Due to the inherent multi-jurisdictional nature of shipping disputes, the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments can be crucial. Judgments often require enforcement over assets which are located in another jurisdiction. The Lugano Convention made this possible with regard to the enforcement of UK judgments in signatory states and vice versa. However, when the Brexit transition period ended, the United Kingdom ceased being a party to the convention.
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 Collision Regulations are the 'rules of the road' for mariners navigating vessels worldwide. However, it has been nearly 50 years since a case involving their interpretation has reached the jurisdiction's highest court. This changed recently when the Supreme Court handed down a judgment which considered the matter. The judgment provides clear and understandable guidance to mariners which will be of use to them when waiting outside the entrance to narrow channels in locations globally.
The limitation fund established following the grounding of the Full City near Langesund in 2009 was recently distributed. The limitation fund proceedings, which ran parallel to the proceedings concerning the limitation fund established following the Server casualty in 2007, have helped to clarify several procedural aspects of limitation funds. This article examines the key takeaways from the limitation fund proceedings now that they have come to an end.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the shipping industry and led to many disputes. However, owing to the prevalence of arbitration in resolving shipping disputes, and the time taken for cases to progress through the courts, there have been few reported cases detailing the pandemic's impact on the industry. The Admiralty Court recently handed down one of the first judgments dealing with this matter.
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.
The regulatory framework that exists within the shipping and offshore industries is long established. The general principle is that maritime assets above a certain size must be registered in a national ship registry, and vessel registration plays an important role in the financing of maritime and offshore assets. While the existing framework effectively extends to the offshore floating wind sector in Norway, the same cannot be said for deep-water fish farms.
In a recent administrative appeal decision, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) Head Office reversed the wreck removal order issued by the NCA Emergency Response Centre in respect of a cargo ship which sank in northern Norway in 2017. The decision confirms that the pollution authorities will consider the proportionality of the measures ordered when exercising their administrative discretion.
Often the procurement of a floating asset will be on a public or private competitive procurement basis and vessel owners will be asked to compete with others in the market. This article explores some of the key issues facing vessel owners when bidding for and negotiating floating liquefied natural gas projects, whether for floating liquefaction or floating storage and regasification units.
The 75th session of the International Maritime Organisation Marine Environment Protection Committee recently approved a ban on the use and carriage of so-called 'heavy fuel oil' in the Arctic. The proposed amendments are expected to be formally adopted in June 2021. However, more stringent standards have already been proposed by the Norwegian government for the area surrounding Svalbard.
The Commercial Court recently provided guidance on the interpretation of consent provisions in a transport and processing agreement where such consent was not to be "unreasonably withheld". The issue of withholding consent arises regularly under long and short-term shipping charterparties. A key takeaway from this judgment is that to establish whether consent may be withheld, the parties' bargain as a whole must be considered and not the consent provision in isolation.
The Supreme Court recently examined the requirement that an arbitrator must disclose related or linked appointments, which is a long-running debate, particularly in specialist fields (eg, maritime disputes), where there has traditionally been a limited pool of arbitrators. This decision is likely to fundamentally change the way in which shipowners, charterers and traders proceed with arbitrators in the future.
As noted in the white paper on Norway's Arctic policy, maritime activities in the High North are expected to increase due to improved accessibility resulting from melting sea ice, the high potential for increased commercial exploitation of marine and offshore resources and the successful marketing of the Arctic as a tourist destination. With increased activities comes an increased risk of accidents, and these additional risks must be taken into account by those operating in the area.
Arbitration is the most commonly used dispute resolution mechanism in shipping and offshore contracts. However, parties often tend to spend little or no effort reflecting on the type of arbitration solution chosen (ie, ad hoc versus institutional arbitration). This article highlights the benefits of agreeing to arbitration under the rules of the Nordic Offshore and Maritime Arbitration Association versus ad hoc arbitration.
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.
A recent Supreme Court decision examined the mandatory scope of the Insurance Contract Act and the application of the general Time Bar Act in direct actions against protection and indemnity insurers under Norwegian law. The dispute arose out of an incident that took place in China in 2007, during which capesize vessel Mineral Libin made contact with another vessel and a buoy when berthing.
Under the Maritime Code, a shipyard which constructs or repairs a ship may retain physical possession of that ship until it has been paid by the relevant shipowner. The right of retention for non-payment is one of the key weapons in the arsenal of shipyards and enables them to exert a significant amount of pressure on both shipowners and other creditors to require prompt payment as and when it is due.
Shipowners routinely give buyers in demolition sales complete freedom to deal with ships as they please following a sale, but do so at their peril. Shipowners are generators of waste under the Basel Convention and other laws and remain liable as such following a sale. Further, shipowners and those assisting them in such transactions may also incur liabilities in tort to third parties in connection with shipyard worker injuries and environmental damage occurring after a sale, as noted in a recent High Court judgment.
The Court of Appeal recently endorsed a first-instance Admiralty Court decision that a failure to properly prepare a passage plan or properly mark up navigational charts to reflect navigational dangers may amount to a failure to exercise due diligence to make the vessel seaworthy, leading to an actionable fault defence for cargo interests who had refused to contribute to the general average.
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.