Revision of TOWCON and TOWHIRE underway

Work has begun to revise and update BIMCO’s two Standard International Ocean Towage Agreements – TOWCON and TOWHIRE, which were originally published in 1985. The sub-committee responsible for the task of revising these well-used standard forms consists of representatives from Fairplay Towage, LKL Oceantrade, Svitzer Salvage and the Steamship Mutual P&I Club. The first meeting was held at BIMCO house on 12 February, where an outline for the revision work was discussed.

The objective of the revision is to ensure that the agreements still reflect commercial practice. Where appropriate, provisions will be amended to add greater clarity to the text and to remove any possible ambiguities. On the whole, TOWCON and TOWHIRE are documents that work well for the industry and which are rarely amended by users. With this in mind, the drafting team work on the revision process conscious of the fact that the agreements should maintain their appeal to the industry after the revision

Changes to the existing TOWCON and TOWHIRE are likely to be relatively few. Some of the issues that were touched upon in the first meeting include the loss of a towed object in a multiple tow scenario; the application of delay payments and the relevant notice provisions; and a reworking of the riding crews clause. The sub-committee also introduced a definition of ‘voyage’ in order to assist with the calculation of bunkers consumed.

It is anticipated that the revision of both agreements will take from 18 months to two years to complete. The next meeting is scheduled to take place at the end of March in Hamburg. Any members who would like to put forward suggestions for amendments to TOWCON or TOWHIRE are invited to send their comments to the Secretariat at


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