8 Июн

Исполнение антикоррупционного законодательства, введенного во многих странах, встречается со значительными трудностями в практике морского бизнеса. Различные платежи (вознаграждения) за упрощение формальностей чаще являются результатом вымогательства властей, чем желания бизнеса получить неоправданные преимущества. БИМКО пытается разработать сбалансированную оговорку для чартеров, которая помогла бы бизнесу выполнять свои обязательства перед контрагентами без нарушения антикоррупционного законодательства. В Палате судоходства Объединенного королевства собралась группа для создания формулировки соответствующей оговорки, которая позволит отделить законные платежи подобного рода от коррупционных. При разработке такой оговорки очень важно согласовать интересы судовладельцев и фрахтователей, а также учесть мнение юристов. Согласование различных мнений относительно столь важной оговорки происходит в Подкомитете по антикорруционной оговорке Документального комитета БИМКО.

In recent years a number of countries have introduced anti-corruption legislation which, unfortunately, fails to recognise the practical implications for day-to-day trading activities in the shipping industry. The main problem facing owners and operators comes from demands by port and other local officials for “facilitation payments” before they will undertake or complete a particular task, such as ship clearance or providing pilotage services. If the Master refuses to make the “facilitation payment” (which may be cash, cigarettes or alcohol), the ship may be delayed or the owners could be fined for alleged regulatory or criminal breaches. On the other hand, if the Master gives in under commercial pressure and makes a payment, he and the owners may face criminal prosecution from authorities in the vessel’s flag state or country of domicile if they have zero-tolerance anti-corruption legislation.

Dealing with bribery and corruption in a charter party context is a challenging task. It has been argued that facilitation payments are more the result of blackmail than being a bribe in the conventional sense to gain commercial advantage. Unfortunately, legislation currently in force does not make such a distinction. This creates potential pitfalls for the unwary when drafting contractual clauses to demonstrate a business’s commitment to preventing corruption.

A number of rather onerous clauses have been seen in the market which place owners and operators between a rock and a hard place when trying to comply with strict anti-corruption legislation while fulfilling their commercial obligations. To counter these clauses and provide the industry with a more balanced a workable solution, BIMCO has gathered together representatives of owners, charterers and legal advisers to develop a charter party clause for voyage and time charters that specifically addresses the facilitation payment issue.

At a meeting at the UK Chamber of Shipping on 2 June the group began its task of formulating a new clause setting out the obligation to comply with applicable anti-corruption legislation alongside provisions establishing clear anti-corruption procedures. It is important that the owners and charterers work together to establish and agree procedures to determine whether a particular demand for a facilitation payment is legitimate or corrupt. If the demand is deemed to be corrupt, then the owners should not be penalised for any time lost as a result of refusing to pay the bribe, provided they have issued an appropriate note of protest.

According to Grant Hunter, Chief Officer for Legal and Contractual Affairs at BIMCO, «The clause must also deal with what happens if there is a breach of applicable anti-corruption legislation by one of the parties – most likely leading to the contract being terminated if the matter cannot be resolved within an agreed period of time. There is also the issue of an indemnity from the charterers if the owners suffer as a result of complying with charterers’ orders».

All of these matters are currently under discussion by the Anti-Corruption Clause Sub-committee. A preliminary first draft has been produced and will be further reviewed by the sub-committee before being scrutinised by the full Documentary Committee in November. This is an important clause much needed by the industry and it will be published only after a thorough drafting and review process.

Source: Legal and Contractual Affairs