Local contract law as applied to liability limitation, etc – Part 10, Qatar

Standard Club has noted that its members were regularly exploring new opportunities in diverse territories and thus frequently needed to ask how the law in a particular jurisdiction might impact the enforceability of key contractual provisions.

Standard Club has therefore produced a list of key offshore jurisdictions and how the various relevant laws apply.

The study specifically looks at:

  • the right to limit liability (specifically in respect of wreck removal)
  • the application and geographical reach of the CLC Convention, Wreck Removal Convention, Maritime Labour Convention or any related domestic legislation
  • the enforceability of knock-for-knock provisions in a contract and whether there are any gross negligence or wilful misconduct exceptions to this.

The jurisdictions covered are:

  • Angola
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • UK
  • USA

The full guide is available at:

http://www.standard-club.com/media/2767858/a-guide-to-key-offshore-jurisdictions.pdf

IMN is providing a daily country-by country summary. Tomorrow, Saudi Arabia

10) Qatar

Q: Is Qatar signatory to an international convention relating to limitation of liability for maritime claims?

A: No, Qatar is not signatory to the LLMC; however, domestic legislation (the Qatari Maritime Code No. 15 of 1980) may allow a shipowner to limit his liability at QAR250 ($69) per ton for loss of or damage to property, QAR500 per ton for personal injury or death and QAR750 per ton for both loss of or damage to property and personal injury or death.

Q: What is the geographical application of the international convention or the local law under which shipowners can limit their liability?

A: The Qatari Maritime Code does not impose geographical restrictions on the limitation of liability provisions. Accordingly, standard international principles incorporated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas related to maritime claims will apply.

Q: Are there any exclusions or exceptions in respect of offshore vessel types?

A: No, there are no exclusions or exceptions in respect of offshore vessel types. The limitation of liability provisions under Qatari Maritime Law apply to any ‘vessel’, which is broadly defined as ‘any craft intended for sea transport, fishing, towage or any other purpose even when it is not set for profit’. We expect that offshore vessels would fall under this definition and therefore the limitation of liability provisions shall apply to them.

Q: Is it possible to limit for wreck removal in Qatar?

A: Yes. A shipowner can limit his liability for the raising of a wreck, refloating, raising or breaking up of a sunken, stranded or abandoned vessel under Article 68 of the Qatar Maritime Code.

Q: Is Qatar signatory to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunkers Convention)?

A: No, Qatar is not signatory to the Bunkers Convention.

Q: Is Qatar signatory to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC)?

A: Yes, Qatar is signatory to the CLC 1992.

Q: What is the geographical application of the CLC in respect of Qatar?

A: The CLC applies within the territorial waters/EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) of Qatar.

Q: Are there any exclusions or exceptions in respect of offshore vessel types?

A: No, there are no exclusions or exceptions in respect of offshore vessel types.

Q: Is Qatar signatory to the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (WRC)?

A: No, Qatar is not signatory to the WRC.

Q: Is Qatar signatory to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)?

A: No, Qatar is not signatory to the MLC.

Q: Is ‘gross negligence’ or ‘wilful misconduct’ recognized as a legal concept under Qatari law?

A: Yes, both ‘gross negligence’ and ‘wilful misconduct’ are recognized legal concepts under Qatari law.

Q: Is the knock for knock liability regime a recognized concept under Qatari law?

A: Yes, unless the claim involves fraud, gross negligence, personal injury/death or pollution.

Q: If knock for knock is a recognized liability regime under Qatari law, will it be upheld in the event of ‘gross negligence’ or ‘wilful misconduct’?

A: No, knock for knock provisions will not be upheld in the event of ‘gross negligence’ or ‘wilful misconduct’.

Q: Will industry standard contracts such as BIMCO’s TOWCON, TOWHIRE, SUPPLYTIME, WRECKHIRE, WRECKSTAGE, WRECKFIXED and HEAVYCON be upheld under Qatari law?

A: Yes, industry standard contracts will be upheld under Qatari law.

For further information, contact:

Joseph Divis

Underwriting Director, Offshore

+44 20 33208806

joseph.divis@ctplc.com

Nejat Tahsin

Senior Associate, Clyde & Co

+974 4496 7311

nejat.tahsin@clydeco.com