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Bimco’s “Superman” Contract for Newbuilding Supervision Services

A new standard contract for ship managers has been added to BIMCO’s existing collection of ship management agreements.  The so-called “SUPERMAN” contract is a “cost plus fee” contract, as opposed to a lump sum, modelled on SHIPMAN 2009, for newbuilding supervision services.  Specifically, SUPERMAN provides third party ship managers with a standard agreement to govern their duties and obligations when acting in a supervisory capacity and as agents on behalf of a ship owner during ship construction, conversion or repair projects.

Due to its similarity with SHIPMAN 2009, SUPERMAN adopts key clauses of the latter with respect to manager’s authority, liabilities and termination, while it offers the users with a variety of optional services which include site supervision, guarantee claims handling, plan approval and technical specification review.  However, under SUPERMAN a “Company” is defined as the party who is contracting with the Supervisors, while the “Flag State” refers to the State under whose laws the ship will be constructed and not the Flag State of the ship after delivery.  Moreover, supervisors are required by the contract to have professional indemnity insurances, and specific time-bars for claims are set out to provide certainty to the contracting parties.  Although, SUPERMAN is designed as a one-ship supervision, Clause 17(c) allows the Company to have several ships under construction at the same time contracted for supervision with the same supervisors.  An important addition of SUPERMAN is that it provides a 12 months’ time bar during which the Company is obliged to notify the Supervisors of any loss, damage, delay or expense.

As per Captain Ajay Hazari of Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, head of the drafting team: “SUPERMAN satisfies the demand for a balanced, industry-recognised, standard contract form for newbuilding supervision services and it completes BIMCO’s suite of ‘cradle to grave’ ship management services and related commercial contracts.”