Ship Law Log

Comment and analysis by Reed Smith lawyers on the latest developments in the shipping industry

Singapore will soon be implementing the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims of 1976 (as amended in 2012 and effective from 2015), following the passing of the Merchant Shipping (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill. With the passing of the Bill, Singapore’s limitation of liability regime for maritime claims will be aligned with leading maritime jurisdictions such as England and Hong Kong, which have acceded to the 1996 Protocol as revised with…
On Monday, March 25, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) updated the advisory document it published in November 2018 on the risks for parties involved in petroleum shipments to Syria. The update adds to the list of deceptive shipping practices used to obfuscate the destination of petroleum bound for Syria and the measures that members of the petroleum shipping community can take to mitigate these risks. This guidance…
Two Ocean Tankers’ vessels were held in Houthi-controlled Hodeidah, Yemen in 2016 due to a payment dispute. That dispute – for around US$19 million (excluding interest) – has now been decided by an interesting commercial court decision that highlights the importance of careful wording in demurrage provisions. Background The claimant, Gunvor SA (the Seller), entered into a contract (the Sale Contract) in April 2015 with CruGas Yemen Ltd (and/or CruGas Ltd) (the Buyer) for the…
After several years of very low activity in the mobile offshore rig market, green shoots of growth are starting to appear. Clients in all areas of the market, including owners, charterers and builders of both rigs and drillships have reported increased activity and appetite for investment. While many are still evaluating the costs and benefits of re-commissioning assets that have spent long periods in stack (whether cold, warm or smart) or buying on the secondary…
There has been a tendency for reference to be made to Regulation 18 (of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978) as containing ‘exceptions’ to Regulation 14 (of the same), which sets out the maximum sulphur content limits for marine fuels.  While this may be a convenient short-hand description, it can lead to misunderstandings. In drafting Annex VI, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) deliberately left…
On January 18, the European Commission published guidelines outlining the impact a no-deal Brexit will have on the recognition and enforcement of UK judgments in the remaining 27 EU countries (EU 27). The Commission states that where the judgment concerned requires exequatur, and the UK court has obtained exequatur before March 29 (or any extended exit date) but the judgment has not yet been enforced in an EU 27 country, then that judgment can still…
After several successful trials over the last year, Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, Zim, has implemented a blockchain platform for electronic bills of lading.  According to Zim, this technology could replace paper bills of lading and further improve other activities which rely on physical means of transfer. Zim recently conducted several transactions in which bills of lading were transferred to the receiver less than two hours from the vessel’s departure, a process that typically takes…
On 21 December 2018 we commented on the newly released BIMCO clauses intended to address the International Maritime Organization’s revised sulphur content limits with regard to the consumption and carriage of marine fuel (in accordance with Regulation 14 of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978, MARPOL), which enter into force on 1 January and 1 March 2020 respectively.…
On 5 October 2018, the English Court of Appeal confirmed the High Court decision in National Challenge Ltd. v. Evergreen Marine (UK) Ltd [2017] EWHC 453 (Admlty) that the crossing rule does not apply where one vessel is approaching a narrow channel intending to enter it and another vessel is navigating in the narrow channel intending to exit it, so as to involve risk of collision. This decision seeks to provide certainty in such situations…
The Merchant Shipping (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill was read in the Singapore Parliament for the first time on 19 November 2018. The Bill proposes to make a number of significant amendments to Singapore’s merchant shipping legislation. These include: enacting the International Convention on Salvage 1989 as part of Singapore law; and adopting the 1996 Protocol to amend the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976. The Bill is expected to be debated in parliament…