June, 2020 - COVID-19 and unsafe ports

  • Date: 16/06/2020
June, 2020 - COVID-19 and unsafe ports

The spread of COVID-19 throughout the world has the potential to endanger ships and crew. Already, many owners and charterers have experienced costs and delays, as well as more personal anxieties, as a result of the potential for crews to become infected while in port. Given these costs and delays, questions have arisen as to whether ordering a ship to a COVID-19 infected port might constitute a breach of the charterer’s safe port warranty.

COVID-19 and port safety

It is important to recognise at the outset that not all charterparties contain a safe port warranty (whether express or implied), and that some safe port warranties impose qualified duties requiring the exercise of due diligence to ensure safety. This article considers the position where a charterparty contains an absolute safe port warranty.

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