VALIDITY OF NOR TENDERED PRIOR TO FREE PRATIQUE AND CUSTOMS CLEARANCE AND WITH STOWAWAYS ONBOARD - OWNER’S OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSE PRESENCE OF STOWAWAYS - WHETHER PANAMA CANAL EXPENSES DUE TO OVERLOADING FOR OWNER’S OR CHARTERER’S ACCOUNT Under a COA a vessel was nominated to carry coal from Colombia to Chile. Due to not yet having obtained free pratique and customs clearance, and whilst having stowaways onboard, Charterer argued that the NOR tendered at load was invalid. During transit to the disport the vessel was found in breach of Panama Canal draft restrictions and incurred unexpected expenses due to overloading which each party believes to be for the other party’s account.
INTERIM PORT - LIGHTERING - DEMURRAGE - TIME BAR - WORLDSCALE A demurrage claim presented by owners was rejected due to charterers belief that the time in question was to be considered an interim port.
TIME CHARTER – HOLD INSPECTION FAILED – WHETHER DELAY IN RE-BERTHING AFTER HOLDS CLEANED AND PASSED INSPECTION OFF HIRE Upon arrival at the load port, the vessel’s holds failed inspection. After the holds were cleaned, the vessel was re-entered into the berthing queue. Charterer claimed the second delay in berthing was due to the holds failing inspection whereas owner claimed it was due to berth congestion.
A golden rule when assessing a contract is to read the contract as a whole and give meaning to all clauses in conjunction with each other. A recent NY Arbitration, SMA 4272, combined with an older award, SMA 2477, shows how simple phrasing, reinforced via a lack of options and market constraints, can overwhelm other charter terms and convert a port charter to a berth charter.
COMMENCEMENT OF LAYTIME - WHETHER SHINC TERM TRUMPS OFFICE HOURS - DESPATCH After NOR was tendered and loading commenced on a Sunday, the Owner and Charterer disputed when laytime commenced. Owner noted the laytime allowance referenced “shinc” allowing for laytime to commence on Sunday whereas charterer noted NOR was only to be tendered Monday through Friday.
EXTENSIVE DELAY PURSUING CLAIM IN ARBITRATION – WHETHER DELAY INORDINATE AND INEXCUSABLE – WHETHER SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS ONGOING DURING DELAY - WHETHER NEGOTIATIONS CONSTITUTED A STAY OF PROCEEDINGS Respondent requested an arbitration claim be withdrawn citing an inordinate and inexcusable delay in moving forward with proceedings. The claimant countered that the delay was due to both parties agreeing to stay proceedings whilst working towards a settlement.
NYPE TIME CHARTER - LATE PAYMENT AND NON-PAYMENT OF HIRE - WHETHER LATE PAYMENT A REPUDIATORY BREACH - CALCULATION OF DAMAGES - Owner Award The charterer acknowledged its late payments of hire were a breach of the charterparty yet denied that the late payments were a repudiatory breach. In contrast, and despite charterer offering payment proposals, the owner contended charterer’s conduct constituted non-payment rather than late payment and was thus a repudiation of the charter party.
As of 21 March 2016, BP Shipping Ltd. has released BPVOY5; the long-awaited successor to the 1998 BPVOY4 charter party. There have been quite a few changes made to the 18-year-old boilerplate. Most of these changes, however, are essentially updates to outdated language and none seem to be especially onerous. Here are a few that stuck out to us (both inside demurrage and out).
ARBITRATION – COUNTERCLAIM SUBMITTED AS DEFENSE DURING ARBITRATION – QUESTION AS TO WHETHER COUNTERCLAIM TIME BARRED – Charterer Award Four contracts were negotiated between two parties regarding the charter of floating cranes. Later, the owner brought an arbitration case in an attempt to recover detention. With its defense at the arbitration, the charterer counterclaimed for demurrage. The arbitration panel found that the charterer’s counterclaim was time-barred. The charterer appealed.
COA – CARGO CONFISCATED BY GOVERNMENT - WHETHER DEMURRAGE IS OWED BY CHARTERER – WHETHER CHARTERER ENTITLED TO LAYTIME – Owner Award A COA was negotiated for eight shipments of nickel ore. During the second delivery, operations were stopped and the ship, inclusive of cargo loaded, was confiscated due to suspicions that the cargo was illegally mined. After release of the Vessel a couple months later and then the completion of the operation, a few months after the release, the owner claimed that the charterer was liable for demurrage and was not to receive allowed laytime given charterer had failed to load a cargo. The charter rejected this contention and the owner brought the case to arbitration.