In furtherance of its ambition to cut CO2 emissions from the short-sea shipping industry by 50% by 2030, the government recently announced that NKr150 million has been earmarked to support green investments in offshore vessels in 2021. With the international focus on green and sustainable shipping, this is a welcome development for shipowners in the Norwegian market and an important contribution to the maritime industry as a whole.
The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) recently expanded its suite of offshore contracts by launching the new standard time charter for accommodation support vessels, the Asvtime. The objective was to develop a new form that builds on well-established industry precedents but includes tailored features for vessels whose primary function is providing accommodation for personnel performing offshore installation, operation and maintenance work. This article outlines the Asvtime's key features.
The Baltic and International Maritime Council recently published the new indicative term sheet "Shiplease". This was drafted to provide the first set of standard terms and conditions for sale and leaseback transactions involving second-hand vessels. The term sheet is a timely and much-needed effort to standardise sale and leaseback transactions, providing a solid and well-balanced base for negotiation.
Supplytime has been the industry standard time charter for offshore support vessels for decades. However, in recognition of its broader usage within the offshore and renewables sector as a whole, the Baltic and International Maritime Council recently published four new annexes for special tasks that can be incorporated into this popular standard contract.
The Norwegian regulations on ship registration have been criticised for being complicated and outdated, thereby making the Norwegian ship registers unattractive compared with more flexible alternatives offered by the so-called 'flags of convenience'. In response to such criticism, Parliament recently passed a bill effecting certain amendments to the relevant legislation aimed at opening up and facilitating the parallel registration of ships (bareboat registration) both in and out of the Norwegian ship registers.
Despite it being almost six years since the 2014 oil price crash, there appears to still be only limited appetite for new investments in the offshore space, with many offshore investors and other stakeholders appearing to be keeping their powder dry until more obvious signs of an upturn are visible on the horizon. This article examines the current situation and some of the contracting solutions in the offshore markets.
Most parties involved in the shipping industry will by now have a clear picture of the requirements under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 global sulphur cap on marine fuels. Therefore, attention has turned to the steps that must be taken to put these requirements into practice. Two clauses recently introduced by the Baltic and International Maritime Council aim to address certain contractual aspects of the IMO requirements as they apply to time charterparties.
Third-party ship managers are often required to issue letters of undertaking to financiers of a managed vessel on relatively unfavourable and financier-friendly terms. The Baltic and International Maritime Council's new standard ship manager's letter of undertaking, which was recently published, seeks to redress the balance and gives ship managers a more equitable set of terms, which may be used as a starting point for negotiations.
In 2014 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority commenced an audit of the Norwegian International Ship Register. Subsequently, the EFTA Surveillance Authority opened a case against Norway for a possible breach of the European Economic Area Agreement. The case concerned a geographical trade limitation applicable to ships flying the flag of the Norwegian International Ship Register.
The Baltic and International Maritime Council recently released Barecon 2017, which represents an important update of one of the most commonly used maritime contracts. While several new features have been included, the basic structure of the form remains the same. However, several of the simplifications, clarifications and other updates should make the form easier to use in conjunction with rider clauses crafted for a specific transaction.
The Baltic and International Maritime Council recently launched a revised version of its standard time charter party for offshore support vessels – the Supplytime. Considering the form's broad application in practice, the 2017 edition's amendments and new features are likely to have a significant impact on issues facing owners and charterers.
It has been a brutal few years in the shipping and offshore markets with overcapacity, declining demand and the dramatic fall in oil prices all contributing to historically low charter rates and plummeting asset values. While in recent years owners have been battening down the hatches in a bid to survive, consideration is now being given as to how and when to act in order to seize the opportunities that may present themselves during recovery.
The Windtime - a new standard form charter party for personnel transfer and support vessels servicing offshore wind farms - is expected to be released soon by the Baltic and International Maritime Council in response to industry requests for standardisation. It will be interesting to see to what extent the industry embraces this first step towards standardisation of contracts, and what further efforts may be made in the future.
Maritime accidents which cause damage or injury to people, the environment or property are often followed by a police investigation. The master and crew of a vessel are frequently considered suspects and, as such, have certain procedural rights. As the entire crew is a defined group of persons that may have contributed to the accident, everyone within that group may be considered a suspect in particular circumstances.
In 2008 Norway implemented a new investigation system which separated the safety and criminal aspects of accident investigation. Following an international trend, the new rules gave the Accident Investigation Board the authority to investigate accidents to identify the circumstances of importance to improve overall safety at sea. The investigation of the grounding of Full City was the first test for the new system.