December, 2021 - ASBAGASVOY form
- Date: 17/12/2021
The ASBAGASVOY form, originally drafted and released in September 2020, has seen an uptake in usage this year as the liquefied gas market continues to grow. The cargo carrying capacity in the LPG trade has doubled in the last decade and the recent trends show record production of natural gas liquids in the US to meet an increased demand in Asia. The form has been drafted to take the place of the ASBATANKVOY for gas tanker charters.
ASBATANKVOY, which was last updated in 1977, is also now undergoing revision for an update, but its use for the LPG trades with supplementary rider clauses to address the various gas specific issues should start to reduce. The prevailing view in the market is that the use of a bespoke proforma tailored to the gas industry will help to reduce risk, liability and disputes going forward and of course make things simpler and easier for the contracting parties.
Some features of the ASBAGASVOY which differ from the ASBATANKVOY include:
- Tank capacity in cubic meters, not cargo weight.
- Only the last cargo to be declared, not the last two cargoes and the distinction between full and part cargoes has been removed.
- Load and discharge temperatures to be set by the charterer.
- The owner’s warranty of knowledge of cargo characteristics, handling and safety requirements.
- Commission on freight, deadfreight and demurrage.
- Choice of arbitration forum to include Singapore.
- Small claims arbitration provision for anything under USD100,000.
The presentation clause at clause 18 is central to the transportation of gas. This sets out how the owner is to present the tanks to the charterer and will be central to issues such as tendering NOR, laytime and cancellation. The proforma provides for a choice of three presentation options: i) the owner to provide tanks under vapours / heel of last cargo, cooled as per terminal regulations, which is a generic presentation clause mainly for LPG ii) the owner to provide tanks liquid free under vapours, which is a generic presentation clause for pressurised gas tankers or iii) another bespoke option as agreed between the parties, which may suit the use of petrochemical gases for example, for which the ASBAGASVOY optional additional clauses have also been prepared.
The ASBAGASVOY is accompanied by a corresponding bespoke bill of lading, the ASBAGASSBILL. Where ASBAGASBILL is used together with ASBAGASVOY there is no need to specifically include a Himalaya Clause as this is contained in the bill, but a similar clause may need to be added to the agreed contract terms where another bill of lading is to be used.
The form was drafted through BIMCO and ASBA and Stephen Harper, Head of Legal, Shipping at BW Group, who sits on the drafting committee explained that “Developing ASBAGASVOY and revising ASBATANKVOY are probably two of the most timely projects for their respective trades. When we drafted ASBAGASVOY, there was no tailor made form for gas tankers and developing one based on the much used ASBATANKVOY form seemed an obvious choice. I believe the rapid uptake we are seeing of the form confirms this. Following on from ASBAGASVOY with a much needed revision of ASBATANKVOY is an important step for the tanker market and I am delighted to co-chair the project together with Søren Wolmar.”
Mr Harper spearheads the project together with Søren Wolmar of Quincannon, who is Chairman of ASBA’s Documentary Committee.