Shipping firms could be sued for breach of contract if they try to offset costs by ‘slow steaming’
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Ship operators that slow down to save on fuel costs risk being sued for breach of charterparty, warned the North of England P&I club.
The club advised its members to check their contractual position carefully before ordering vessels to slow steam.
According to Tony Baker, North of England’s head of loss prevention, ‘Mirroring similar actions in the air, road and rail transport industries to offset costs and reduce environmental impact, many ship operators are considering whether to adopt a ‘slow steaming’ policy. However, before making the decision to slow steam, owners and charterers alike need to ensure their position is protected – both under the terms of the relevant charterparties and under the bills of lading.’
“Before making the decision to slow steam, owners and charterers alike need to ensure their position is protected.
Tony Baker, North of England's head of loss prevention
The club said slowed ships could be exposed to suits such as failing to ‘proceed with reasonable despatch’.
‘Another possible risk might be indemnity claims under the charterparty for losses suffered under the bill of lading contract,’ said Baker.