BIMCO has produced a COVID-19 Crew Change Clause for Time Charter Parties in response to the difficulties 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.
The clause is intended for use in longer term time charter parties where owners will not know at the time of fixing the charter the places to which the ship will be traded and/or the travel restrictions at those places when crew changes become due. This clause is designed to give owners the liberty to deviate for crew changes under tightly defined circumstances. Owners intending to deviate must nevertheless inform the Club to ascertain that the deviation will not prejudice their P&I cover, prior to doing so. The clause 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 clause is specific to the current COVID-19 outbreak, it can also be applied to any subsequent “second wave” of the virus that may occur in the future.
A copy of the clause with explanatory notes providing a guide to the clause’s use and application is attached.
Members are further directed to the Club’s Covid-19 site for additional guidance and FAQs on Covid-19 issues.