The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has published a variety of guides, templates and discussion documents aimed at raising awareness on contracting issues (including liability and insurance), promoting discussion and providing tools that may be useful for its contractor members, their clients and sub-contractors. All are subject to revision to ensure usefulness to all stakeholders and that it just what has happened to a key document – ‘IMCA Marine Construction Contract’, with revision to others relating to offshore survey and ROV work in the pipeline. All are designed to aid clients and contractors alongside their in-house standard contracts and other industry publications.
The IMCA Marine Construction Contract is a worldwide standard contract for use by any party as appropriate. It is based on the well established LOGIC contract ‘General conditions of contract (including guidance notes) for marine construction’, which was published for use in the UK. The IMCA Contracts & Insurance workgroup drafted the original (and updated) version for worldwide use. It is based on English law, but this can be varied to suit users. It is particularly useful where the parties do not have an ‘in-house’ contract which is often the case for smaller companies and in new regions. The update provides a number of small clarifications and amendments to the wording.
“Our work on contracts has been very much at the forefront in recent months, ” explains IMCA’s Chief Executive, Hugh Williams. “Not only have we revised our Marine Construction Contract, but held an ‘Allocating Risks’ seminar attended by around 70 delegates, most with legal or insurance responsibility for oil companies, contractors or advisers; and we also issued a questionnaire about our contracts work to our contractor and corresponding oil company members which has resulted in most welcome feedback.
“Naturally it is important to keep in step with what is going on in the industry, and ‘Allocating Risks’ certainly did this, highlighting changes in pollution legislation, liability and risk allocation in current projects especially in contracts changed post Montara/Macondo.
“Our publication ‘General Contracting Principles’ – updated a year ago – was the subject of a presentation by Barbara de Roo, of Heerema Marine Contractors who chairs the IMCA Contracts and Insurance Workgroup. She looked at a contractor’s approach to ‘risk allocation’, what risks a contractor covers, and what risks a contractor cannot bear, or cannot get insured. We also had the perspective from an oil company (Tom Shiel, Senior Consultant, INDECS Consulting), from a P&I club (Robert Dorey, Offshore Syndicate Director, The Standard Club) and from lawyers (Toby Stephens/Diana France, Holman Fenwick and Nathalie Louys of Subsea 7), while Michael Walls of Marsh looked at the allocation of risks as seen by a broker.
“Allocating risk in a contract is critical to safe and efficient delivery of a project; good understanding between the parties; avoidance of overlaps and gaps; focusing appropriately on risk management; and creating clarity in the event of incidents. Almost all speakers identified that lack of clarity costs money. This seminar and associated workshop is one of a series aimed at improving understanding and dialogue and moving the industry forward – as with so many events, the networking time amongst a seemingly unique gathering of specialists, is invaluable, ” adds Hugh Williams.
“The next in publication dealing with contracting will be the updated Contract for the Provision of ROV, Support Vessel and Associated Work (based on BIMCO SUPPLYTIME 89) – IMCA R 013 Rev, 1 and a new second publication based on BIMCO SUPPLYTIME 2005, which is used by many members. Where existing publications are used as daily worktools, it makes sound sense to incorporate these, with relevant revisions, into the IMCA contracting ‘library’. All such documents are free to download for members and non-members alike.”
Feedback from IMCA contract questionnaire In February a questionnaire was issued to all IMCA contractor and corresponding oil company members seeking feedback on the association’s contracts work. The resulting data indicates that members are aware of the contract documents published by IMCA and that most use some parts to support their work. They requested more IMCA contracts publications for other disciplines and phases of work.
IMCA’s contract materials are online at www.imca-int.com/documents/contracts and comprise IMCA Marine Construction Contract Rev. 1; IMCA Decommissioning Contracting Principles; IMCA General Contracting Principles Rev. 1; Guidelines on Identifying and Assessing Risk in Construction Contracts; and sector-specific publications relating to offshore survey and remote systems and ROV. “Every IMCA member is, of course, free to negotiate their own terms, qualify such contracts and to make use of the principles should they wish to do so in order to achieve a contract satisfactory to both parties, ” explains Hugh Williams. “Our contracting publications, like our technical ones, are published to help deliver safety and efficiency in our industry.”
• IMCA is an international association with over 850 members in more than 60 countries representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies. IMCA has four technical divisions, covering marine/specialist vessel operations, offshore diving, hydrographic survey and remote systems and ROVs, plus geographic sections for the Asia-Pacific, Central & North America, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India and South America regions. As well as a core focus on safety, the environment, competence and training. IMCA seeks to promote its members’ common interests, to resolve industry-wide issues and to provide an authoritative voice for its members.
• IMCA publishes some 200 guidance notes and technical reports – many are available for free downloading by members and non-members alike. These have been developed over the years and are extensively distributed. They are a definition of what IMCA stands for, including widely recognised diving and ROV codes of practice, DP documentation, marine good practice guidance, the Common Marine Inspection Document (CMID) – now available electronically as e-CMID, safety recommendation, outline training syllabi and the IMCA competence scheme guidance. In addition to the range of printed guidance documents, IMCA also produces safety promotional materials, circulates information notes and distributes safety flashes.