London law firm Lawrence Graham LLP says
owners and charterers should beware a rash of disputes caused by the recent high bunker prices.
Writing in the October issue of Lawrence Graham’s newsletter, Shipping Lawgram, Imogen Rumbold
, partner in the shipping law team
, says, “Forecasting oil prices is difficult but it is easy to forecast what will happen when fuel prices spike. A period of high bunker prices is always followed by a rash of disputes between charterers and owners and between bunker suppliers and charterers followed by an upsurge in arrests as all parties try to collect debts. The biggest loser is usually the owner, who may face legal costs and delays to the vessel under a new charter, caused by defaults of the previous charterer. Hedging can protect the charterer against volatile prices but how can all parties protect themselves from difficult disputes fuelled by high bunker costs?”
Rumbold goes on to provide owners and charterers with common sense advice on avoiding bunker disputes.
Also in the October Shipping Lawgram: Captain Slapdash caught by security ; Ukraine shipping going strong; Traders’ tricks trumped; Cold comfort on insurance clauses; Shipping expertise boosts commercial fraud team.