BIMCO has published an updated version of its widely used Hull Fouling Clause for Time Charter Parties. The new edition more clearly sets out the circumstances and point in time when responsibility for hull cleaning passes from owner to time charterer.
BIMCO says that there have been reported occasions when charterers have ordered an anchored ship to steam for several hours in an attempt to “stop the clock counting” on the number of agreed idling days, after which performance warranties are suspended and charterers become responsible for cleaning the hull.
Although it’s not possible to state for every ship what amount of speed and duration is required to remove hull fouling, short movements of just a few hours are not adequate. The revised wording clarifies that for the agreed waiting period to be reset, the ship has to perform a sea passage of sufficient duration and speed to remove the hull fouling. The paint manufacturer’s recommendations may provide some guidance on this – but factors such as the condition and age of the ship’s marine coating and the degree of fouling, also need to be considered.
It is very important for parties to agree on the aggregated idling period after which the ship’s performance warranties will be suspended. The updated edition of the clause retains the 15 days default if the parties don’t specify an alternative number of days. This is purely a safeguard to avoid disputes.
The Hull Fouling Clause for Time Charter Parties 2019 is available to download from BIMCO’s website or from SmartCon’s Clause Library.