PHOTO: Grant Hunter, BIMCO, panellist on the “Legal requirements of the bunker industry” session at FUJCON 2017.
BIMCO’s Head of Contracts and Clauses, Grant Hunter, speaking at the 10th Fujairah Bunkering and Fuel Oil Forum (FUJCON) said, “there may be no ‘magic bullet’ for bunker contracts against the risk of double payment”. Hunter told the 400 delegates from 35 countries that BIMCO had put together a team of key stakeholders from the industry including bunker traders, physical suppliers and buyers to study the issue. They had spent a lot of time examining proposed clauses for the BIMCO Terms 2015 standard bunker contract to see if any of them could offer real contractual protection against double payment in the post-OW Bunker era.
According to Hunter:
While it is important that BIMCO shows leadership, as a responsible organisation we also have to make sure that we don’t come up with contractual solutions that lack certainty. Something that works in some jurisdictions but might not work in others may give people a false sense of security – and that’s not helpful. You can’t contract out of national bankruptcy laws, and that’s the problem.
PHOTO: FUJCON, now in its 10th year attracts a broad audience of 400 delegates from 25 countries. It is held in Fujairah every second year. The next one will be in March 2019.
The BIMCO Terms are becoming ever-more widely used across the bunker industry. Hunter told delegates that:
one positive thing to come out of the OW Bunker collapse has been that the industry is now much more focussed on harmonising terms and conditions up and down the contract chain, so the availability of the BIMCO Terms is very timely.
BIMCO is working on a revised edition of the Terms that will make them more appealing to all stakeholders, through compromises if necessary to make it work. The updated version should be available later this year. But its first task is to publish some advice on important steps to consider and potential perils to avoid before concluding a bunker contract.
The review teams next meets on 18 April in Copenhagen where they will continue their review work and finalise the advice note. They plan to make the revised BIMCO Terms available for feedback by the industry over the summer.
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