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Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Italian ports – COW expenses – charterparty clauses should make adequate provision

For Italian ports Worldscale includes for charterers’ account:
“(a) Additional items of port costs (such as RINA Inspection, Port Chemist, launches, standby tug) incurred as a result of crude oil washing (COW) carried out to comply with charterer’s specific instructions.”

There is a mandatory requirement under Regulation 13B of Annex 1 of MARPOL 73/78 which makes it obligatory for a tanker to crude oil wash tanks before departure on a ballast voyage. Approximately one quarter of the cargo tanks shall be crude oil washed for sludge control purposes on a rotational basis.

This obligation of owners is inconsistent with a number of COW charter clauses which are encountered regularly in current voyage charters.


  1. “Charterers shall have the option to require cow” or
  2. “No crude oil washing shall be performed at discharge port” or
  3. “Crude oil washing to be performed at charterers’ discretion” or
  4. “Owners shall conduct crude oil washing if required by charterer”.

It is clear that the effect of such clauses is that time taken by owners in complying with their MARPOL obligations will be for their own account. Furthermore, since Worldscale provides for costs to be for charterers’ account when resulting from “charterers’ specific instructions”, then RINA costs would have to fall on owners instead. It is possible to avoid such a result by the inclusion of a clauses like the following;
“Notwithstanding anything elsewhere herein contained, the vessel shall be entitled to wash tanks with crude oil in accordance with MARPOL requirements and any time spent in crude oil washing in accordance with MARPOL rules shall count as laytime or time on demurrage (up to a maximum of . . . per tank so washed).”

“Notwithstanding anything elsewhere herein contained, the charterer shall pay Rina COW expenses incurred in Italy as per provisions of the applicable Worldscale Schedule terms and conditions.”

SARAS issues new standard terms for use with Asbatankvoy
The Italian charterers SARAS have issued a new set of standard terms dated January 2001 for use with Asbatankvoy. In particular we have noted that the freight clause (clause 9) provides that freight will not be paid before four (4) Italian working days after receipt by fax of owners’ freight invoice. Also the time bar clause provides that owners must submit claims with documentation within 60 days of completion of discharge.

For a copy of these terms, please e-mail Michele White

OMVOY 2001 charterparty form published
The Austrian charterers OMV have issued a new form of voyage charter. One of the provisions we have noted is that where a port prohibits night time berthing, a Notice of Readiness may only be tendered between official sunrise and sunset. Given that under English law a Notice of Readiness if tendered at the wrong time or place will be ineffective owners should comply with this provision so as to ensure that laytime or time on demurrage begins to run. Owners are advised to tender Notice of Readiness upon arrival and if there is a night time berthing restriction the Notice should be tendered again at sunrise without prejudice to the validity of any Notices of Readiness tendered earlier.

It should also be noted that this charter gives jurisdiction to the High Court of Justice in London for disputes. Proceedings must be commenced within thirteen (13) months of completion of the voyage. The clause is widely drafted and would include demurrage claims.

Contact: Michele White