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Ebola has not yet forced ports to close, but uncertainties about the spread of the virus are adding to legal and financial concerns for those involved in shipping oil, cocoa and minerals from the region. Iron ore miners have already been hit by logistics problems exacerbated by the Ebola outbreak.
"Ebola clauses have now become a very common phenomenon," said a senior freight manager with a leading commodities trader. "It is to protect the safety of the crew and also the earnings of owners."
Shipping lines active in West Africa have written clauses into their contracts requiring charterers to nominate alternative safe discharge ports if Ebola means they cannot call at the intended port.
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