Fuelcon

In 1995 Bimco (The Baltic & International Maritime Council) produced a standard form of contract for bunker supplies which was entitled “Fuelcon” This form was not widely used because it was considered far too biased towards the buyer – the shipowner. The form was revised and in 2001 BIMCO produced the Standard Bunker Contract which is in two parts; the Confirmation Note confirms the Bunker nomination, the General terms and conditions set out the agreement. Not all or even the majority of bunker supplies are carried out  under Bimco contracts although this 2001 version is rather more popular than its predecessor.  However the Bimco form provides a clear and logical compilation of the essential points to be considered when contracting for a supply of bunkers. Before any type of cargo can be loaded the vessel must be in a proper and fit condition to carry that cargo.  The ship manager must be aware of the needs and requirements and properly instruct the master so that the cargo is safely loaded, carried and discharged. The first requirement for any cargo is that the vessel’s holds have to be clean and dry.  The degree of cleanliness will depend on the cargo to be loaded.  A vessel about to load mineral sand or bulk grains will have to be very much cleaner (“Grain Clean”) than a vessel about to load iron ore or coal.   However, the degree of cleanliness even for these cargoes will vary widely depending upon the type of cargo involved.  For example, a high quality coal for which the sulphur content would be critical would not tolerate residues from high-sulphur ores.  Conversely, crude sugar, which will be highly refined and processed before sale to the public, can tolerate a surprising amount of extraneous dust. In any event, the vessel will have to pass a hold cleanliness survey before the loading can commence so at the very least all the residue of the previous cargo will have had to be removed prior to the vessel’s arrival at the loading port.  It is a fact of life that discharging stevedores do not sweep clean the holds as well as they could do, which leaves a certain amount of cleaning work to be done by the vessel’s crew.