Standard clause for year-2000 problems
WONG JOON SAN
The Baltic and International Maritime Council (Bimco) has drafted a standard clause addressing the year-2000 compliance obligations of charterers and owners.
'A vessel's year-2000 compliance is essentially a seaworthiness issue - an obligation that is already placed on the owners by the provisions of most voyage and time-charter parties,' Bimco said.
Earlier, it had said there was no legal need for a specific compliance clause because provisions relating to exercise of due diligence in making a vessel seaworthy were included in most voyage and time-charter agreements.
However, in response to requests from members, Bimco produced the clause to pre-empt a proliferation of different, more onerous clauses in charter parties.
The standard clause was developed in co-operation with the International Group of P&I Clubs.
Bimco said use of the year-2000 clause did not extend the owner's liabilities beyond those of the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules.
This ensured the owners' P&I Club cover would not be prejudiced by incorporating the clause into their charter parties.
Bimco said the clause was broadly worded to extend compliance obligations beyond the vessel to hardware and software used by the charterers and the owners in their shore-side operations - such as the charterers' system for the transfer and payment of funds.