In Sea Master Shipping Inc v Arab Bank (Switzerland) Ltd & Yousef Freiha & Sons SA [2020] EWHC 2030, Owners, in a situation where Charterers were in insolvent liquidation and unable to meet their obligations under a voyage charter, sought to hold receivers liable for delay at the discharge port under the bill of lading.

The decision by the arbitration tribunal that neither the financing bank nor the receivers were liable for discharge port demurrage was unappealable.

That left the Commercial Court considering the Owners’ attempt to introduce an implied term into the contract of carriage (contained in or evidenced by the bill of lading), that the bank and / or the receivers would: (i) take all necessary steps to enable the cargo to be discharged and delivered within a reasonable time; and / or (ii) discharge the cargo within a reasonable time.

In the usual way, the bill of lading included a clause incorporating the terms of the voyage charter and it was common ground that this meant that they were incorporated “insofar as they [were] appropriate and relevant for such incorporation”.
Continue Reading Limits on Receivers’ obligations

The Pacific Voyager [2017] EWHC 2579 is a Commercial Court decision about which a number of articles have been written over the last week. It considers the often neglected approach voyage;  identifying the moment when the duty to proceed with utmost despatch to the loadport arises under a voyage charter; and whether that obligation is an absolute one or one to exercise due diligence.
Continue Reading The Approach Voyage

Kassiopi Maritime Co Ltd v Fal Shipping Co Ltd [2015] EWHC 318 (Comm)

Owners and Charterers had entered into a voyage charter on the BPVOY4 form. The charter contained the following provisions:

  • Clause 19.7.1: demurrage claims to be accompanied by the vessel’s pumping log signed by a senior officer of the vessel and a terminal

London Arbitration 3/15

A vessel was chartered for one voyage from “1-2 load berth chop always afloat Santander” to a port in the UK. Charterers ordered the vessel to load bulk bauxite at a berth adjacent to one where cars were waiting to be loaded. Although all reasonable preventative measures were taken, the loading of bauxite caused dust. When the wind direction changed, the dust was blown over the cars at the adjacent berth. To prevent the dust from getting on and inside the cars, the port authority ordered the loading of the bauxite cargo to be suspended.

Owners claimed demurrage for the resulting delay. Charterers argued that they were entitled to rely on the force majeure clause in the charterparty. The Tribunal held that Charterers had failed to bring themselves within the force majeure clause, and so Owners’ demurrage claim succeeded.

Charterers were responsible for the choice of berths at the loadport. A change in the wind direction such that it would blow dust over the adjacent berth was possible. Charterers could reasonably have foreseen this, and also that if the change in wind direction occurred, it would affect the performance expected of them. Further, it was not unexpected that the port authorities would give priority to a high-value and sensitive cargo such as cars. The bulk bauxite could have been loaded at an alternative berth, although moving the vessel and cargo would have incurred additional cost.Continue Reading Owners’ demurrage claim succeeds where Charterers fail to bring themselves within a force majeure clause

Ebola continues to spread in West Africa with the latest reports indicating that over 2,630 people have died since the outbreak began.

Yesterday, Malta turned away a vessel travelling from Guinea to Ukraine over fears that a crew member may have been infected with Ebola. Fears were also raised in New Orleans in connection with

London Arbitration 11/14

The vessel was the subject of a voyage charter, under which the vessel was not accepted for loading. Owners argued that the rejection amounted to a repudiatory breach by Charterers and claimed damages for that breach plus damages for detention.

Charterers argued that it was Owners who were in repudiatory breach, because