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Saturday, January 20, 2018

SARS - laytime considerations

The general position under English law is that the actual obtaining of free pratique is not a requirement before a ship may be considered ready. The reason being that normally the obtaining of free pratique will be a mere formality.

This is because a vessel's crew is typically clear of any infection and the vessel has not been to an area at risk of infectious diseases and there will be no need for an inspection of the vessel, and thus a declaration by the master will be sufficient. If, however, the obtaining of free pratique is not a mere formality then a valid NOR will not be able to be given until clearance from the relevant authority has been obtained. For example, in Dammam an NOR should only be tendered once the port health officials have been on board and certified the vessel's crew as not affected by SARS. Whilst at Manama it appears that vessels from a SARS zone will be quarantined and during this period the vessel cannot be considered ready in the legal sense. Once the quarantine is lifted and the vessel is cleared the master may tender NOR. Where a state refuses shore leave only this will not affect a vessel's readiness. Once a vessel has been cleared then an NOR may be tendered it is not generally necessary for the vessel to have actually received the certificate of free pratique. It is worthwhile to point out that a premature invalid notice will be of no effect and a fresh NOR must be tendered when the vessel is actually ready. If the master is in any doubt multiple NOR's should be issued each without prejudice to the validity of any earlier notice tendered.

Members requiring further information or advice on a specific case should  contact John Fawcett-Ellis