As a member of BIMCO we receive regular security updates and notifications, the latest of which relates to problems with GUARDCON agreements:
“BIMCO knows of a number of private maritime security companies (PMSCs) who are using non-authentic copies of GUARDCON to conclude transit agreements with shipowners. In a few cases these “homemade” versions of GUARDCON use wording that is different to that found in the genuine GUARDCON published by BIMCO and may lessen the liabilities and responsibilities of PMSCs. As these changes are not clearly marked in the text because the contract has not been produced in IDEA2, it may be quite difficult for a shipowner to detect the differences.
GUARDCON is available to the industry through a single distribution point – BIMCO’s online contract editing system, IDEA2. This secure system ensures that users have access to genuine and authentic copies of BIMCO contracts and that any amendments agreed by the parties are clearly displayed. This is a process that helps create certainty when relying on a BIMCO contract. Using fake or homemade copies of GUARDCON undermines the tremendous benefits of efficiency, familiarity and reliability that the harmonised terms and conditions of the contract have brought to the industry.
Signing a fake GUARDCON that may contain subtle amendments to the liability provisions could prove to be an costly error for a shipowner if something goes wrong.
BIMCO strongly recommends that owners verify the source of any GUARDCON contract they are presented with to establish that it has been printed directly from IDEA2. If in doubt, you can contact the BIMCO Secretariat and they will do a verification check for you.
PMSCs should be aware that using unauthorised copies of GUARDCON is a breach of BIMCO’s copyright – even if the PMSC is a BIMCO member. Sometimes the things you get for nothing are the ones that cost you the most.