Tanker chartering and Tanker clauses. Chartering of tankers, whether they are oil tankers, gas tankers, chemical tankers or other ships for liquid bulk cargoes, can be somewhat different from chartering ships for dry bulk cargoes and for other dry cargoes, but there may be certain similarities.
Similarities in the charterparties will be in certain clauses, such as the name of the ship and the protective clauses, but the differences and the specialisation of the trade require the parties, whether they are owners, charterers or shipbrokers, to have specialised knowledge of the trade and the terms that can find their way into the charterparty. In the tanker trades the charterparties that are used can be the standard form documents used in the dry cargo market, with specialist “Rider clauses” attached but there are also widely used standard forms for the tanker market. For example, a New York Produce Exchange form or a BALTIME form may be used for a time charter of a tanker with the addition of appropriate clauses specially appropriate to tankers (for example, an “Anti-pollution clause”) or, depending on the parties and their bargaining strength, a time charter form for tankers may be used, whether published by oil companies (such as SHELLTIME 3) or international organisations (such as INTERTANKO’S INTERTANKTIME.)
Similar considerations exist for a voyage charter of a tanker. While GENCON and Rider clauses can be used, for example, it may be better to use standard forms published by “neutral” bodies such as the Association of Ship Brokers and Agents (ASBA), which publishes ASBATANKVOY and ASBA II, or by shipowners’ bodies such as the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), which publishes TANKERVOY 87. Alternatively, an “oil major” tanker charterparty can be used such as BEEPEEVOY 283, EXXONVOY 84, SHELLVOY 5 and TEXACOVOY. It should be noted that oil company forms might favour the oil company as charterer in opposition to the independent tanker owner. It should also be noted that some forms are outdated, for example, ASBATANKVOY, and should be used with extreme care.
Tanker chartering tends to be a quicker activity than dry cargo vessel chartering. Tanker owners are “quick fixers”. It is not uncommon for an owner to “come open” in the morning and find his vessel fixed by the afternoon.
Tankers can be time chartered for a period, for example, by an oil company chartering-in tonnage from an independent tanker owner for a number of years, or also by oil traders or oil refineries for oil storage purposes, especially when the risk of war threatens long term oil supplies. This period work is usually shorter. For example, a report of a fixture of a ship registered in the Marshall Islands during the 1990 Persian Gulf crisis was:
“HELLESPONT CAPITAL (steam tanker, 388,042 tonnes dw, Marshall Islands, built 1976), delivery September 1990, 45 days’ storage, option further 15 days, region $25,000 per day, extra war risk Charterers’ account.”
More usually, however, tankers are fixed for voyage charters and the dealings are only for one voyage from loading port to discharging port. The vessel seems to come open fairly continuously.
Charterparties for tankers contain clauses that are significant to the tanker market. These are listed below. Also see other entries in this chapter that may be relevant to a tanker charterparty, for example, a “Both-to-Blame collision clause” will be found in a tanker charterparty and also in a dry cargo vessel charterparty.