Although there’s light at the end of the tunnel insofar as the pandemic is concerned, we continue to see Covid-related disputes. The latest question from one of our retained clients concerns time lost as a consequence of having unvaccinated crew members on board.
A number of ports now require vaccination certificates for all crew members before a ship can clear free pratique. That has consequences for ship owners when it comes to tendering a valid Notice of Readiness. As ship owners cannot force their crews to take the vaccine, it follows that unvaccinated crew members may need to be repatriated at the ship owner’s cost.
We have also experienced issues with ships calling at ports where quarantine restrictions apply depending on the vessel’s prior trading history. For example, ships cannot call at Indonesia if they have previously called at Hong Kong within 14 days. It follows that a vessel delivered in Hong Kong for Indonesian business may end up having to wait before she can enter the Indonesian port to load.
Covid-related issues continue to create serious problems for ship owners and operators. As well as helping our clients deal with disputes, we are also helping retained clients respond to these issues via bespoke clauses in their charters.
Constantin von Hirsch