Category: U.S. Maritime Cases

Shipping industry court rulings and arbitration awards under U.S. law.

XCoal Energy v. Classic Maritime – SMA No. 4450, 16 August 2022

DAMAGES - COVID-19 - COA BREACH - BURDEN OF PROOF A December 2, 2019 contract of affreightment between XCoal Energy and Classic Maritime stated XCoal was to provide cargos for 6 - 7 vessels during the year 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, XCoal was only able to provide cargo for two vessels. Classic believed they should have been awarded damages of over US$ 4.4 million for the breach, however, XCoal asserted they owed far less, claiming Classic did not meet the burden of proof to warrant this higher claim.
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Team Tankers Deep Sea v. Tauber Petrochemical (MT “TEAM TOCCATA”) – SMA No. 4441, 18 March 2022

DEMURRAGE - COVID-19 - FORCE MAJEURE - DUE DILIGENCE - PANDEMIC On March 25, 2020, the Gujarat Maritime Board issued a declaration of a Force Majeure Event at Dighi Port where Team Toccata was due to berth after its discharge was completed at Kandla on April 19, 2020. Team Tankers Deep Sea claimed that the charterer, Tauber Petrochemical, owed demurrage for the entire 118.5 hours Team Toccata waited at Dighi before proceeding to the berth regardless of the force majeure event.
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Astir Holdings, Inc. v. Xcoal Energy & Resources (The “Lacon”) – SMA No.4438, 25 February 2022

AMERICANIZED WELSH COAL CHARTER – DEMURRAGE – SECOND DISCHARGE BERTH – QUARANTINE INSPECTION – REPOSITIONING CREDIT
Xcoal Energy & Resources chartered Astir Holdings Inc. for carriage of coal from Mobile to one safe berth at Jingtang. En route, Xcoal changed its discharging port from Jingtang to Lanshan, and claimed a repositioning credit since Lanshan was closer to the vessel’s next port. Astir approved the request to unload at two discharging berths instead of the one that was contractually agreed upon, however exceptions to laytime and demurrage at the second berth were not discussed at the time. Arbitration was sought to determine if the charterer’s exceptions to time counting as demurrage should apply for the second discharging berth.

Eagle Bulk PTE. LTD. v. Salt Source, LLC, (M/V “Gladiator”) – SMA No. 4448, 29 July 2022

FORCE MAJEURE – ANTICIPATORY BREACH – COVID 19 – HURRICANE DAMAGE – CARGO CONTAMINATION – REPUDIATORY BREACH – DEMURRAGE
The MV Gladiator was chartered under a Contract of Affreightment to transport salt from Brazil to Alabama from March-December 2020. The disponent owner, Eagle Bulk, disputed load port demurrage from the first lifting, unpaid freight charges, and losses for a breach of contract due to the charterer, Salt Source, failing to nominate a second cargo. Salt Source counterclaimed for damages to a portion of their cargo which they claimed had been contaminated during the voyage and claimed force majeure due to Covid-19 and Hurricane Sally for the cancellation of the remaining contracted voyages.

Stolt Tankers BV v. Stryker Fuels LLC (MT “MONAX”) – SMA No. 4449, 4 August 2022

DAMAGES – UNSTABLE CARGO – TIME BAR CLAUSE
The MT Monax was chartered to make two voyages, one from Ontario to New York carrying Residual Fuel Oil (RFO), and the second from Ontario to Belgium carrying clean products. The voyages were completed between July 1 and September 3. On September 23, 2021, the owner, Stolt Tankers, submitted a claim for damages stating that the RFO was unstable, preventing complete discharge and requiring extensive tank cleaning. The charterer, Stryker Fuels, countered that the claim should be dismissed because it was made outside of the time bar period.

Poten & Partners, Inc. v. MTM Trading, LLC. (MTM “Gibralter”) – SMA No. 4445, 16 May 2022

DEMURRAGE – WAITING TIME – AMENDED BPVOY4 FORM – COMMISSION – CHARTER BROKER
The MTM Gibraltar was chartered to voyage from Houston to Tuxpan with an option of one or two consecutive voyages. During the second voyage after loading was completed, the vessel spent 117 days waiting for further orders by the charterer, Laurel Shipping LLC. The charter broker, Poten & Partners, claimed that this waiting period counted as demurrage and claimed they were owed commission for these 117 days.

Stolt Tankers B.V. v. Tricon Energy Limited (The “Stolt Lotus”) – SMA No. 4442, 11 April 2022

DEMURRAGE – TIME BAR – AMENDED ASBATANKVOY CHARTERPARTY – STORAGE OR DEMURRAGE Stolt Tankers was chartered by Tricon Energy Limited to ship mono ethylene glycol (MEG) from Baton Rouge and Houston to Antwerp. At Antwerp, the cargo was transshipped to two barges, but the shipments were rejected before discharge. The charterer could not find suitable shoretank storage before another buyer was secured. Stolt submitted invoices to Tricon for “storage” after their 90 day demurrage time bar. NOTE: This recap includes the majority decision and dissenting opinion.
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BBC Chartering Carriers GmbH & Co. KG v. Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais (M/V “LEFKES”) – SMA No. 4446, 4 July 2022

DEMURRAGE – LAYTIME CALCULATION – AMENDED GENCON 1994 CHARTER – NO CORRESPONDENCE BBC Chartering Carriers and Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais entered into an amended GENCON charter to deliver galvanized steel coils from Praia Mole to Houston. After the voyage the charterer paid the freight invoice in full but disputed the total of the invoice for the demurrage costs. The charterer then gave no reasoning or defense for the disputed demurrage.
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Playa Shipping Corporation v Citgo Petroleum Corporation (M/T “Mambo”) – SMA 4418, 16 March 2021

DISPONENT OWNER – US SANCTIONS – TRADE SANCTIONS – ASBATANKVOY – DEMURRAGE – EXECUTIVE ORDERS – SECURITY AWARD - VENEZUELA The claim was for outstanding demurrage and port expenses from the Owner to Charterer. The Charterer did not contest the amount owed but maintained that sanctions imposed by the US Government on Venezuela prevented it from paying unless and until the Owner obtained a special license from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The current arbitration was a Partial Final Award and focused on the Owner's request for an Interim Award requiring Charterer to post security for Owner's claims.
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Transportacion Maritima Mexicana, SA. de C.V. v Alia Global Logistics, S.A. de C.V. (M/T “King Gregory”)  – SMA 4429, 1 November 2021

ASBATANKVOY – TERMINATION OF CHARTER – DAMAGES – NON-PAYMENT – FAILURE TO PROVIDE CARGO Owner claimed Charterer failed to present a cargo to be loaded onto the vessel. Owner and Charterer agreed to cancel the charter; however, Owner claimed damages because of the cancellation. Charterer agreed to pay damages but did not remit payment.
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