Deepwater Horizon ResponseThe impact on charter parties of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been highlighted by the UK Defence Club which has been dealing with queries from members about the situation.

While offering advice, the insurance club warned in mid-July that the situation and official requirements could change suddenly.

The Club said the main shipping lanes towards the Mississippi appeared to be clear of oil and the US Coast Guard (USCG) had no plans to restrict traffic using the Southwest Pass, the river’s main channel for commercial shipping.

The USCG had organised two ship cleaning stations near the Southwest Pass where ships fouled by oil stains should stop for cleaning before proceeding into the river. It had placed restrictions on the three other passes to the Mississippi and imposed a No Wake Zone near the booms deployed to help protect sensitive coastal areas from the spill.

The Club also looked at the problems arising from delays to ships. These could arise if a master takes a longer route to a Gulf of Mexico port to avoid an oil slick, or complies with USCG requirements, or a port may be temporarily closed as the slick develops. The Club said a ship is likely to remain on-hire unless there are specific clauses to the contrary in a time charterparty, and it added, much will depend on the wording of each charter.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - September 2010 Issue
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