Shipping & Transport updates

Argentina

Contributed by Venetucci & Asociados
Pest control certificates – overview of current legislation
  • Argentina
  • 25 July 2018

Ships calling at ports on the Parana river are increasingly being asked to submit a pest control certificate to the Health Authority. Failure to comply with this request could require the ship to be fumigated. However, this can be avoided if a ship can prove that it has been fumigated by a competent authority or if it has been exempted from such operation in the past six months and obtained a certificate from the health authorities of a port officially authorised for this purpose.

New holds inspection regulation causes uncertainty and disappointment
  • Argentina
  • 14 March 2018

Under the new Regulation 693-E/2017, the system for checking the cargo-worthiness of holds and tanks of ships and barges for the export of grains and their products and by-products will be compulsorily applied to all ships. In terms of compliance, ships that meet industrial standards should face no major issues and any attempt from surveyors or inspectors to reject such a ship could be challenged.

Ballast water saga: regulation requiring chlorination causes confusion
  • Argentina
  • 12 July 2017

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development recently issued Regulation 85-E/2017, under which vessels calling at Argentine ports must apply a chlorination process to their ballast water tanks to prevent the introduction of invasive aquatic species. However, the regulation posits only that chlorination must be done on arrival and does not clarify whether it should be conducted by the crew or a local entity. This has resulted in several operational issues.

New regulation on ballast water treatment
  • Argentina
  • 08 March 2017

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development recently issued a new regulation addressing ballast water treatment for vessels arriving from foreign ports. Pursuant to Regulation 85-E/2017, vessels calling at Argentine ports must apply a chlorination process to their ballast tanks as a measure to prevent the introduction of invasive aquatic species that could affect river ecosystems in Argentina.

New regulation introduced regarding safe under keel clearance
  • Argentina
  • 26 October 2016

A new regulation was recently introduced to update rules governing safe under keel clearance for vessels navigating the Parana River. Further improvements are expected based on safety concerns, as the regulation is the result of friction between the pilotage industry and the government over the latter's aim to reduce pilots' fees. The regulation has been enacted for a limited time and invites all parties involved to suggest further amendments.


Austria

Automated driving: positive climate impact and recent efforts
  • Austria
  • 20 December 2017

The Paris Agreement sets the ambitious goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the 21st century. Therefore, worldwide traffic and transport must change. Despite these objectives, people tend to overlook the fact that automated driving is not only innovative and comfortable, but may also have an important impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in future.


Brazil

Contributed by Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
New draft law mandates additional passive safety equipment
  • Brazil
  • 26 September 2018

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.

ANTAQ approves regulatory agenda for biennium 2018-2019
  • Brazil
  • 19 September 2018

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.

Arrest of vessels: Brazilian courts lack jurisdiction in foreign contractual dispute
  • Brazil
  • 05 September 2018

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.

Court finds P&I club not directly and jointly liable for associate shipowners' debts
  • Brazil
  • 22 August 2018

The Sixth Civil Chamber of the Rio de Janeiro State Court of Appeals recently decided that a protection and indemnity (P&I) club was not liable for an associate shipowner's debts. In its decision, the court distinguished the P&I club from insurers operating in the Brazilian insurance market. This decision is paramount because it creates an important court precedent regarding P&I clubs' liability for the damages caused to third parties by their associates.

Superior Court of Justice clarifies inapplicability of Consumer Protection Code to cargo claims
  • Brazil
  • 11 July 2018

The 2nd Section of the Superior Court of Justice has unified the court's understanding of the applicable time bar for a subrogated insurer to pursue a claim for damages which occurred during maritime transport. This is a highly important precedent, as it has resolved a long-standing divergence between the Brazilian courts.


British Virgin Islands

Government raises charter cruising permit fees
  • British Virgin Islands
  • 16 August 2017

The government recently enacted two measures regarding the cruising permit fees that each charter boat must pay while carrying paying passengers in the British Virgin Islands. Under the Cruising Permit (Amendment) Act, boats will now be classified as either home-based or foreign-based charter boats, with set fees for each classification. The Statutory Rates, Fees and Charges (Amendment of Schedule) Order 2017 confirms these fees for internal government purposes.


Chile

Contributed by JJR Abogados
Courts clarify meaning of 'personal acts' of shipowners
  • Chile
  • 24 October 2018

The owners of a Chilean tugboat constituted a limitation fund to respond to damages suffered by different parties in connection with the sinking of a towed vessel following a salvage and towage operation. The plaintiffs opposed the fund's constitution, arguing that 'personal acts' committed by the tug's owners exempted them from the right to limit liability. The Supreme Court recently rejected the opposition; its decision should provide future certainty regarding the interpretation and scope of shipowners' personal acts.

Navigating choppy waters – new wreck removal provisions introduced
  • Chile
  • 02 May 2018

Law 21,066 recently came into force and amended the Navigation Law in connection with the extraction of sunk or stranded vessels and harmful materials contained therein. The changes strengthen marine environment preservation and navigation safety, and the new faculties granted to the Maritime Authority in respect of ships or craft whose condition poses a risk or danger represent a positive change.

Recognition of salvors' rights to limit liability
  • Chile
  • 28 February 2018

A limitation fund was recently constituted in the context of a salvage and towage operation. The plaintiffs opposed the fund's constitution, arguing that, under Chilean law, salvors are not entitled to limit their liability. The Valparaiso Second Civil Court rejected the opposition and upheld the limitation fund. The decision is one of the most relevant substantive decisions in this regard and should provide future certainty in the safeguarding salvors' rights to limit their liability.

Criminal liability for spills that cause damage to hydro-biological resources
  • Chile
  • 16 November 2016

A recent Valparaiso Court of Appeal decision restricts the application of criminal liability for spills that cause damage to hydro-biological resources to cases associated with malicious acts. Although the first-instance court held that the provision covered negligence, as the introduction of polluting agents could be the result of an accident, the Valparaiso Court of Appeal reversed that decision and held that, under the Constitution, no law establishes penalties if the conduct is not expressly described therein.

Recent developments on civil liability derived from pollution claims
  • Chile
  • 20 July 2016

Chile is a party to the 1992 Civil Liability Convention. Approval of the amendments to the limitation amounts contained in the convention has been a positive step towards harmonisation with the international community. However, the adoption of the 1992 Fund Convention and the Supplementary Fund Protocol continue to be important missing parts of the international compensation regime, exposing Chile to the pollution contingency above its 89.7 million special drawing rights cap.