“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.
Rotterdam has announced that it will measure radioactivity on ships arriving from Japan before entering port. The move comes as thousands of gallons of contaminated water are released into the sea from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plants.
In a statement, the Port of Rotterdam says: “For precautionary reasons, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is to measure ships from Japan at sea, before entering the port, for the presence of radioactivity.
‘We do not expect to find concentrations of radioactivity above permitted levels. In order to confirm this, we will measure the presence of radioactivity before the ship enters our port. As Harbour Master, I believe that we have an obligation to do this on behalf of those directly involved in handling the ship. By doing so we can remove many concerns and people can work safely’, says René de Vries, (State) Harbour Master of Rotterdam.
Japan’s Shipowners Association, JSA, fears that false information and rumours circulating on the internet, including maritime-related discussion groups, will slow Japan’s recovery from the recent series of devastating tragedies that hit the country.
In a letter to the International Chamber of Shipping/International Shipping Federation the JSA says: “…we are afraid that, if we leave prevailing of such rumours, it will disturb the early recovery of normal lives for the survivors, who are desperately in need for the hearty aiding materials from all over the world. Such situation should never be allowed from humane view points. The rumours will also eventually bring irrecoverable serious adverse economical results, which may include jeopardizing of seafarers’ stable employment”.
Given the current situation regarding nuclear reactors in Japan it is not surprising that numerous ‘scare’ emails and cellphone texts are in circulation. Many quote anonymous or give false attribution anf give information whch is wrong and, in some cases hazardous. Do not forward such emails or texts.
Inchcape Shipping Services has up-tp-date information on Japanese ports here.
MARAD in the US has issued the following advisory:
Vessels transiting to or from Japan or in waters in the vicinity of the northeast coast of the island of Honshu.
1. This MARAD advisory provides guidance to vessels transiting to or from ports in japan or in waters in the vicinity of the northeast coast of the island of Honshu.
2. US.-flag operators with ships in the affected areas are requested to forward this advisory to their ships by the most expeditious means.