BIMCO Liberty & Deviation Clause for Contracts of Carriage

Clause Library

Published: 1 April 2011

BIMCO Liberty & Deviation Clause for Contracts of Carriage

The Vessel shall have liberty to sail with or without pilots, to tow or go to the assistance of vessels in distress, to deviate for the purposes of saving life or property, and for any other reasonable purpose, which term shall include but not be limited to calling at any port or place for bunkers; taking on board spares, stores or supplies; repairs to the vessel necessary for the safe continuation of the voyage; crew changes; landing of stowaways; medical emergencies and ballast water exchange.

If the Charterer requests any deviation for the Charterer’s purposes and the Owners consent, with such consent to be at the absolute discretion of the Owners, the Charterer shall indemnify the Owners against any and all claims whatsoever brought by the owners of the cargo and/or the holders of Bills of Lading against the Owners by reason of such deviation.

Prior to giving any such consent the Owners may, at their option, require to be satisfied amongst other things that the Charterer has sufficient and appropriate P&I Club cover and/or if necessary, other additional insurance cover, in respect of such a requested deviation,

This Clause shall be incorporated into any sub-charter and any bill of lading issued pursuant hereto.

Source: BIMCO
Published: March 2010


Liberty & Deviation Clause - Commentary

Suitable for

Voyage Charterparties and Bills of Lading


Although it is common for ships to deviate from the most direct route to their destination, this can place carriers in breach of their legal and insurance obligations. Reasonable deviations are permissible under the Hague-Visby Rules but there is in practice often uncertainty about what is “reasonable”. If there is any doubt, owners should check with their P&I Club.

The above Clause was prepared by BIMCO in consultation with P&I Clubs and reference is made to Special Circular No 2 March 2010 issued by BIMCO which contains a useful analysis of the Clause.