SeaWorks started off a number of projects in 2023, a new year, new chances. One of the matters to take care of when taking care of transport projects is to have good insurance for the activities.

Consequently, SeaWorks and their insurance company have met to discuss the terms & conditions for the New Year. After more than two years of stress about covid which led to all sorts of problems (as well as challenges), insurance companies have come up with a new exclusion namely the ‘communicable disease exclusion’. Covid may be behind us, other varieties, for instance H5N1, the bird flu or other virulent diseases, may affect the world in (near) future and who knows what more may come along in the coming years (remember also SARS, Ebola etc). Due to the extreme lock downs by covid, various claims have emerged which still have to be sought out.

This caused BIMCO to look into a wording to cover the problems encountered by Carriers and Merchants alike. The result is that BIMCO has drawn up a wording which comes down to that a vessel is not obliged to proceed or continue to a place which has become an affected area upon and after the date of an agreement, at the reasonable judgement of the Owners and or Master. It may seem not a big problem however if a Merchant is having cargo on board a ship and the Owners decide that the port of discharge is an affected area, since it is declared (like we have seen in China) by local authorities a place of pandemic, the cargo can be, in principle, off loaded at a  port of convenience for the Owners and the voyage/responsibility ceases. The Merchant will be left with the obligation to get his cargo to the final port of discharge as initially agreed in the contract. It especially affects Merchants and they can consider to take out insurance for this matter. Therefore, Merchants should contact their insurance company whether the company will cover this contagious disease matters. Some insurance companies have excluded same which leaves Merchants/Charterers with a problem in case Owners/Master decide that the port of loading or discharging is an affected area.

Most important though is that Merchants and Owners agree to a workable wording to cover this matter so that business can be conducted according transparant agreements.

Hence it will be also workable for insurance companies.

SeaWorks assist Merchants and Charterers and Owners with their contracts matters and questions with the goal that they can do at which they are good and rest assured being well covered by their contracts.

You can call upon us for advice and assistance for drafting wording and Charter Parties alike.

SeaWorks is a breakbulk and project specialist serving clients, shippers and receivers, in moving their cargos and help them with their transport needs. SeaWorks also offers consultancy and contractual advice including assistance in disputes over seaborn transportation.