Surveyors signing indemnities

Often ITIC’s surveying members are asked by ship owners, with whom they have no contract, to sign an indemnity, disclaimer, waiver or release in favour of the ship owner, before they are granted access to the vessel. For example, when appointed by a prospective buyer to perform a pre-purchase survey or when appointed by cargo insurers to inspect cargo aboard a vessel.

ITIC has provided many surveyors with advice about how to tackle these requests. Having discussed the matter with the Admiralty Solicitors Group (ASG), who had their own surveyor indemnity wording, it was decided that their wording (the ASG 10) could be revised in an effort to be fairer to both parties.

ASG/ITIC 10 is an outline wording for such circumstances.

ASG/ITIC 10 provides for two alternative regimes, when the vessel is unsafe to board, and all other situations (A and B). The wording is designed to be effective even when it is unclear what the position is, at the material time.

ASG ITIC 10/A presumes that the vessel is unsafe to board. The vessel can be unsafe to board for one or more of the following reasons:

  • She is a casualty (whether as a consequence of a collision, stranding, explosion, fire or otherwise);
  • Although not a casualty, she is in a state of distress, disrepair or duress such that safe access cannot be granted in the circumstances;
  • Although not a casualty, her (whole or part) cargo is damaged or off-spec to the point that the cargo is or may become dangerous; or
  • Although not a casualty, at the sole discretion of the master, she cannot be boarded safely in the circumstances.

ASG ITIC 10/B governs any other situation.

The ASG/ITIC wording can be found on ITIC’s website, here.

ITIC’s Standard Terms & Conditions for surveyors & consultants

Almost all cargo transported throughout the world is carried according to some form of contractual conditions. Ship owners, freight forwarders and other carriers carry on their business knowing they are protected by their trading conditions. It is perhaps surprising therefore that surveyors and consultants, who deal with the same ships and cargoes, seldom take steps to obtain the same protection.

Following consultation with a number of industry bodies, we have produced “ITIC’s Standard Terms for Surveyors and Consultants,” a set of draft clauses for members to consider using in their own trading conditions.

These terms and conditions are published for the general interest of members of ITIC. The specific requirements of individual businesses vary and accordingly no responsibility can be taken for the suitability of these terms and conditions to a specific business or contract. As with all contractual terms it is important that the user ensures that they are properly incorporated in their contract with their counterparty. Members should seek the advice of their usual legal advisor prior to using such terms and conditions.

The Standard Terms & Conditions for surveyors & consultants can be found on ITIC’s website here.

Guidelines for incorporating Standard Terms and Conditions

Having an excellent set of Standard Terms and Conditions (Terms) in your desk drawer or on your website is all very well, but unless you have incorporated them into your contract with your client they will not form part of your legal relationship. This means you will not be able to rely on them should a dispute arise. It is therefore very important that you incorporate your Terms into your contracts. ITIC provides detailed information on how to incorporate your Terms on its website here.

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