Drydocking

No matter the reason for a vessel’s visit to port, whether it is for drydocking or repairing; bunkering; cargo-working; whether on voyage or timecharter; a port agent should produce a Statement of Facts form to be forwarded to his principal upon the vessel’s departure. Many port agents use their own in-house designed form for this purpose, but a standard document which can be used at any port, worldwide, is available from BIMCO, and can be used if the agent or his principal so wishes. It will be from this that a Time Sheet will eventually be drawn up. It is good practice for principals to brief a port agent fully about operational and chartering matters before a vessel’s arrival in port. If possible the port agent should be sent a copy of the charterparty/sales contract for perusal and guidance. In this way the agent should be aware of information ultimately needed to be incorporated into the statement of facts form. To avoid unnecessary dispute, interested parties to a vessel’s visit to port – e.g. the ship’s Master, port agents, shipper/receiver – should sign the completed statement of facts form. There should rarely be any objection to signing that document if it sets out to be simply what its name implies – a statement of facts. It is in the laytime interpretation of those facts that disputes are likely to arise, not in the recording of events. If, however, one or other of the parties has an objection to the contents of a statement of facts form, it should be signed ‘under protest’, a statement being added, clarifying the reason(s) for the objection. Some agents provide an Internet-based service that allows owners and charterers to access a running statement of facts while the vessel is working in port. The more sophisticated systems allow the information to be moved electronically into computer laytime calculation programs.