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Contract Forming under Maritime Law-Dockage Agreements

Any purchase and sell have contracts maritime contracts stands on different footings then general sell and purchase agreements. If parties are engaged in trade where transport is through sea then contract formed are called maritime contract. There are various types of maritime contract as Charter Agreements, Dockage Agreement, Ship Repair Contracts, Preferred Ship Mortgages, Seafarer Employment Contracts, Marine Insurance Contracts, Dredging Contracts etc [i].

Here specifically this article is dealing with the essential and perspective of forming a Dockage Agreement. I referred sample of dockage agreement of ‘Spanish-Wells-Yacht-Haven-Resort-Dockage-Agreement’ to understand how dockage agreements are formed. Following content is based on the referred ‘Spanish-Wells-Yacht-Haven-Resort-Dockage-Agreement’.[ii] This article only intents to show how what is intent and perspective of forming the dockage agreement.

When sell and purchase is done between the parties the not only seller and purchaser are engaged but here in maritime law, both parties have to assign a Vessel Owner or one of them may have their Vessel, Generally Vessel owner is independent authority , also another party is dockyard company. So here this dockage agreement is between Vessel Owner and the Company.

Elements information:
This below mentioned information is generally contained in the starting of the agreement in order to clear the parties to the agreement which is very necessary in any agreement and especially in the dockage agreement.
  • Name of Vessel ,Registration No.
  • Length of Vessel
  • Make of Vessel Year of Vessel
  • Arrival Date
  • Departure Date
  • Name of Owner , Email Address , Emergency Tel No. , Street Address City State and Zip Code Country Name of Captain, Captain’s Tel No.
Except information mentioned above various agreements may contain various additional information in their own way, for example information regarding vessel insurance.

Clauses in the agreement that may prove effective for Company and Vessel Owner:
  1. Lease for boat slip- under this clause company leases boat slip to the vessel owner for the sole purpose of loading or unloading of the dock. Here boat slip means Boat slips mainly differ from docks in that boat slips are not as open in space as a dock. Boat slips resemble parking stalls for watercrafts, whereas docks are more open and may only have one large t-shaped section.[iii]
  2. Permitted use and Bailment- this clause is there to protect the interest of the dockage authority (Port) in order to give access or permit only for restricted use in pursuance to contract made and not otherwise. And bailment clause in enshrined in order to avoid any liability or obligation by Port. Port hereby deny any bailment relationship for goods docked or even for the vessel at the Port. If Port is denying bailment relationship then essentially port is treating vessels and goods not in their obligation for any purpose.
  3. Relocation – this clause is enshrined in order to show that Port authorities have right to relocate or change Vessel for reasonable grounds and only within purpose of the boat slip. Also failure to give notice may not make port liable if reasonable caution and steps are taken by Port.
  4. Rental Fee- the clause is between vessel owner and dockage company as generally Vessel Owner is bound to pay vessel fees to the company for service provided.
  5. Recompense fee for late Payment- Company may have clause for recompensing fee as charge for not paying the payment decided in stipulated time.
  6. Default – the clause stating that any breach in agreement in the context of not making timely payment will be construed as default by vessel owner and Company may sue for the remedies in pursuance to provision in the agreement. Whereas company may keep a safer side as constituting clause as nothing in this contract will mandate the Company to waive of his right to agreed payment.
  7. Lien- Company may have clause for right to lien in case any damages or any default is made by Vessel Owner. Lien may have over the whole vessel , material in vessel or both.
  8. Rules and Regulations- Clause may constitute that Vessel owner have to abide to Marina Rules and Regulations attached to agreement and conditions of the agreement. And clause may constitute that in case conflict between conditions of the agreement and Marina Rules and Regulations then conditions of the Agreement will prevail.
  9. Reasonable charges for storage of Vessel- In case agreement is terminated then Company may ask to remove the vessel and in case Vessel owner fails to do so then company may take steps to remove the vessel and store it at a place. The company may charge the vessel owner for the reasonable price incurred by the company to remove and store the vessel.
  10. Indemnity Clause- Vessel owner may become indemnifier towards Company acting as an indemnity holder for damages occurred to company due to any active and passive acts of the Vessel owner.
  11. Risk acknowledgement by Vessel Owner- this clause constitutes that damages caused due to risks arise not out of act of Vessel Owner but employees of Vessel Owner or any circumstances (foreseeable or unforeseeable). So this clause makes binding to Vessel Owner to acknowledge all such risks while agreeing to agreement.
  12. Insurance- Clause makes it agree between the parties that Vessel Owner must have insurance of Vessel and Company will not be insurer for the Vessel or material in the Vessel.
  13. Sublease of Agreement- Sublease is substituting the party. So clause will constitute that sublease of agreement will occur only in case where Company have given prior consent. In case agreement is subleased to new Owner of the same Vessel then Company will not be bound to frame new agreement or even change the agreement.
  14. Doctrine of Severability- this clause will constitute that in case any conditions in agreement conflicts with the Marina Rules and Regulations then it will become void only till the extent to which it goes contrary. Such provisions makes it easy and favorable for both the parties especially for the Vessel Owner.
  15. Arbitration- Parties may have Arbitration clause stating that any dispute arising out of agreement between parties, then parties will settle the matter by Arbitration, and parties may have right to appeal decision of Arbitration in Supreme Court or Court of Appeal.
  16. Jurisdiction- Parties may agree to clause stating that which court will have jurisdiction over the matter arising out of dispute between the parties. Generally country whose laws and regulations are followed to frame an agreement may have jurisdiction.
  17. Amendments in agreement – Amendments in agreement will be only agreed when both parties have consent to amendments.
  18. Termination of Contract – agreement may have a clause stating that Company may terminate the contract if conditions stated in clause may appear. The conditions may set by the company of nature that making breach of the agreement.
  19. Emergency- agreeing to this clause Vessel owner deemed to allow company to take reasonable and appropriate steps necessary in emergency situations.
End-Notes:
  1. https://blog.ipleaders.in/10-types-of-maritime-contracts-all-you-need-to-know-about-it/
  2. file:///C:/Users/dell/Desktop/Contract/Spanish-Wells-Yacht-Haven-Resort-Dockage-Agreement1%20(1).pdf
  3. https://renegarconstruction.com/dock-dock-seawall-sytems-construction-blog/difference-boat-slips-docks-lake-house/

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