The Brazilian courts recently confirmed that unpaid debts for bunkers supplied to vessels are considered claims with a privileged nature under Brazilian law and thereby permit creditors to obtain security for any debts by arresting vessels in Brazilian ports. This case is one of the first precedents dealing with the application of the Liens Convention 1926 and grants legal safety for bunker suppliers and all other parties that hold credits of a privileged nature under Brazilian law.
In 2016 the International Maritime Organisation approved a reduction of the maximum amount of sulphur that can be contained in ships' fuel oil by January 2020. The National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels recently initiated a public hearing to obtain feedback on its proposal to amend Resolution 52/2010 in order to comply with the new requirements. Some parties expressed concerns about the changes, mainly due to the increase in costs in an already difficult economic environment.
Two members of Parliament recently presented a draft law that would mandate the installation of additional passive safety equipment for new boat engines and factory outlets. The draft law builds on previous legislation which sought to reduce the large number of serious accidents between vessels and the North Region's riverside inhabitants. Legislators await a congressional order to define the committees that will analyse the draft law and its procedural arrangements.
The National Agency for Waterway Transportation recently published Resolution 6,235, approving the agency's regulatory agenda for the 2018-2019 biennium. The regulatory agenda aims to inform the regulated sector and society at large about the agency's main regulatory issues for the biennium.
A court recently confirmed the Brazilian courts' lack of jurisdiction to judge a claim brought by a foreign bunker supplier against a foreign shipowner and operator seeking arrest of the debtor's vessel while calling at a Brazilian port. The decision sets an important precedent and should help to prevent ungrounded arrest claims, as it clarifies that it is paramount to carefully analyse all of the risks involving an arrest lawsuit in Brazil before taking any action in order to avoid unnecessary exposure.