BIMCO has now published its long-awaited revision of the popular SUPPLYTIME form, the SUPPLYTIME 2017.
“Overall, the SUPPLYTIME 2017 is a welcome revision of a popular form”
The previous version of the form was affected by a number of drafting weaknesses and the revised version has clearly set out to address these. Overall, the SUPPLYTIME has kept its character and will remain familiar to existing users. In particular, it is notable that the SUPPLYTIME has not been significantly aligned with BIMCO’s WINDTIME. Both these standard offshore contracts therefore retain their distinguishing features and, in places, their idiosyncrasies.
Cancelling under the updated standard SUPPLYTIME regime remains without liability on the part of the owners. It will be recalled that the WINDTIME has a more sophisticated set of alternative regimes to choose from in this regard.
The SUPPLYTIME’s fuel clause has been reworked, though in practice it might not work optimally in situations where the vessel goes from one charter straight into the next.
The liability clauses in the previous version of the SUPPLYTIME were in various respects of uncertain scope and robustness. The new version has set out to make these provisions more predictable, in particular as regards the exclusion of financial losses. In doing so, the updated form retains the general thrust of being restrictive as far as owners’ liability is concerned. The new drafting, however, has not erased the inherent difficulty in restricting a party’s liability and it can be expected that this issue will remain a contested area of the form. It is notable that the overall limit of liability concept which can be found in the WINDTIME has not been adopted in the SUPPLYTIME 2017.
The reworking of the termination clause counts among the clear improvements to the SUPPLYTIME form and should obviate the need to introduce a number of changes which under the previous form were generally regarded as necessary in order for the clause to work well. One of the changes brought in by the new form in connection with termination is that the concept of “breakdown” has been dropped and replaced by a much simpler termination right triggered by a number of off-hire days to be agreed upon.
Among other changes, the form has also been brought up to date with the incorporation of BIMCO’s latest standard clauses on matters such as war risks, infectious diseases, sanctions, MLC and dispute resolution.