07 Jun 2017

Qatar update: What to consider?

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Further to our alert that was sent yesterday evening, following the announcement by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain that they were severing all diplomatic ties with Qatar, a number of other countries, including the Maldives, Libya's Tobruk Government and the internationally recognised Government of Yemen, have taken similar steps, whilst Jordan has downgraded its diplomatic relations earlier today.

With these measures less than two days old, it remains unclear how each state will implement them. However, the ten points below are issues that should be considered by any owner or charterer operating in the Middle East region.

  1. Is the vessel Qatari owned or flagged, or flagged in a state which has severed diplomatic ties?

  2. Is the vessel carrying Qatari-origin cargo?

  3. Has the vessel been ordered to call at a Qatari port?

  4. Where is the vessel planning to stem bunkers?

  5. Are funds being received from Qatar through a bank account held in a state which has severed diplomatic ties?

  6. Does your contract have an applicable force majeure clause?

  7. Does your contract have a widely drawn sanctions clause?

  8. Are you able to rely on the contract's liberty clause?

  9. Depending on the facts of the case, you may need to consider whether the contract is frustrated, or likely to become so?

  10. As a final point, you and your employees should be mindful of legislation which may apply if official government policies are commented on in a disrespectful manner.

If you have any concerns arising out of the above issues, or other matters involving business dealings with Qatar, you should seek legal advice to ensure that you comply with the measures in force.

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Rovine Chandrasekera

Rovine Chandrasekera
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Edward Newitt

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