensure that such provisions are also included in the bills of lading.