The last few weeks have seen a dramatic increase in enquiries from clients facing serious problems resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. These include:
- the consequences of delays at ports caused by the virus
- crew fears over being exposed to the virus as a result of voyage orders provided by charterers
- casualties on vessels where surveyors and experts cannot attend on board
- cargo which cannot be unloaded at certain ports
- allegations of force majeure
- issues relating to delays and termination of shipbuilding contracts
Each day brings a different problem.
Aside from shipping, the pandemic is also causing problems for many trading clients who are either unable to ship certain cargoes or who have experienced serious delays with cargoes stuck on ships. There are also insurance-related issues and it is far from clear if underwriters will pay out under insurance policies.
In short, there is likely to be a substantial increase in litigation and arbitration as a consequence of the pandemic. With that in mind, we have established a BDM Covid-19 response team. Headed by our partner Pav Samothrakis, the team is keeping track of the effects of the virus on our clients’ various business activities so as to anticipate the legal problems that may be encountered. Pav and the team will continue to post any interesting developments via the BDM Blog over the coming days and weeks. However, if clients have any specific questions relating to Covid-19 they should not hesitate to contact Pav for more details on firstname.lastname@example.org.