“In response to the on-going situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant, a number of home-made “radiation clauses” have begun to circulate the market which contain provisions that are generally framed very much in favour of the party that drafted them. BIMCO is aware that some of these clauses give sweeping rights to owners to deviate from Japanese port calls almost on a whim and without any objective determination of risk. Such clauses are most likely being rejected out of hand by charterers. It is response to these home-made clauses that BIMCO has drafted a standard Radiation Risk Clause for Time Charter Parties. What we hope to achieve is a balanced contractual solution that addresses the potential risk of exposure to high levels of radioactivity based on thresholds established by competent authorities.It is not our intention to create a clause which potentially undermines the absolute need for reliable shipping services to provide humanitarian aid and support essential to the rebuilding process in Japan. The objective of the clause is to provide a measured response to the situation and to clarify where the parties to a time charter stand contractually in respect of trading to areas which may potentially place the vessel, crew and cargo at risk of exposure to high levels of radiation. Owners are strongly recommended to consult with their P&I Clubs before contemplating any “deviation” from the ordered voyage.
The full text of the BIMCO Radiation Risk Clause for Time Charter Parties can be found at the end of this Special Circular. The Clause can also be downloaded free of charge from the Documentary/BIMCO Clause section of the BIMCO website (www.bimco.org) and, for subscribers to the idea online charter party editor, from the Clause Manager.