Preliminary discussions took place on 6th December to agree the format for a new standard contract for the employment of armed guards on vessels, co-ordinated by BIMCO.
The new contract, which will be known as GUARDCON, will offer shipowners a well thought through agreement crafted by a team of shipowners, lawyers, underwriters and P&I Club personnel, all of whom have considerable experience developing and working with this type of agreement, the Danish-based organisation claimed.
Two major law firms are involved in the project - Ince & Co and Holman Fenwick Willan, both of whom have experience representing security firms and shipowners in these types of contracts.
At the top of the agenda are the insurance aspects and the underwriting and P&I club input is invaluable, BIMCO said.
BIMCO also said that its ultimate objective in developing this standard contract is to provide an agreement that clearly sets out the responsibilities and liabilities of the parties involved, particularly in respect of the potential use of lethal force on board the vessel.
It is essential that shipowners should have the comfort of a standard contract that they can use safe in the knowledge that it will not prejudice their P&I cover and that it provides for the security company to carry adequate liability insurance.
Rules on the use of force will form an important integral part of the new agreement and will be based on IMO Guidelines 1405/1406, BIMCO said.
A first draft is currently being prepared for review by the sub-committee at its next meeting on 6th January.
It is hoped that the project can be completed towards the end of January.