BIMCO has published a COVID-19 crew change clause for time charter parties 2020, in response to the extraordinary circumstances faced by ship owners. Many crew members are still on board as a result of the COVID-19 measures, while their employment contracts have already expired.
The clause is intended for use in time charter parties, where it is not known in advance which countries the ship will call and what the possibilities are for changing crew members. Under the clause, the shipowner is given the option to deviate under certain circumstances for crew changes.
‘’Although the cost of crew changes are usually borne by the owners under a time charter party, the extraordinary and unusual circumstances caused by COVID-19 have resulted in some owners not being able to perform crew changes on the ship’s trade route. Now that the crew is on board for a period beyond their employment contract, owners should have the opportunity to stray to an alternative location if the crew cannot be changed in locations where the ship is under contract by charterers.
The clause can be downloaded from the BIMCO website at https://www.bimco.org/contracts-and-clauses/bimco-clauses/current/covid-19-crew-change-clause-for-time-charter-parties-2020.
Members should, however, take into account that in certain circumstances a deviation may constitute an unjustified deviation within the meaning of Rule 17 paragraph 4. In case of doubt, we recommend contacting us to confirm whether the deviation will have any implications for insurance cover. Of course we are also available to advise in the formulation of your agreements or to give specific advice about a new destination or cargo. Our members can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.