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BIMCO has issued a new Asian Gypsy Moth Clause for Time Charter Parties focussing on the basic obligations and responsibilities of owners and charterers when dealing with the risk of infestation by asian gypsy moth (AGM). The clause is generic and contains no references to specific ports, geographical regions or dates for AGM high-risk periods.

AGM risks and regulatory requirements

AGM is a serious insect pest that can be carried on vessels’ superstructures and cargo and is considered by many governments as a significant threat to domestic forests and biodiversity. The risk of infestation is particularly high in some ports in Korea, Japan, Northern China and the Russian Far East and the high-risk periods in these ports normally extend from May through September.

The USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Chile are some of the countries that are highly alert to the risks posed by AGM. Regulations in these countries generally require all vessels arriving in their ports to declare whether they have visited ports in areas regulated for AGM during specified high-risk periods in the past 24 months. Some authorities also require that the vessel is certified free of AGM (phytosanitary certificate).

For more information on AGM, in general as well as country specific, please visit Gard’s AGM website.

 

The new BIMCO clause

The Clause deals with any and all life stages of the moth and consists of three sub-clauses:

  • Sub-clause (a) sets out owners’ obligation to deliver a vessel free of AGM and to provide an AGM Free Certificate on delivery if the ship has traded to areas regulated for AGM in the last 24 months prior to delivery. This period is consistent with the stringent certification requirements of countries such as the USA, Canada and Chile.
  • Sub-clause (b) sets out charterers’ obligation during the time charter period to take all reasonable steps at their expense to mitigate the risk of infestation, remove any infestations from the ship and cargo, and to obtain AGM Free Certificates. Should an infestation of AGM be found or suspected, the charterers shall also be responsible for any consequences whatsoever.
  • Sub-clause (c) ensures that the charterers’ obligations on redelivery mirror those of the owners on delivery. The charterers must redeliver the vessel free of AGM and with an accompanying AGM Free Certificate, if relevant.

The full text of the Asian Gypsy Moth Clause for Time Charter Parties can be found in the Clauses section of BIMCO’s website at www.bimco.org.

 

Recommendations

In advance of this year’s mandatory AGM inspection period, which in some countries commences in March, Members and clients are recommended to verify that the wording of existing charterparties addresses the allocation of responsibilities in respect of risk of infestation by AGM.

As some countries require AGM Free Certificates for port calls in areas regulated for AGM in the previous 24 months, particular attention should be paid to the wording specifying the period for which an AGM Free Certificate shall be provided at time of delivery and re-delivery.