Ebola Virus Resource page

In response to the current Ebola Virus outbreak the Club has collated resources and advice from internal and external sources. The resource page is accessible here.

Safe port and Ebola virus disease

Since the first confirmed outbreaks in Guinea in March 2014, the Ebola virus has continued to spread, with many recorded deaths and more cases being reported.

The disease has escalated at a tremendous rate, with theWorld Health Organisation recording more than 15,000 confirmed cases and over 5,500 deaths as at the end of November 2014, seven months later. The main affected regions are still Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, though a small number of cases have been reported in other countries, spread by travel from an affected region.

The outbreak has raised concerns in the shipping industry, particularly in relation to the obligations and liabilities of owners and charterers under their contracts when trading in Ebola-affected areas.Most standard charterparties do not contain clauses specifically drafted to deal with the contractual issues arising in respect of Ebola-affected ports.

Although some fever and epidemics clauses do exist, they have fallen out of common usage in recent years and where they are used there has been uncertainty as to whether and how they apply to the present situation. In the absence of applicable clauses, a key question amongst a number of issues that can arise is whether a particular port in an Ebola-affected area can be considered as an unsafe port such as to give a shipowner the ability to refuse his charterer’s orders to proceed there.

Read more in the Legal Briefing.

Staff Author