Covid-19 Outbreak

Since the first reported case on 31st December, 2019, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus has spread from its origins in Wuhan across China and internationally.  On 30th January, 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.  On 11th February, the disease was given an official name: “COVID-19".

The outbreak has very quickly had a significant impact on shipping and trade and has posed a number of contractual issues under charterparties, shipbuilding contracts and other commercial agreements. 

To guide our Members, we have prepared a number of contractual FAQs, which we will keep updated as the situation develops.

FAQs       Country Guide       Impact on Litigation     Clauses     Contractual Issues​​​​​​​

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Among the many serious knock-on effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact on crew has been a topic of particular concern within the shipping industry. Many ports have imposed restrictions or prohibitions on crew changes, leading to delays whilst joining crew are quarantined, or a need to deviate ships from their intended port rotation in order to effect essential crew changes. Aside from the clear humanitarian issues posed by this crisis, parties also need to consider the contractual impacts that may arise.

As governments world-wide have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, implemented travel restrictions and increased border controls to insulate themselves from the risk of imported transmissions, the human cost to the shipping industry has been and remains significant.   BIMCO has recently developed a clause for time charterparties which attempts to address some of the problems that have been encountered. 

It has become apparent that the presence of COVID-19 on-board a ship poses a serious threat both to its crew and its ability to trade. Does this mean an infected port is unsafe and, if it does, what should owners and charterers do?

新冠病毒疫情和不安全港口 船上出现新冠病毒对船员的安全和船舶的航贸能力都构成严重威胁,这已经是显而易见的事实。这 是否意味着受疫情影响的港口都是不安全的?答案若是肯定的,那么船东和租家又该如何应对?

Following the advent of COVID-19, many ports have imposed quarantine restrictions on ships arriving from affected areas or with possible infection on-board. There have also been associated delays due to the closure or restriction of operations in certain ports or unavailability of cargo. Against this backdrop, we have seen various disputes as to whether hire should be payable for the duration of such delays. Can a charterer legitimately refuse to pay hire during periods of delay due to the virus?

新冠病毒对定期租船合同下租金支付义务的影响 新冠病毒出现后,许多港口对来自疫情地区的船舶或船上出现疑似感染病例的船舶实施了隔离管制措施。随着某些港口关闭或限制作业,或出现无法取得货物的问题,迟延问题随之发生。在这种背景下,围绕着迟延期间租金是否应付的问题出现了各种纠纷。租家是否有权拒绝支付因病毒引起的迟延期间的租金?

The recent months have seen an unprecedented surge in the use of tankers as floating storage for oil and petroleum products caused by a perfect storm of collapsing demand for such products due to the COVID-19 pandemic - leading to the rapid overwhelming of onshore storage capacity - together with falling oil prices. The use of a tanker for such storage may have a range of practical and legal implications that arise from using a ship in a manner that was not contemplated or specifically provided for by the relevant charterparty.

新冠病毒疫情加剧浮式储油风险 近几个月来,由于新冠病毒疫情导致石油及油类产品需求锐减,使用油轮作为浮式储油库储存石油及油类产品达到了前所未有的高峰——新冠病毒疫情导致在岸存储容量迅速用尽——同时伴随着油价下跌。由于使用油轮储存石油及油类产品,并非相关租约设定的或者具体规定的使用方式,这可能会带来一系列实务上和法律上的影响。

The impact of coronavirus on international arbitration and litigation: are virtual hearings a solution? The COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly developed into a pandemic, causing wide-scale disruption as countries around the world battle to prevent the further spread of the virus. In a world where all but essential travel has been restricted and social distancing is the new norm a key concern for those parties who have ongoing legal proceedings is whether or not their case will proceed.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect global trade, this briefing considers the particular issues facing parties to shipbuilding contracts. The disruption caused by COVID-19 is being felt harshly by some shipbuilders and buyers, as yards struggle to maintain their significant workforce and encounter difficulties in securing materials.


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