Ship management is a topic that has rarely been approached in the modern Polish maritime legal sciences. There are numerous reasons behind the present state of affairs but it seems that the foremost one is, that the focus in political, legal and economic discourse is still on the legal aspects of ship ownership. This trend continues despite the fact that today over 73% of world shipping tonnage is managed by the specialized ship management entities. An economic analysis has proven that year after year Poland was ceasing to be a large ship owning nation, it used to be, and that this trend is unlikely to be reversed in the short and mid-term perspective. Poland may, however, still continue to play a vital role in the world of shipping by becoming a ship management centre. This article aims to introduce the Readers to the selected aspects of ship management operations.
The concept of a Ship Management is vaguely known in the Polish law and legal doctrine although the role of the Ship Manager has become quite complex through the years. It started in the eighties when there was a deep change in the shipping market as many shipping companies became bankrupt and mortgagor banks had to turn to ship managers for help. Thirty years ago in 1988 BIMCO published the first Ship Management Contract which provided the market with a standard document striking a fair balance between the rights and obligations of the owners and the managers, giving some uniformity in the widely used in-house contracts, particularly in the apportionment of liability between parties. After the implementation of the ISM Code in 1998 and creating the entity called “Company” as a subject responsible for a safe operation of a vessel the ship manager’s role rose extremely. It caused, among other factors, that BIMCO issued the world wide known form of contract named SHIPMAN 98, which was then superseded by its new version issued in 2009. The main goal of this article is to bring a reader closer to the issue of a Ship Management and the Ship Manager through a Polish translation of this modern BIMCO form named SHIPMAN 2009.