BIMCO has published a slow steaming clause for use in time charterparties. This clause was developed with the aim of balancing Charterers’ wish to control the speed of the vessel by giving express instructions, and Owners’ concerns about the consequences of complying with such instructions.

Various technical and legal issues need to be taken into account when considering slow steaming. BIMCO states that, whilst the effects on engines and machinery of prolonged slow steaming have not been the subject of extensive research, they have consulted with major engine manufacturers and designers to ensure that the technicalities of slow steaming and the potential limitations of engines and equipment are properly reflected in the clause.

As regards legal issues, these largely relate to Owners’ obligations to follow Charterers’ slow steaming instructions whilst taking into account both the safety of the vessel, her crew and cargo and any obligations to third parties.

The full text of the clause is available on the BIMCO website, together with some explanatory notes which provide a background guide to the intention behind the clause.

BIMCO has stated that a version of the clause for voyage charterparties will be published shortly.