Terminal Breakdown: Is Fault Or Pre-Existing Condition An Exception?

The recent decision by the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) UK to overturn the High Court’s prior ruling in the case of Portolana Compania Naviera v. Vitol SA – “The Afrapearl” is sure to have a profound affect on how the maritime industry views a one-half demurrage provision such as the “breakdown of machinery or equipment in or about the plant of the charterer, supplier, shipper or consignee of the cargo…” as per Asbatankvoy’s Clause 8. In short, per the Court of Appeal’s ruling, Owners will need to further amend Asbatankvoy’s Clause 8 and other like clauses as contained in similar charter parties if they wish to protect themselves from delays resulting from ill-maintained terminals or terminal breakdowns due to the fault of the charterer. As we shall see, the wording provided in BPVOY 4’s exceptions clause may be one way Owners can protect themselves from ill-maintained terminals.
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