BIMCO says that its sub-committee of purchasers and suppliers tasked with revising BIMCO’s standard bunker contract met again recently at BIMCO House to review comments received from the Documentary Committee and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA). BIMCO explains that it met the SSA earlier this year to explain the purpose of the revision to develop a bunker purchase contract that would gain global acceptance.
Since that meeting, the SSA has formed a committee to examine the contract and their first meeting generated valuable comments and suggestions on the latest draft. BIMCO is represented on the SSA committee by Mr. Y K Chan who was involved in the development of the original FUELCON bunker purchase contract back in 1995 and also represented Singapore on BIMCO’s Documentary Committee for many years.
A number of amendments were made to the draft bunker contract. The minimum number of fuel samples was increased from four to five. One sample is to be retained on board the vessel for MARPOL purposes, two will be for the sellers and the remaining two for the vessel. As to the sampling point, some flexibility has been provided, bearing in mind varying practices around the world. The wording refers to the MARPOL Guidelines and “closest to the receiving Vessel’s bunker manifold”. However, in some cases samples will be drawn from the bunker barge for practical reasons where, for example, bunker barge personnel are unable to board the vessel.
Wording has been added to provide for situations where local rules on bunker practices are mandatory and therefore take precedence, such as with Singapore’s Standard Code of Practice for Bunkering, the SS600.
The claim process under the contract was also reviewed to clarify three key stages. The first is entering a remark on the bunker delivery note/receipt (BDN) or, if it is not permitted to make any remarks on the BDN, in a separate letter of protest. In either case, any remark should be made on completion of delivery or after discovery, depending on the type of claim. This will satisfy sellers’ need to receive complaints as soon as possible so that they may start investigations.
The second stage requires buyers to put the sellers on notice that they intend to proceed with the noted claim(s) within 14 days from the delivery date, which should provide buyers with sufficient time to get their documentation in order. The third stage is to initiate arbitration proceedings as prescribed in the contract.
BIMCO adds that work will continue over the summer with the aim of completing the bunker contract in time for presentation to BIMCO’s Documentary Committee in November.