Following the increasing focus on force majeure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BIMCO has gathered a drafting team in order to develop a free-standing force majeure clause for use in a variety of contracts.
Although several BIMCO contracts include a force majeure clause, this clause was never published as a stand-alone clause in BIMCO’s clause library.
In light of the situation, a drafting team met for the first time on 1-2 September to discuss issues such as:
- Who the clause should benefit and what the threshold for invoking force majeure should be.
- What should qualify as a force majeure event for the purpose of the clause. Generally, force majeure events fall into two groups: natural events and political events. Natural events may include earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters. Political events may include terrorism, war (whether declared or not), riots, strikes, changes of laws or government policies.
- What the consequences of a force majeure event should be, for example, non-liability for damages, suspension of performance, or termination
- Whether different force majeure clauses should be developed for different types of contracts. A force majeure clause in a voyage charter party would need to provide for different consequences than in a ship sale and purchase contract due to the nature of these contracts.
Concluding, the experts on the drafting team are: Inga Frøysa, Klaveness, Nicola Ioannou, Oceanfleet, Peri Ertugruloglu, Glencore Agriculture, Rory Butler, HFW, Andrew Rigden Green, Stephenson Harwood, and Philip Stephenson, The Standard Club – which will continue their deliberations at the next meeting in October.