On June 4 2013 a number of resolutions were published by the National Agency for Water Transportation (ANTAQ) that set forth provisions governing the charter of vessels by Brazilian shipping companies:
- Resolution 2919, for offshore support navigation;
- Resolution 2920, for coastal navigation;
- Resolution 2921, for port support navigation; and
- Resolution 2922, for the transport of cargo in deep-sea navigation and the release by a foreign shipping company of the transport of cargo made by Brazilian-flagged vessels.
The main difference between the new resolutions and those formerly in force is the implementation of a computerised charter management system (SAMA) for offshore and support navigation.(1) SAMA aims to:
- systematise communications between Brazilian shipping companies and ANTAQ in relation to vessels' charter operations; and
- improve ANTAQ's management during the various stages of the process.
Following the introduction of the new resolutions, ANTAQ will manage the authorisations for chartering vessels used in the performance of services in the above navigational areas via SAMA, seeking to provide users with the necessary tools to improve efficiency in charter operations. However, each Brazilian shipping company will be responsible for accessing SAMA periodically in order to check any existing queries. ANTAQ will make available on its website all information on Brazilian shipping companies offering offshore support that should participate in the circularisation procedure.
Should SAMA become unavailable for technical reasons, ANTAQ will authorise the use of other mechanisms in order to ensure continuity in charter operations. In case of unavailability of access and/or use of SAMA for technical reasons for less than two working hours, the same period will be added to the term of any open circularisation, measured from resumption of SAMA's operation. For interruptions exceeding two working hours, the extension provisions set forth by the resolution will apply.
If a circularisation procedure is blocked by a Brazilian shipping company and the justification provided for the cancellation is not accepted by ANTAQ, penalties may be applied to the company responsible for the circularisation; furthermore, other interested companies can start the procedure to request charter authorisation, as determined in the resolution.
Data submitted during a request for charter authorisation must be consistent with the requirements contained in a circularisation; otherwise, the request may be denied. In such cases, authorisation for replacement of the chartered vessel is at ANTAQ's discretion, provided that the new vessel meets the same technical specifications as that originally chartered and the original deadline has been met, as well as other requirements established in the circularisation. When a request is granted, ANTAQ will issue a charter authorisation in SAMA based on information provided by the company, and the company can proceed to applying for a charter authorisation certificate.
On conclusion of the charter, the charterer company must complete the closing form on SAMA within 15 days, stating the place and date of redelivery of the vessel.
Provided that it has been duly authorised by ANTAQ and a charter authorisation certificate is in force, a Brazilian shipping company that intends to charter a foreign vessel chartered by another Brazilian shipping company (ie, a sub-charter) will be exempted from the circularisation process if the charter takes place within the validity period of the certificate and under the same conditions stipulated in the previous circularisation.
With regard to the above matters, a number of definitions have been clarified:
- A 'sub-charter' is a contract whereby the charterer receives a vessel under a time charter or voyage charter, in whole or in part, for a period falling within the validity of the applicable charter authorisation certificate;
- The 'circularisation's working hours' are from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, except on days on which ANTAQ's Maritime and Support Navigation Superintendence is not working;
- A 'block' is a procedure whereby a Brazilian shipping company, in response to a circularisation, offers a Brazilian-flagged vessel to perform the navigation services intended, according to previously specified requirements;
- A 'firm block' is one that ANTAQ acknowledges as valid in order to meet the circularisation requirements, by means of a formal communication to the parties involved stating the reasons for its decision; and
- The 'temporary suspension of flag' is an act by which the owner of the vessel temporarily suspends the use of the flag of origin, so that the vessel may be registered in another country's record.
(1) The system has been made available by ANTAQ on its website, www.antaq.gov.br/SAMA/.