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26 August 2020
Supplytime has been the industry standard time charter for offshore support vessels for decades. However, in recognition of its broader usage within the offshore and renewables sector as a whole, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) recently published four new annexes for special tasks that can be incorporated into this popular standard contract.
Supplytime was originally designed for the chartering of offshore support vessels, but it is also frequently used for the chartering of many other and more specialised vessels within both the traditional offshore oil and gas industry and the rapidly expanding offshore wind industry. In recognition of this broader usage within the industry as a whole, BIMCO has proposed four new annexes for incorporation with Supplytime, covering helideck and helicopter operations, walk-to-work operations, extended offshore operations and crew qualifications.
The annexes are specifically adapted to Supplytime 2017, but with adjustments to the numbering of the clauses, the annexes can easily be used for previous editions of the form.
The annex for helideck and helicopter operations sets out specific requirements for helideck structures and helicopter operations, as well as necessary certifications, crew qualifications and safety-related requirements for personnel engaging in helicopter operations on board a vessel. The standard for the helideck quality is based on the UK Civil Aviation Authority's standard for offshore helicopter landing areas (CAP 437) or its equivalent, and the relevant helideck support structure must be approved by class and fully certified by the relevant civil aviation authority in the area of operation.
The annex for walk-to-work operations can be applied where a vessel is fitted with a motion compensated gangway that will be used to provide transfer of personnel or cargo between the relevant vessel and an offshore unit. The annex also includes provisions for regulatory requirements, safety aspects and the obligations and responsibilities of the charterer and owners during such walk-to-work operations. The annex also contemplates situations where the gangway is retrofitted on a vessel prior to commencement of operations under the charterparty.
The annex for extended offshore operations covers situations where a charterer requires a vessel to remain offshore for extended periods and is thereby forced to carry out activities offshore that it would normally undertake in port (eg, crew transfers, bunkering and provisioning). However, the annex allows for the vessel's attendance at port for statutory or mandatory surveys or inspections, provided that the owner gives the relevant charterer a minimum of 10 days' notice of any such required survey or inspection.
The annex for manning and crew qualifications aims to address the situation in which the complexity of the offshore operations gives rise to specific requirements from the charterer for particular crew qualifications. The annex covers manning levels, crew certifications and training, as well as situations where the charterer requires additional training, certifications or qualifications for the owner's personnel.
The new annexes aim to provide a set of templates regulating various practical situations that are regularly faced by the offshore industry. That said, a specific project may still require tailor-made provisions to suit the relevant operations, the allocation of operational responsibilities and the commercial division of risk.
In addition to the abovementioned annexes, BIMCO has also announced that several additional annexes are under development. These include annexes for dynamic positioning, remotely operated underwater vehicles, crane operations (surface and subsea), cable laying, diving services and hybrid propulsion.
For further information on this topic please contact Andreas Fjærvoll-Larsen or Alexander Wintervold at Wikborg Rein's Oslo office by telephone (+47 22 82 75 00) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Wikborg Rein website can be accessed at www.wr.no.
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