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The Shipowners’ Club: Legal costs cover and IMO 2020

Maritime insurer discusses potential commercial disputes it foresees post IMO 2020, and outlines response parameters for legal costs covers.

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Cameron Shepherd, Claims Executive of The Shipowners’ Club, on Thursday (5 March) published a news article discussing the eligibility of legal costs cover (LCC) provided vis a vis the possible disputes that could arise in the foreseeable future:

Members will be aware, that from 1 January 2020, the MARPOL permitted limits for sulphur content in vessels’ bunker fuel were reduced from 3.50% mass by mass (m/m) to 0.50% m/m for vessels operating outside designated Emission Control Areas (‘Global Sulphur Cap’).

The Club anticipates that the implementation of the Global Sulphur Cap will result in an increased number of commercial disputes between Members and associated parties, including charterers, bunker suppliers, and fitters of scrubbers and the costs associated with such disputes can be high. The Club’s Legal Costs Cover (LCC) provides cover for Members’ legal fees and other related costs, in pursuing or resisting claims which arise out of these disputes.

This article highlights some of the potential types of disputes that the Club expects to arise over the coming months and outlines how LCC can respond.

Disputes over bunker quality

With the 2020 Global Sulphur Cap now in force, the demand for low sulphur fuel has increased. Inevitably, there have been concerns about the quality of certain blends of low sulphur fuel. The blends often have increased levels of catalytic fines (cat fines), which can embed in the soft metal surfaces in engines and act as an abrasive, escalating the rate of wear of engine components.  Furthermore, there are also concerns about the stability levels of blended low sulphur fuel and the risk that asphaltene content may precipitate out of solution. This can form sludge in engines, which can block engine filters and pipes.

Typically, under most time charterparties, it is time-charterers’ “absolute” obligation to provide bunkers that are of reasonable general quality and suitable for the vessel’s engines. The charterparty may also include an express provision stipulating the grade and type of fuel to be supplied is to be in conformance with relevant ISO 8217 standards. However, charterers are not obliged to meet any special requirements of the vessel’s engines, unless those requirements have been brought to charterers’ attention and specified in the charterparty.

Given these circumstances, the Club anticipates that there will be an increased number of disputes between owners and charterers over the quality of fuel supplied to the vessel by charterers. Conversely, charterers may allege defects with (or lack of maintenance of) the vessel’s engines and other machinery after the bunkers have been stemmed.

The Club recognises that many Members engage in operations in which they bear the responsibility for obtaining suitable bunkers. As such, Members may find themselves in a situation whereby a claim is made against the bunker supplier for damage to the vessel’s engines or machinery, on the basis that the bunkers supplied were unsuitable.

Claims involving damage to the vessel’s engines or machinery may be covered by the Club’s LCC, where the amount of the claim is below the applicable deductible under the relevant Hull &Machinery (H&M) policy.

Additionally, LCC may be available where the claim is above H&M deductible, but the H&M underwriters confirm they do not wish to pursue a recovery. In such cases, LCC can respond to help Members to recover their deductible amount from the responsible bunker supplier.

The merits of a recovery action against a bunker supplier may be dependent on the bunker supplier’s terms. Bunker suppliers often seek to impose strict terms as regards the notification of claims and very short time bars. The time limit for raising a claim can sometimes be as short as 15 days from delivery. Particularly in the case of larger bunker deliveries Members should, where possible, obtain samples at the vessel’s manifold to assist with identifying and dealing with any bunker quality issues that may arise.

Such disputes would fall within LCC, which covers the legal and technical/expert costs incurred in respect of claims, disputes or proceedings brought:

  1. Under any charterparty, bill of lading, contract of affreightment or other contract;
  2. In respect of the supply of inferior, unsatisfactory or unsuitable fuel, materials or equipment, or other necessaries.

Disputes in respect of scrubbers

Notwithstanding the Global Sulphur Cap, ships fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) can continue to carry and burn fuel with a sulphur content of more than 0.50%, subject to local port regulations or additional requirements relating to the use of open loop scrubbers and dealing with wash water.  With speculation that the shift to 0.50% sulphur content in fuel could result in an oversupply of high sulphur content fuel on the market (and associated price drops), some owners have elected to invest in retrofitting their vessels with scrubbers.

Whilst the vast majority of scrubbers will likely be installed with no issues, there is the possibility of scrubbers malfunctioning after installation, as can be seen in this video example.

Disputes or proceedings in respect of the supply of inferior, unsatisfactory or unsuitable scrubbers (or the negligent or unsatisfactory installation of a scrubber system) would fall within LCC offered by the Club.

Please contact the Club for further information regarding IMO 2020, and how LCC can assist in certain disputes that may arise.


Source:
The Shipowners’ Club
Photo credit: Helloquence on Unsplash
Published: 6 March, 2020

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Singapore: DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

To build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the MPA and Singapore Standards Council.

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Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU cover

FuelBoss, a subsidiary of DNV, and Singapore bunker supplier Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services (EMF) on Friday (19 April) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop digital bunkering capabilities for all marine fuels.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen the partnership between both organisations to build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Standards Council.

The scope of the MoU allows the development of integrated services across both organisations’ technological platforms to provide seamless operations, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes to industry stakeholders, international shipowners, bunker suppliers, and bunker traders for all marine fuels.

It will also enable the sharing of experience, materials, and expertise between the two organisations with the industry to accelerate the pace of digitalisation and support companies in implementing digital bunkering solutions.

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU 1

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

“We are committed to pioneering digital solutions that enhance the safety and trust in marine fuels transactions. This MoU with EMF underscores our dedication to advancing Digital Delivery and Live Delivery Insights in the maritime industry and we are honored to partner with them,” said Martin Wold, Head of FuelBoss.

“By collaboratively developing interoperable platforms that align with the latest data and security standards, we aim to set a new benchmark and replicate this for the rest of the industry.

“Our partnership with EMF will leverage both organisations' strengths to provide comprehensive, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes, benefiting all stakeholders in the maritime ecosystem.”

EMF is the leading supplier of marine fuels in Singapore in 2022 and 2023. As part of their growth strategy, EMF has been investing in digitally transforming the business and operations since 2018.

Over the years, EMF has integrated several of their systems to streamline operations and has built an in-house technology team to customise solutions to better serve their customers and stakeholders.

“We have always believed that digitalisation is one of the keys to the future for the Maritime industry. Over the years, we have participated in and supported the digital initiatives launched by MPA,” said Collin Ng, Chief Technology Officer of EMF.

“The digital bunkering initiative launched by MPA on 1 November 2023 is core to completing the digitalisation of the bunker supply chain for the industry.

“With the signing of the MoU with FuelBoss, we are looking forward to providing an extensive and comprehensive digital delivery platform for our collective customers and stakeholders.”

 

Photo credit: DNV FuelBoss
Published: 19 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech partners with EPS on electric vessel trials

YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, and EPS will perform trials involving the first cargo delivery with an electric vessel and the first crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore.

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SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

Yinson GreenTech (YGT), a leading green technology solutions provider, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), a global leader in maritime transportation, during Singapore Maritime Week 2024, both parties said in a joint statement on Thursday (18 April). 

This collaboration, spearheaded by YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, marks a significant step towards cleaner and more sustainable maritime operations in Singapore, with the following key milestones on the horizon:

Electric vessel deployments

  • First cargo delivery with an electric vessel in the Port of Singapore: marinEV and EPS aim to be at the forefront of maritime history by jointly facilitating the first cargo delivery using an electric vessel within the Port of Singapore. This aligns with both companies’ commitment to environmental responsibility and demonstrates their dedication to creating a net zero world.
  • First crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore: Recognising the critical role of crew transfers in maritime operations, marinEV and EPS will collaborate on the first crew transfer conducted by an electric vessel in Singapore. This trial will provide valuable data on the feasibility, efficiency, and safety of electric vessels for crew transportation, paving the way for wider industry adoption.

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

The Hydromover and Lake Herman

Building upon their commitment to sustainability, marinEV will enter into a collaborative agreement with EPS. This partnership aims to integrate electric vessels into last-mile delivery operations, significantly reducing Scope 3 emissions and contributing to a cleaner shipping industry. By jointly defining ambitious emission reduction goals, marinEV and EPS will work together to create a more sustainable future for maritime transportation.

“At Yinson GreenTech, we believe that collaboration is key to unlocking a cleaner future for our oceans. Our partnership with Eastern Pacific Shipping on these groundbreaking electric vessel deployments in Singapore signifies a major leap forward,” said Jan-Viggo Johansen, Managing Director of marinEV. 

“Together, we are not only making history but also paving the way for a future where clean and efficient transportation solutions become the norm. This is an exciting moment for us, and we are committed to working closely with EPS, our existing partners and other industry leaders to achieve a truly sustainable maritime landscape.

“It is heartening to see like-minded partners in the industry adopt the ‘act now’ approach like us, taking action and exploring innovative solutions on all fronts,” said Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer of EPS.

“This collaboration with Yinson GreenTech not only offers a greener transportation alternative, it also builds on the industry’s collective commitment to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping. We don’t do things because they are easy. We do it because they are difficult so that we leave no stones unturned in our efforts to decarbonise.”

Related: Yinson GreenTech all-electric crew transfer vessel to undergo sea trials in Singapore

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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Bunker Fuel

SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

Panel noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed.

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SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

The Maritime International Advisory Panel (IAP) held its third annual meeting on 16 April 2024, during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024. 

This year, the Maritime IAP held in-depth discussions on the key developments in the maritime sector, including decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation and cybersecurity. 

Members of the panel who were present included Hiroaki Sakashita, President and CEO, ClassNK, Stephen Fewster, Managing Director, Global Head, Shipping Finance, ING Bank, Nick Brown, CEO, Lloyd’s Register, and Jonathan Wright, Global Managing Partner, Global Finance and Supply Chain Transformation Service Line Leader, IBM.

Established in 2022 by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Maritime IAP aims to seek international perspectives on key long-term trends and developments that will shape the maritime industry. 

It comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance. Local industry and union leaders also joined the meeting to share their perspectives.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

Key Trends and Opportunities for the Maritime Sector

The Maritime IAP highlighted that despite geopolitical uncertainties and supply chain shifts, there were significant opportunities for the global maritime sector in the following areas:

  • Accelerating the green transition towards a low- and zero-carbon future, supported by important enablers such as financing for green shipping;
  • Deepening the utilisation of technology and digitalisation while strengthening cyber resilience; and
  • Training and re-skilling the maritime workforce to take on the new job opportunities of the future.

The Maritime IAP emphasised that Singapore plays an important role in facilitating global trade flows, supporting global maritime decarbonisation, and advancing maritime digitalisation and cyber-resilience. 

Singapore’s position as a trusted and established maritime eco-system could catalyse green financing solutions, unlock the benefits of deeper utilisation of technology and data, and position it as a training hub to develop the skills needed by the future maritime workforce.

Strengthening Maritime Ecosystem Amid Global Shifts and Green Transition

Against the backdrop of global uncertainties, the Maritime IAP highlighted that Singapore could be an important trade and maritime intermediary, given its status as a neutral, trusted, and leading maritime hub. With growing trade to emerging regions as trade flows shifted, the panel believed Singapore would be an important conduit for new trades going forward. The panel further suggested for Singapore to become a trusted maritime technology hub for the development, installation, and accreditation of critical technologies, especially for those fitted onboard ships.

The Maritime IAP noted that amidst the ongoing green transition, there would be competing demands for various low- or zero-carbon fuels (e.g. hydrogen, ammonia, methanol) from other sectors.

The Maritime IAP highlighted the need to draw on a wide range of green financing instruments and investments to catalyse change, address hurdles and accelerate the sector’s green transition. 

The panel also noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed. To address the financing needs of the sector, the panel suggested for maritime stakeholders to pool their needs, while demand aggregation would help smaller companies gain better access to suitable solutions and financing, and also allow financial institutions to better determine and manage the risks involved.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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