BIMCO has published a clause to help ship owners conduct crew changes amid Covid-19 restrictions.

The clause is designed to give owners the ability to deviate from scheduled port calls to facilitate crew changes, in instances where Covid-19 restrictions would otherwise prevent these. Such deviations would consequently not be deemed an infringement or breach of contract.

Additionally, in light of the potentially high cost of making a crew change amid Covid-19, it provides an option for charterers to contribute.

“Although the cost of crew changes is usually for owners’ account under a charter party, the extraordinary and unusual circumstances created by Covid-19 have left some owners unable to conduct crew changes on the ship’s trade route,” explained Soren Larsen, deputy secretary general at BIMCO.

“With crew now on board for periods extending beyond their contracts of employment, owners need to have the flexibility to deviate to an alternative place if crew changes cannot be done at the places where the ship is ordered by charterers. This clause is designed to help them with that process and to encourage charterers to assist.”

The clause is available to download from the BIMCO website, along with explanatory notes providing a guide to its use and application.