A Statement of Facts (SoF) is a detailed report of a vessel's activities from its arrival and cargo operation commencement to its departure. It is a formal written communication used in the shipping industry to indicate all events during a ship's stay in port in chronological order and is used for the calculation of the laytime and demurrage. The Statement of Facts may aid in the resolution of conflicts by providing transparency and precise documentation.
The Statement of Facts has usually a standardized form, and it lists such things as the arrival and departure time and the time at the berth, the times in which cargo is loaded or unloaded, weather and other conditions that affect the cargo time, whether tugboats are used, etc. The SOF is an essential document in the realm of ship chartering and maritime logistics, and it outlines all the critical elements and activities that occur while a vessel is at port. The SOF is vital in shipping as it serves as a record of the vessel’s activities at port, and any deviations or discrepancies in the timeline can have significant financial implications. These documents are often used toresolve disputes over demurrage charges and provide a precise account of events in case of any legal disputes or investigations.
The format of a Statement of Facts (SoF) may vary, but it generally includes the following information:
Title: The document is typically labeled as a"Statement of Facts" or "SOF" at the top.
Parties: The names of the shipowner, charterer, and port agent are usually included.
Vessel details: The name, flag, and IMO number of the vessel are provided.
Cargo details: The port of loading or discharge, and the cargo type and quantity.
Dates and times: The arrival and departure dates and times, as well as the time spent at the berth, are recorded.
Cargo operations: The start and end times of cargo loading and unloading are noted, along with any delays or interruptions.
Weather conditions: Any weather-related factors that may have affected the cargo operations or laytime are mentioned.
Tugboat usage: If tugboats were used during the vessel's stay in port, the details of their arrival and departure are included.
Other relevant information: Any additional details that may be necessary for the calculation of laytime and demurrage, such as delays caused by customs inspections or equipment breakdowns, are also recorded.
A frequently used SoF form is that of BIMCO, which provides a standardized template for the document. The SoF is typically prepared by the port agent or the shipmaster and is signed by the master of the vessel, the port agent, and a representative of the charterer, shipper, or receiver, as applicable.