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The Baltic and International Maritime Council recently launched its new Boxtime 2004 Time Charterparty. Compared with the previous version, Boxtime 2004 is a more comprehensive and balanced document, tailored specifically for the container sector. However, some clauses are not as clear as owners and charterers might expect and may need to be addressed specifically in charterparty negotiations.
Several key issues can arise out of collisions between a foreign vessel and a small People's Republic of China (PRC) vessel within PRC territorial waters. For instance, in collision cases, the inter-ship action is between the respective owners of the vessels in personam, so correctly identifying the owner of the vessel takes on great importance.
When entering into a shipbuilding contract, prudence dictates that the buyer secure its position in the event of possible default by the shipyard. This is usually done through the shipyard arranging a refund guarantee, most commonly from a Chinese bank. This update highlights some issues that should be considered when dealing with refund guarantees.
The Ministry of Communications recently promulgated the Administration of Port Operation Provisions, which provide detailed regulations for those who are engaged in or intend to engage in port operation activities. The provisions follow the new Ports Law and are in line with the latest restructuring of port authorities across the People's Republic of China.
Since 1992 liability for maritime-related personal injury or death claims has been limited at Rmb800,000. However, a new judicial note issued by the Supreme Court this year contains no reference to any similar limit for death and personal injury claims. It appears that the judicial note does not apply to maritime claims, but a recent maritime court decision confuses the position.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of Communications has published new rules on the transportation of dangerous goods in PRC waters. Ships carrying dangerous goods must follow special guidance set out by the Maritime Safety Administration, and must obtain approval before entering, leaving or discharging transshipments at PRC ports.