Ship and cranes at Mariupol Port

Another success for the BIMCO Holiday Calendar and BIMCO Advice

Published: 03 August 2022

A recent dispute about laytime in a Ukrainian port was dropped as soon as BIMCO’s advice about holiday legislation and labour laws was received.

Laytime is an all too frequent source of disagreement between owners and charterers.

Large amounts of money can be involved.

This is where BIMCO’s Holiday Calendar comes in. We have been publishing it annually for many years for purchase by anyone, and if you are a BIMCO member you can also consult it online, benefitting from ongoing updates.

What exactly is the definition of a “holiday”?

BIMCO applies a definition derived from a 1979 London arbitration award and printed in the BIMCO Holiday Calendar:

“A holiday, by law and accepted practice, is a day which the competent authority has declared or decreed to be a holiday. It is irrelevant whether work is or is not performed on such holiday, or whether work is charged at normal or overtime rates [...] What matters and the only point which matters is whether the competent authority has declared the day in question to be a holiday”.

Note: the arbitration award must be read in context with linguistic and cultural differences.

The case in Ukraine

Ukraine has imposed martial law and the articles in the Labour code governing holidays have been suspended as a result. This is what led to the disagreement between the owner and the charterer.

In Ukraine, in common with countries such as the UK and the US, if a holiday falls on a Sunday, then special working arrangements are applied or transferred to the following day (Monday) to compensate workers for the fact that the holiday coincided with a day they would not anyway have worked.

In this particular case, the holiday was 1 May, which fell on a Sunday meaning that special working arrangements would be applied to Monday 2 May.

  • The charterers therefore considered that laytime would not run on that day. They said that as 1 May was a Sunday, the holiday normally held that day was instead held on 2 May.
  • The owners disagreed and pointed to the Ukrainian martial law which had suspended holidays. The owners thus felt that 2 May was not a holiday and that laytime would run on that day.

BIMCO advised that because of martial law suspending the law on holidays in the labour law of Ukraine, the owners were correct to argue that 2 May was not a holiday – and that even 1 May could arguably not be considered a holiday under BIMCO’s definition.

“We are happy to inform you that Charterers have accepted BIMCO’s comments and paid demurrage in full in line with Owners' laytime calculation.”

If you are a BIMCO member, you can see our Holiday Calendar online, browse our Support & Advice or contact us with specific questions. You can also purchase a printed copy with member discount.

Non-members can purchase the printed copy of the Holiday Calendar.

Johan Conrad


Johan Conrad

Manager, Maritime Information

Copenhagen, Denmark