BIMCO launches new contract for employment of security escort vessels

The Documentary Committee of independent shipowner association BIMCO has approved a new standard contract, SEV-GUARDCON, for security escort vessels (SEVs).

The standard is a balanced contractual framework for SEVs that accompany merchant ships in high threat areas such as the Gulf of Guinea, which has recently seen a rise in piracy activity as the dry season has begun, BIMCO said.

SEV-GUARDCON is based on BIMCO’s GUARDCON contract for the employment of security guards on board ships.

Dan Carr, Deputy General Counsel, Stolt- Nielsen, who chaired the work of the project team, said that “the escort vessel’s capabilities, and what should happen if the vessel does not arrive at the rendezvous point as agreed, are key issues for shipowners and operators trading in high threat areas. SEV-GUARDCON addresses these and other aspects to consider when transiting areas such as the Gulf of Guinea”.

SEV-GUARDCON has been drafted specifically for cross-border transits where an SEV is needed to accompany the owner’s vessel through the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or territorial waters of more than one state.

The insurance provisions have been kept as close as possible to the original GUARDCON wording. The liabilities and indemnities provisions reflect that SEV-GUARDCON covers services of an independently operated SEV as opposed to a security team carried on board the merchant ship.