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Tugs and towing contracts

Bad weather, gear failure, slow steaming, deviation to a port of refuge or repair, collision or the breakage of a tow-wire are just a few of the many problems faced by the deep sea towage operator, or hirer.

The towage contract is the key to the decisions you make. Issues can be tricky:

  • are tug owners entitled to abandon a tow?
  • is a pre-departure termination notice valid, and if so is waiting time recoverable?
  • could the true condition of the tow have been misrepresented?
  • is this a rescue tow or truly a salvage job?
  • how should a lien be enforced to ensure payment?
  • where damage has occurred, is there protection under the knock-for-knock clauses or might one party face a large claim?
  • if so does limitation of liability apply?
  • does a salvage claim arise?
  • how will collision liability be applied?

Specialist brokers will put the contract together, typically on amended standard industry formats. English law is usually chosen, but invariably there are special risks to be catered for. The wording in every case needs to suit the circumstances.

With our long experience of this sector, we can make sure it does suit the job. Given that one of our team was an original draftsman of TOWCON and TOWHIRE and assisted with the 2008 updates, who better to turn to?

The legal team at Tatham Macinnes and at tugadvise-logo, the firm’s service to operators in this industry, have dealt with many cases – breakdowns, loss of tow, collisions, girting and salvage are standard issue for us. With members of our team having seagoing backgrounds, and a QC who has presided over countless towage and salvage cases as a Lloyd’s arbitrator, you are in safe hands.