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Frequently Asked Questions

1. We, as the overseas owner/operator already contract with an approved contractor for sludge removal. Do we need to enter into another contract for clean-up response?
Yes. The requirements for sludge removal are completely separate from clean-up response. There are separate MSA approval procedures for sludge contractors and for clean-up contractors. Owners are therefore recommended to enter into separate contracts for sludge removal and clean up response, even if the contractor is the same for both.

2. We are an overseas owner/operator with a branch company/office in China but the branch company/office does not have the resources to conclude contracts with SPROs directly, can we use an agent to sign the contract with SPROs on our behalf? If we can, who in the company should appoint the agent, the overseas head office or the branch office in China?
Yes, an agent may be used. The SPRO contract can be signed either by the Legal Representative of the overseas owner/operator, the Legal Representative of the overseas owner¡¯s/operator¡¯s branch company or office or by an authorised Agent. If an Agent is to be used the Legal Representative of the overseas owner/operator should appoint the agent using an LOA and in some cases a contract.

3.Who, in the Head office or branch company or office of the overseas owner/operator, should sign the contract with the SPRO?
The Legal Representative in the relevant office or other person legally authorised to do so. In exceptional circumstances the master may sign the contract on behalf of the owner/operator.

4.Who should sign the contract on behalf of the SPRO?
The Legal Representative or another person legally authorised to do so by the SPRO.
It is recommended that the SPRO should also put a company chop or stamp on the contract in addition to the signature because company chops/stamps are more important in China than signatures. All the company chops/stamps are filed with local police in China.

5.Should a charterer sign the contract with an approved SPRO?
No. Although the definition of "operator" included in the Revised Detailed Rules refers to the owner, manager or actual operator of a ship, which might conceivably include the charterer, it is the owner or manager of the ship who has primary liability in the case of a spill and it is therefore the owner who should sign the contract with the SPRO and have control of the clean-up operation in the event of a spill not the charterer. Club cover may be prejudiced for a charterer who voluntarily assumes pollution liabilities by contracting with a SPRO.

6.If, as an overseas owner/operator without a branch company, office or agency in China, we choose to employ a legally authorised agent to sign the contract with the SPRO, do we also need to sign a contract with that agent?
No but you will need to sign a letter of authorisation (LOA) authorising the agent to sign on your behalf. The International Group has prepared a proforma LOA as shown on the Club¡¯s web site. The proforma LOA is known to many legally authorised agents and this is the one in current use. It has the footer ¡°IG LOA dated 6 December 2011¡±. However, it is recommended that you also sign a contract with the legally authorised agent. Currently authorised LOAs will remain in force indefinitely or until the expiry date fixed.

7.Do we, as owner/operator, need to sign a separate LOA to authorise a person to sign each individual SPRO contract or can the LOA be sufficiently broad to include SPROs in several different ports?
The operator only needs to send and sign one authorisation letter i.e. the same letter can be addressed to and name different agents that have been authorised to perform specific functions (if this is the case), or it can be addressed to one agent who may be authorised to sign contracts with different SPROs in different ports for different vessels. Such agents must be legally established in China. The choice as to whether one or more agents are used depends on the nature of the owner¡¯s/operator's operations and trade to China.

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