The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) has launched an anti-corruption clause for charter parties, which will give owners and charterers a contractual platform for co-operative action to resist demands for illegal payments from port officials and others.
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.
It provides a mechanism, through which owners issue a note of protest if an illegal demand is made and the demand is not withdrawn.
The note then triggers a co-operative response by charterers and owners to the demand.
BIMCO secretary general Angus Frew said: "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.
"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 anti-corruption clause states that if owners issue a protest to resist a demand and the ship is delayed, then the charterers cannot place the ship off-hire.
BIMCO documentary committee vice-chairman Inga Froysa 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.
"BIMCO’s anti-corruption clause is the result of a concerted effort by a team of international lawyers and practitioners to provide an acceptable and workable alternative to the clauses currently in circulation."