SHIPMAN 98 revision concluded and streamlined with CREWMAN A and B

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Revision of the SHIPMAN 98 shipmanagement agreement has finally been concluded and work has now begun to streamline the amended provisions with its sister crew management forms, CREWMAN A and B.

The SHIPMAN/CREWMAN Revision Sub-Committee met in London on 16 June for a full day’s drafting session. The priority item on the sub-committee’s agenda was the ‘fine tuning’ of SHIPMAN to take into account comments on the document from the Documentary Committee (DC), which met in Athens on 2 June.

Overall, the DC was satisfied with the revision work undertaken by the sub-committee and felt the document to be much improved in relation to its predecessor. However, there remained a few question marks regarding issues such as the validity of medical certificates and the managers’ liability for P&I Club release calls following the termination of the agreement.

In the existing SHIPMAN 98 agreement, managers may be protected from liability for premiums and supplementary calls when fully co-assured under the owners’ insurance policy. However, should the management agreement be terminated, the managers remain potentially liable for release calls for the entered vessel should the owner become insolvent. As the policy period may extend several years beyond the date of termination of the agreement and the release call cannot be quantified until the policy ends, the managers face a potential open-ended exposure. To address this potential risk the revised SHIPMAN incorporates a provision requiring the owners, if it can be achieved, to obtain protection from release calls for the managers even after the agreement has ended.

On the issue of medical certificates, the present requirement in SHIPMAN is to present a certificate dated not more than three months prior to the crew member leaving his/her country of domicile to join a vessel. This was not felt to reflect present day voyage durations so it was changed to a simple requirement to present a certificate valid at the time the crew member arrives on board the vessel.

The Cyprus Shipping Chamber contributed valuable written input on SHIPMAN resulting in various changes that have improved the clarity and overall content of the revised draft, for which the sub-committee was grateful.

After having concluded the SHIPMAN revision the sub-committee made a start on the drafting of CREWMAN A (Cost Plus Fee) by adapting the structure of the revised SHIPMAN into CREWMAN. The aim is to present a consistent set of documents by using the same principles, definitions and wordings throughout the documents. Although SHIPMAN still contains crew management as an optional service, it is intended to be used only where the managers are providing a few of the crew. For full-blown crew management services, users are encouraged to make use of the much more comprehensive CREWMAN crew management agreements.

Approval of all three documents is expected at the next DC meeting in November and publication will hopefully take place in early 2010.