November 25 - International shipping organisation Bimco has introduced an anti-corruption clause for charter parties.

The new clause will give owners and charterers a contractual platform for cooperative action to resist demands for illegal payments from port officials and others, said Bimco.

"Bimco recognises the importance of a united approach by the shipping industry towards stamping out corruption in the ports and places where the world's merchant fleet trades," said Bimco secretary general Angus Frew.

"Use of the clause is entirely voluntary - it has been developed for owners and charterers who want to combat corrupt practices in ports by using a clearly worded framework in their charter parties."

The clause can be used in any jurisdiction, because it applies the anti-corruption laws applicable to each of the parties and the local law of the place where the ship is located, explained Bimco.

A key provision of Bimco's anti-corruption clause is a mechanism for owners to issue a note of protest if an illegal demand is made and the demand is not withdrawn. This triggers a cooperative response by charterers and owners to the demand.

Inga Froysa, part of Bimco's documentary committee, who headed up the drafting team for the new clause, said: "Our objective is to provide the industry with a fair and balanced clause. The clause addresses owners' and charterers' responsibility to comply with anti-corruption legislation and helps them to work together to resist demands for illegal payments."

You can see a copy of the anti-corruption clause here.