As the world currently grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring that its transmission globally is curbed and ultimately eradicated, attendant issues arise in different spheres of human endeavour, inclusive of the maritime sector. Critical issues arise with respect to the effect of COVID-19 on maritime contracts in the Nigerian maritime industry ranging from issues of force majeure to issues of frustration of contracts.
However, the focus of this paper is on the effect of COVID-19 on time charterparties taking cognisance of the fact that most vessels employed in the cabotage trade and in the oil and gas market in Nigeria are on time charterparty.
The pertinent questions that could arise with respect to the impact of COVID-19 on time charterparties include whether COVID-19 will fall under the force majeure clauses in time charterparties? What will be the effect of COVID-19 on late redelivery of vessels, when such late delivery is as a result of government policies such as quarantine – will the shipowner still be entitled to compensation for late redelivery?