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Damaged Towing Gear – Who Pays?

Tow wires on board tugs are expensive. Generally, they cannot be insured for their full value. If they break during an ocean towage operation, who should be responsible for repairing or replacing the wires that are provided to the hirers free of charge as part of the contract? And what about transportation costs of new wires and possible delays? If the breakage of the tow wire is due to wear and tear, a hirer might end up paying for several previous hirers’ wear and tear that have accumulated over time. However, breakage may also be due to some external accident occurring during towage. Should this risk be allocated differently in these two different situations? Should tugowners have to provide evidence of the towing gear’s condition at the beginning of the contract? These, and several other issues were discussed when the drafting team revising TOWCON and TOWHIRE 2008 met for the second time in BIMCO house Copenhagen to continue its work.

Under the chairmanship of Dirk Kwantes of LKL Oceantrade, Charo Coll of Boluda Towage and ISU, Maurice Schreurs of Boskalis, Nick Jeffery of Ostensjo Rederi, Adrian Goodger of Clarksons, Ivar Brynildsen of Gard and John Croucher of The Standard Club are carefully reviewing BIMCO’s widely used towage agreements to bring them up to date. The revision of the towage agreements is being done in parallel with the revision of BARGEHIRE 2008 as the documents are often used together. The revised TOWCON and TOWHIRE are expected to be ready for publication by the end of this year.