BIMCO has produced a COVID-19 Crew Change Clause for Time Charter Parties in response to the extraordinary circumstances faced by many owners whose crew have had to remain on board during the COVID-19 “lockdown” for periods often extending beyond their contracts of employment.
Although travel restrictions are beginning to ease, there are still restrictions in many countries impacting on crew changes. The new clause is designed to give owners the liberty to deviate for crew changes under tightly defined circumstances. It also provides an option for charterers to contribute to the crew change in recognition of the potentially high cost of making a COVID-19 related crew change.
“Although the cost of crew changes is usually for owners’ account under a charter party, the extraordinary and unusual circumstances created by COVID-19 have left some owners unable to conduct crew changes on the ship’s trade route. With crew now on board for periods extending beyond their contracts of employment, owners need to have the flexibility to deviate to an alternative place if crew changes can’t be done at the places where the ship is ordered by charterers. This clause is designed to help them with that process and to encourage charterers to assist,” says Soren Larsen, Deputy Secretary General, BIMCO.
The clause is available to download from the BIMCO website along with explanatory notes providing a guide to its use and application.