Latest updates

How many attacks does it take to make Strait of Hormuz unsafe?
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 January 2020

Since May 2019, six oil tankers have been attacked in the Strait of Hormuz. However, despite these attacks, vessels are still taking orders to sail through the strait, albeit with higher war risk insurance rates and, most likely, heightened crew concerns. At what point under UK law can owners refuse such voyage orders on the basis that the strait is contractually unsafe?

High Court decision offers guidance on interpreting guarantees
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 22 January 2020

A recent High Court decision provided guidance on the rules of interpretation when construing guarantees that display characteristics of both on-demand and true guarantees. The case concerned a charterer guarantee, which was described as a parent company guarantee and had characteristics of both an on-demand guarantee and a true guarantee.

Shipping project finance: new regulatory intricacies
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 22 January 2020

Project financing has historically been a popular investment scheme and source of capital in Norway for shipping projects. However, the Norwegian regulatory authorities recently published guidelines regarding the application of the alternative investment fund (AIF) regime to project finance entities. Issuers, advisers, arrangers and investors in shipping projects must be aware of the pitfalls of being captured by the wide definition of an 'AIF' and the steps that they can take in order to adapt to the regulations.

Shipbuilding – consequences of disruption by buyers
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 15 January 2020

In the lead up to delivery under shipbuilding and offshore fabrication contracts where delivery is delayed, buyers may occasionally face claims that they have disrupted the contractor's progress in such a way that the contractor is entitled to an extension of the delivery date and/or damages for the additional costs incurred. A recent ruling from the Supreme Court involving land-based construction clarifies the requirements as to causation for such a claim to succeed.

Contractual options for stranded assets
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • International
  • 15 January 2020

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.

Supreme Court issues important decision on CTL in Renos case
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 08 January 2020

The Supreme Court recently clarified that when determining whether a vessel is a constructive total loss under the Institute Time Clauses Hulls conditions, regard should be had to the costs incurred prior to the owner's notice of abandonment, but not to remuneration payable under a special compensation protection and indemnity clause. The decision is a landmark decision on marine insurance because of its financial and practical implications.

UK Supreme Court decision in Renos case: position under Nordic Plan
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • International
  • 08 January 2020

The UK Supreme Court's recent landmark decision in the Renos case clarifies that when determining whether a vessel is a constructive total loss under the English Institute Time Clauses Hulls conditions, regard should be had to the costs incurred prior to the owner's notice of abandonment, but not to remuneration payable under a special compensation protection and indemnity clause. But what would the position be under the 2019 version of the Nordic Marine Insurance Plan 2013?

The bunker balance – owners consider liquefied natural gas in advance of 2020
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • International
  • 17 July 2019

Using liquefied natural gas (LNG) rather than fuel oil is one of a range of options available to owners seeking to comply with the International Maritime Organisation's 2020 regulations. Given that shipbrokers have long predicted the emergence of a two-tier shipping market with 'greener' ships commanding a premium over older, less eco-friendly vessels, what is the future for LNG bunkering and what challenges does it present?

Readiness for global sulphur cap – BIMCO's new IMO 2020 clauses
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • International
  • 10 July 2019

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.

Manager's letter of undertaking – moving towards more balanced standards?
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • International
  • 03 July 2019

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.

Quiet enjoyment letters – benefit to lenders?
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • International
  • 19 June 2019

Quiet enjoyment letters are often used where a ship, rig or other unit being financed is subject to a long-term charterparty to govern the interrelationship between the owner, its financiers and the charterer. They provide the charterer with a right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of the ship, independent of whether the owner in its capacity as borrower is in default of its obligations towards its lender under the loan agreement. But do quiet enjoyment letters have any benefit for lenders?

Norway prepares for ratification of Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 19 June 2019

Parliament recently decided that Norway will ratify the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention and that the convention will be given effect not only in Norway's exclusive economic zone, but also in its territorial waters. Parliament also adopted legislation to implement the convention into Norwegian law once ratified. The legislation will introduce a dual system where the national rules on wreck removal will continue to be in effect and the convention rules will be introduced as a parallel set of rules.

Worldwide freezing orders upheld in multinational shipping fraud case
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 June 2019

The High Court recently upheld two worldwide freezing orders in a multinational shipping fraud case were upheld, rejecting the defendant's allegations of breaches of full and frank disclosure. Among other things, the judgment is a useful confirmation and strengthening of the standing of intermediary charterers to sue for the full value of the hire in circumstances where the claimant's ultimate loss may be substantially lower.

Autonomous ships in unchartered waters
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 17 April 2019

Unmanned ships are on the horizon and the Norwegian maritime sector is uniquely positioned to take a leading role internationally in the development and commercialisation of this technology. Autonomous shipping may be Norway's maritime equivalent of Project Apollo, but is the legal framework keeping pace?

Class dismissed – charter terminated for want of class
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 February 2019

A recent High Court decision will provide comfort for vessel owners and serve as a reminder to charterers of the importance of documentary obligations within a bareboat charter. The court held that where a vessel is on bareboat charter, the obligation on charterers to keep the vessel with unexpired class certificates at all times is an absolute obligation and a condition of the contract.

Ship and rig recycling: frequently asked questions
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • International
  • 20 February 2019

International conventions and local regulations combine to create a complex legal regime, which is often overlooked. The sale of a ship or rig to an intermediate buyer, which then sells the asset on to a shipbreaking facility, will not necessarily insulate the original owner from future liability or reputational damage. This article addresses a number of frequently asked questions which owners and other parties involved in transboundary movements of marine assets for recycling may find helpful.

New version of Nordic Marine Insurance Plan prepares for Brexit – bolstering Nordic arbitration
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 06 February 2019

The 2019 version of the Nordic Marine Insurance Plan 2013 recently entered into force. Among other things, the revisions introduce an arbitration clause as an option for insurances with Nordic claims leaders. Making arbitration the default position when there is a non-Nordic claims leader aims to align the plan with market practice. However, the change has also been brought about by the looming consequences of Brexit.

When are owners obliged to commence approach voyage to loading port?
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 January 2019

In charterparties where no expected time of arrival or readiness to load at the loading port is stated, the question will be whether an equivalent can be identified which can be used as the basis for an absolute obligation requiring the owners to proceed to the loading port by a particular time. The Court of Appeal recently held that the itinerary for an intermediate voyage was such an equivalent.

Supreme Court clarifies distribution of interest component in global limitation fund
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 09 January 2019

In a recent judgment in the Full City limitation fund proceedings, the Supreme Court clarified how a global limitation fund established pursuant to the Norwegian Maritime Code should be distributed. The court held that the interest component in the limitation fund should be distributed only on the claims for interest and not on the other claims filed in the fund because vessel owners' limitation of liability should remain the same regardless of whether a limitation fund is established.

Clarity on barratry – exceptions in Hague-Visby Rules under scrutiny in Commercial Court
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 December 2018

A 2017 Commercial Court judgment clarifies the concept of barratry and confirms that there is no qualification to fire when seeking to rely on the fire defence under the Hague or Hague-Visby Rules (assuming that the vessel is seaworthy and that the fire was not caused by the actual fault or privity of the owner). It also confirms that, absent fire, an owner cannot escape liability for deliberate wrongful acts of the crew under the Hague or Hague-Visby Rules even if there is no actual fault or privity on its part.

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