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Bimco: GUARDCON Contract published

Bimco has announced the signing of the GUARDCON contract. The contract is meant to provide ship owners and maritime security companies with the framework for future cooperation recognising the fact that though the use of armed guards on ships should not be institutionalised, they are presently the most effective deterrent to piracy attacks.

BIMCO’s Chief Officer Legal and Contractual Affairs, Grant Hunter says:"In response to ship owners’ increasing demand for security services, an ever growing number of private maritime security companies have entered the market to meet that demand. In the absence of a standard contract for these services, ship owners and their P&I Clubs are currently faced with the difficult and time consuming task of assessing large numbers of contracts from these security companies, all with varying terms and conditions. GUARDCON’s objective is to create a contractual benchmark for the employment of security services so that minimum levels of insurance cover for PMSCs are established and that adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure that liabilities and responsibilities are properly addressed and that all necessary permits and licenses are obtained.”

Three months drafting

According to BIMCO Deputy Secretary General, Søren Larsen, “GUARDCON has been drafted in just a little over three months by a small group of experts drawn from ship owners, underwriters, P&I Clubs and lawyers with first-hand experience of working with contracts for security services. The speed at which GUARDCON has been drafted is a considerable credit to the drafting group whose members devoted many long hours free of charge to the project.”

The drafting work was not conducted in isolation; consultations were conducted with PMSCs and insurance underwriters during the process and the drafts were also carefully scrutinised by members of the International Group of P&I Clubs. BIMCO’s own influential Documentary Committee also played their usual essential role by thoroughly reviewing GUARDCON to ensure it met the standards expected of a BIMCO standard contract.

BIMCO has also published Guidance on the Rules for the Use of Force (RUF) to accompany GUARDCON which will undoubtedly be of great assistance to owners and private maritime security companies when drawing up and agreeing RUF for their own purposes.

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