The new clause was adopted in October of this year and the full wording can be found here: https://www.bimco.org/contracts-and-clauses/bimco-clauses/current/cii-clause-for-voyage-charter-parties-2023
As with the clause for Time Charters, on which see our earlier article: https://themecogroup.co.uk/bimco-cii-clause-for-time-charters-adopted-is-it-in-charterers-interests/
This new clause is aimed at helping the parties to cooperate to ensure the vessel complies with its obligations to reduce carbon emissions.
- The key point is sub-clause (a) which entitles the Owners/Master to adjust the vessel’s course or speed or RPM provided that the vessel’s speed, basis good weather, does not fall below a speed to be specified in the clause. The clause also requires the parties to insert their definition of “good weather”.
- Providing the vessel complies with (a) then there is no breach of any obligation relating to the usual or customary route or due dispatch. Agreed laycan is unaffected – even if the vessel changes course or reduces speed.
- Charterers are under an obligation to ensure that the terms of bills of lading or any other documents evidencing the contract of carriage do not put Owners in breach of the contract of carriage when Owners exercise their rights under this clause.
- The clause is without prejudice to any other rights under the charterparty which entitle the vessel to proceed below the minimum speed set out in sub-clause (a).
- Sub-clause (e) requires that within an agreed number of days of final discharge, Owners shall make available the types and quantities of fuel consumed under the charterparty and the distance travelled both in ballast and laden.
BIMCO’s explanatory notes make clear that sub-clause (a) is not a “carte blanche” for Owners to operate at any low speed. Owners must comply with the prescribed limits in sub-clause (a). Owners and charterers should agree when concluding the charterparty what the minimum speed should be as well as the definition of good weather as otherwise the clause is unworkable.
As speed and consumption warranties in voyage charterparties are relatively rare, the reference to such may be deleted if appropriate. Laycan is unaffected for commercial reasons – charterers need to be able to rely on the laycan to plan loading of cargo.
Sub-clause (e) allows charterers to request access to the information on fuel and distance to enable them to perform their own CII calculations.
The drafting committee drew attention to the potential impact of delays at the loading or discharge ports and the vessel’s performance under MARPOL Carbon Intensity Regulations. It was decided this was too complex to be included in the clause, but the parties need to be aware of this as it is possible that the laytime/demurrage provisions may not adequately address losses or adverse impact in relation to the Regulations caused by delay. Should this issue arise, the parties will need to engage in commercial discussions, and it is envisaged that this risk may result in increased laytime/demurrage rates in some circumstances.
Any negative impact on compliance with the Regulations relating to revised voyage orders, for example interim port calls, which could result in shorter or more intense voyages, would need to be discussed between the parties as there is unlikely to be one solution that suits all situations.