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Bottom fouling: on whose head does it fall?

Lloyd's Shipping & Trade Law

Bottom fouling: on whose head does it fall?

Bottom fouling by marine growth is the subject of frequent disputes in time charters. As waiting times in ports have increased due to Covid pandemic restrictions, the issue has again become more acute.

Bottom fouling increases friction and thereby affects the performance of the vessel in terms both of speed and consumption. It also necessitates cleaning. The bottom may be in a fouled condition at the time the vessel is delivered or, as is more frequently the case, the bottom may get fouled during the charter service. When the bottom is fouled during service it is often due to the orders given by the charterer for a long idle stay, such as in waters at or outside a port or at anchorage while awaiting berth or loading. Technically, bottom fouling may also result from slow steaming that a charterer might order.

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