Weather Delays at an FPSO – Does Time Count?

As with most laytime and demurrage issues, charter party terms and conditions spell out when time starts and stops– but what happens when a Vessel loads at an FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel)? Although no charter party boilerplate specifically mentions the FPSO operation, this is not an issue because it is generally incorporated by a catch-all phrase like, “…or any other loading or discharging point whatsoever to which Charterers are entitled to order the vessel hereunder” and thus all the laytime and demurrage provisions would apply. Problems can arise, however, when clauses are modified during the fixture negotiation process. In particular, since shipowners oftentimes modify the Conoco Weather Clause1 by stipulating that weather delays count in full at transshipment areas, lighterage, and for STS operations, the question arises whether this implicitly applies to FPSO operations too. Although Owners’ intention is to mitigate adverse weather delays (including wind and swells) that ships are frequently subjected to in these areas of operation at sea, said amendment may not necessarily include delays at an FPSO.
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